Install VMWare ESXi using a USB flash drive

Today, I decided to try the VMWare ESXi, the free bare metal virtualization product of VMWare, on an old Pentium 4 3.2GHz PC (with 2.5GB of RAM), and run on top of it, some Ubuntu servers.

I was not able to use the latest version (4.x) of the ESXi as it only works on 64-bit boxes. Instead, the version 3.5 does work on 32-bit processors as the one I’m using.

As I didn’t want to burn a CD with the installer, I chose to use an USB stick to make the installation. So, the first thing to do was converting the ISO installer into a USB, using this software. I had a little problem, that I solved in some minutes with the help of Google.

After that, the installation ran without problems (there is a nice ESXi installation guide here) and the server was up and running some minutes later.

Then, I just unplugged the monitor, keyboard and mouse from that PC, as they are not gonna be needed anymore. I installed the VMWare vSphere Client on my main machine to manage the server.

So far, I have installed two Ubuntu Linux servers and they are running with not bad performance, at least, enough for testing and development.

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