Tech: How to run ESX Server 3 on a VMware Workstation 6 virtual machine

Posted by Staff   |   Monday, June 11th, 2007   |  

Two VMTN users, Fabio Rapposelli and Dave Parsons, published several informations allowing to actually run a VMware ESX Server 3.x inside a VMware Workstation 6 virtual machine.

Obviously such configuration is not supported by VMware and is not really useful. But allows customers to have a look at ESX Server Console Operating System (COS) without deploying an intere enterprise infrastructure.

After some tests to cut away all unnecessary customizations, all needed steps can be summized below.

First of all you must create a new virtual machine with following virtual hardware requirements:

  • Workstation 6 virtual hardware type
  • Red Hat Linux guest OS type (guest OS type should be vmkernel but it’s not implemented in VMware public products at today)
  • one or more SCSI hard drives (LSILogic type, for ESX Server 3.x compatibility)
  • one or more network cards
  • no USB ports or sound adapters

After that you have to manually modify your virtual machine configuration file (.vmx) to change your network card type. To do that replace similar entry with following one:

  • ethernet0.virtualDev = “e1000″

Finally, if you have an Intel VT powered CPU or an AMD SVM (or AMD-V) powered CPU you have to add to your .vmx file one of the following entries to improve performances:

  • monitor_control.vt32 = “TRUE” or
  • monitor_control.enable_svm = “TRUE”

Without one of these settings ESX Server virtual machine performances will be almost inacceptable: on a Intel P4 3.06GHz (no VT) host with 1024MB RAM assigned to virtual machine, the ESX Server 3.0.1 boot process takes 15 minutes (100% physical CPU spike for all time). Other host configurations may take hours to boot up same machine.

On any Intel VT powered host instead, ESX Server boots in 2-3 minutes, achieving similar times of installations on physical systems.

A final entry is reported as needed to avoid virtual machines inside ESX Server recognize they are running on a nested virtual infrastructure:

  • monitor_control.restrict_backdoor = “TRUE”

This setup is reported to work on new VMware Fusion beta as well. So Mac OS users can now familiarize with ESX Servers as well.

Read the original thread at source to know about further evolutions.

Number of readers of this thread (19,456 since June 11, with 106 replies at time of writing) reveals this is one of the most wanted features by VMware community. Capability to run ESX Server for demo and training purposes must be seriously considered by VMware in future ESX Server releases.

blog comments powered by Disqus Newest articles
Release: VMware vRealize Log Insight 4.5

June 13th, 2017

Log Insight is a log aggregation, management and analysis tool, that VMware first introduced in 2013 and considered a competitor of Splunk.
Yesterday VMware announced the release of version 4.5, available for…

Release: VMware vRealize Automation 7.3

June 6th, 2017

Today VMware announced the latest release of its cloud management platform vRealize Automation, former vCloud Automation Center.
VMware vRealize Automation 7.3 release notes can be found at this link.


Paper: Introducing the NSX-T Platform

February 9th, 2017

“We see greater potential strategic opportunity in NSX over the next decade than our franchise product vSphere has had for the past decade.”
said VMware’s CEO Pat Gelsinger talking about…

Paper: VMware vSphere Virtual Machine Encryption Performance

November 22nd, 2016

Encryption of virtual machines is something that has been requested for years by the security community. VMware continued to postpone its implementation due to the negative operational impact that many…

Quest Software leaves Dell

November 1st, 2016

In September 2012 Dell announced to have completed the acquisition of Quest Software, a Californian company with an history in systems management, security, business intelligence and, falling back in our…

Citrix announces Q3 2016 results

October 21st, 2016

Citrix announced its financial results for third quarter 2016.
The revenues for the second quarter were $841 million for an increase of 3% compared to Q3 2015.
Net income was $132…

Release: VMware vSphere 6.5 & Virtual SAN 6.5

October 19th, 2016

2016 edition of VMworld US has been quite turbulent, on the other hand during VMworld Europe, happening these days in Barcelona, the company announced a few more products for the…

Release: VMware vRealize Log Insight 4.0

October 18th, 2016

Log Insight is a log aggregation, management and analisys tool, that VMware first introduced in 2013 and now is usually compared with Splunk.
Yesterday VMware announced Log Insight’s new major…

Release: Windows Server 2016 with support for Window Server & Hyper-V containers

October 13th, 2016

Yesterday Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Server 2016 which the company defines as a cloud-ready OS.
Beside fancy definitions, one of the most relevant perks of this release…

Release: Oracle VM 3.4.2

September 22nd, 2016

During Oracle OpenWorld 2016 the company released version 3.4.2 of its enterprise virtualization solution.
Oracle VM is available for both x86 and SPARC based processor architectures and uses the Xen hypervisor…

VMworld US 2016 Wrap-up

September 1st, 2016

Today was the last day of VMware’s flagship conference VMworld in Las Vegas, an highly controversial edition which left a good chunk of the audience disoriented if not properly disappointed….

Gartner releases its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service for 2016

August 11th, 2016

Last week Gartner updated its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for the year 2016. The Magic Quadrant for the year 2015 was released in May last year…

Release: Ansible Tower 3 by Red Hat

August 2nd, 2016

Ansible is one of the four main players in the automation market, younger then the well known Chef and Puppet, has been launched in 2013 in Durham, N.C. and acquired…

IBM announces earnings for Q2 2016

July 19th, 2016

Yesterday IBM announced its results for Q2 2016.

If we compare with the same quarter in 2015 earnings per share, from continuing operations, decreased 22%. Net income, from continuing operations,…

Monthly Archive