Deploy a Nested VMware ESXi host in Hyper V
Introduction: Nested Vmware virtualization allows you to run VMware ESXi as a Virtual Machine within Hyper-V. This can be a practical solution for those who don’t have access to new hardware or wish to test VMware products on a Windows 10 desktop.
- This Nested Vmware virtualization process isn’t officially endorsed by VMware or Microsoft.
- While it’s feasible to set up an ESXi environment using Hyper-V, be aware that the experience might not be seamless.
- Preparation of the ISO: Before initiating the process, it’s crucial to prepare the ISO by injecting Hyper-V compatible network drivers. Failing to do this will result in an unsuccessful setup, and you won’t be able to connect to your ESXi server.
- VMware PowerCLI: Ensure you have VMware PowerCLI installed, as it’s essential for this procedure.
Step 1 – Prepare the ESXi Hypervisor image for Nested Vmware virtualization
Method 1: Using the ESXi Customizer Tool
Download and Save:
- Obtain the ESXi customizer tool and save it to a local directory, for instance,
Enable Script Execution in PowerShell:
- Launch PowerShell.
- Enter the following command:
Set-ExecutionPolicy -Scope Process -ExecutionPolicy Bypass
Run the Customizer Script:
- Navigate to the directory containing the downloaded script, e.g.,
- Execute the command:
.\ESXi-Customizer-PS-v2.5.1.ps1 -v60 -vft -load net-tulip
(Note: ‘Net Tulip’ refers to Hyper-V compatible network drivers).
- Wait for the process to complete, which might take several minutes.
Retrieve the Customized ISO:
- Navigate to your specified folder (e.g.,
C:\ESXi). Here, you’ll find the customized ISO image. Use this image to set up your ESXi server in Hyper-V.
Method 2: Alternative Approach (Manual Injection of net-tulip drivers)
Note: This method was tested on a Windows 7 laptop and may not work on Windows 10 or 11.
- Download Necessary Files:
- Run the ESXi Customizer:
ESXi-Customizer.cmdwith administrative privileges.
- Choose the ESXi Hypervisor, select the Net-Tulip .vib file, set the working directory, and click ‘Run’.
- Disregard any warning messages by selecting ‘NO’.
- After a few moments, the custom ISO will be generated.
Step 2 – Install ESXi on Hyper-V ready for Nested Vmware
Setting Up VMware ESXi as a Virtual Machine in Hyper-V
- Ensure Hyper-V is enabled on your Windows 10/11 or Windows Server. If not:
- Use the
Turn Windows Features on or offfrom the Control Panel.
- Alternatively, use the command:ruby
- Use the
DISM /Online /Enable-Feature /All /FeatureName:Microsoft-Hyper-V
Setting Up the Virtual Machine:
- Right-click and select
New > Virtual Machine.
- Follow the on-screen prompts, ensuring you:
- Name the VM and choose its storage location.
Generation 1for the VM generation.
- Allocate RAM and ensure Dynamic Memory usage is unticked.
- Skip network connection configuration for now.
- Define the VM size (10GB recommended).
- Choose the VMware ESXi Hypervisor ISO image created earlier.
Configuring VM Settings:
- Right-click on the VM and choose
- Allocate the vCPU count.
- Remove any existing Network interfaces.
- Add a
Legacy Network Adapter(this uses the NET-TULIP driver).
- Connect the Legacy Network Adapter to your physical network.
Enabling Nested VMs on Windows:
- Download the PowerShell Script that enables NestedVMs.
- Open PowerShell as an administrator.
- Navigate to the script’s location.
- Run the following commands:
Set-ExecutionPolicy -scope Process -ExecutionPolicy Bypass .\Enabled-NestedVM.ps1 -vmname “YOUR VM NAME"
- Confirm enabling MAC Spoofing when prompted.
- Start the VM.
- During boot, press
TABto edit boot options and type
- Follow on-screen instructions to install ESXi, selecting the 10GB partition created earlier.
- After installation, disconnect the Virtual CD-DVDROM Drive and reboot.
Configuring ESXi Server:
- Once VMware loads, note the IP address displayed.
- Access ESXi settings using
F2and log in as ROOT.
- Enable the ESXi Shell via
ALT + F1to access the ESXi Shell and log in.
- Run the command:
esxcfg-advcfg –set-kernel “TRUE” ignoredHeadless
- Reboot the server.
- Disable the ESXi Shell for security.
- If you can’t ping the ESXi server, add a static route using Command Prompt:
route add -p 192.168.1.240 192.168.1.1
- Access the ESXi host via a web browser.
- Download and install the vSphere Client.
- Open vSphere client and connect to your ESXi server using the root credentials.
Completion: Your ESXi setup in Hyper-V is now complete.
Overview of Setting Up Nested Vmware ESXi in Hyper-V
The procedure outlines the process of running VMware ESXi as a Virtual Machine within Microsoft’s Hyper-V, a feature available on Windows 10/11 and Windows Server. This setup allows users to harness the capabilities of VMware within a Hyper-V environment, which can be particularly useful for testing, development, or specific configuration needs.
Initially, the guide ensures that the Hyper-V feature is activated on the host system. Once that’s confirmed, the user is guided to set up a new virtual machine tailored for ESXi, emphasizing the importance of certain configurations like selecting the right VM generation and integrating the NET-TULIP driver, which ensures network compatibility.
Post VM setup, the procedure delves into the intricacies of enabling nested virtualization on Windows, a crucial step to ensure the ESXi can run smoothly within a VM. The ESXi installation follows, with specific steps to ensure it boots and operates correctly within this nested environment.
Lastly, the guide touches upon final configurations and connectivity, ensuring that the user can seamlessly interact with the ESXi host, culminating in the integration of the vSphere Client for enhanced management capabilities.
In essence, this procedure provides a comprehensive pathway for tech enthusiasts and professionals to run VMware ESXi within a Hyper-V environment, merging the strengths of two powerful virtualization platforms.