vSphere 5.5, the server virtualization software from VMware had come up with several exciting features. They have tweaked the hardware compatibility and scalability which can almost match up with Windows 2012 R2 hyper-v. The newly introduced virtual hardware version 10 is having plenty of improved and extended hardware support for virtual machines. If you are already VMware customer, you do not need to confuse with Microsoft Hyper-v by comparing the features now, it’s almost same and you are not going to miss anything much. If you like to try the free version of vSphere on your home or office computer before use it in production environment, this guide shows you how to install vSphere 5.5 on Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC by using VMware workstation ( also applicable for VM Player). In this way you can learn,experiment and even setup your testing virtual lab on a normal Intel PC.
The major new features of vSphere 5.5 include, VSAN ( Virtual ‘shared’ Storage Access Network), VMware NSX- network virtualization, improved virtual machine hardware support- more logical CPUs, 2TB to 4TB RAM and 62TB virtual hard disk VMDK. Also the newly included feature vSphere Flash Read Cache will improve the performance dramatically.
If you like to know more about what’s new in vSphere 5.5, check official site here or another great site. Let us see how we can install this great server hypervisor software on your normal Windows 7 or Widows 8 desktop computer by VMware workstation.
Note- This guide has been updated from vSphere 5.0 installation steps to 5.5 version, since the steps remain mostly same, you will find older screenshots here.
Steps to Install VMware vSphere 5.5 on Windows 7 or Windows 8 with VMware Workstation
1) Make sure your computer processor supports hardware Virtualization Technology (VT) and it is enabled in BIOS. If not, enable it in BIOS and confirm that host Operating System is sensing it.
Below screenshot shows that VT-x is enabled on a host computer Windows 8.
Memory – vSphere 5.5 requires minimum 4GB memory for virtual machine, therefore make sure your physical computer is having more than 4GB of RAM. You should allocate minimum 4GB for vSphere 5.5 virtual machine on VMware workstation with Windows 7 or Windows 8.
2) Download vSphere 5.5 (ESXi 5.5) and Client version 5.5 from official site here. Registration required.
3) Create a new virtual machine in VMware workstation or player. Browse the ESXi 5.5 installable ISO file you have downloaded. If you have the latest version of VMware, the easy install method will detect the OS automatically and adjust the virtual machine’s hardware by itself.
4) Set the folder location for virtual machine and hard disk size. Here is the summary of my ESXi 5.5 virtual machine on Windows 8. If you like to customize some hardware settings, such as processor cores, network, RAM and additional hard disks, then press ‘Customize Hardware’.
5) Start the virtual machine and select ‘Standard Installer’ option. Press ‘ENTER’ to continue the installation in next screen.
6) Press F11 for EULA. Select the disk to install if you have multiple virtual disks here. I have created and started vSphere 5.5 virtual machine with single 40GB disk.
Next screen is to select keyboard layout and type the root password. Its better to assign a root password (which should be with minimum 7 characters) now.
7) Because of we are using a server virtualization software as a virtual machine, you may get a warning message for Hardware virtualization support in BIOS, you can omit the warning message. Press Enter to continue the installation.
8.) Once installation is completed, remove the ISO from CD drive of virtual machine and restart the VM. It should boot properly and receive a DHCP IP as a management IP as shown below.
Always better to have a static IP for vSphere 5.5 server.
9) Press F2 to customize server management settings. Enter the root password which was given during the installation.
You need to make sure that virtual machine’s network setting is configured properly to communicate with other hosts and guests.
Change the IPv4 address to static and provide an IP address suitable for your network.
You have to apply the settings and restart the management network service to take effect of new IP.
Check the connectivity by pinging to vSphere ESXi 5.5 server from any of the client computer.
10) Access the server IP address in your internet browser.
Ignore or continue the certificate error, you must be able to see the Getting start page. If you have already download the vSphere client from VMware website, you can directly install the client and start using, if not by clicking the download link will take you to the website.
You must have up-to-date vSphere client to connect and manage latest vSphere 5.5 hypervisor, therefore make sure to update your current old version.
11) After installing the latest client, enter the IP of server and root password.
You can ignore certificate error here too.
12) Here is the working VMware vSphere 5.5 on VMware workstation 10 with Windows 8. Performance is quite good compared to earlier versions, because of default 4GB RAM. No doubt, this is very helpful for learning and experiment purpose.
Its always nice to have these type of server virtualization software on a normal PC which will allow to have virtual test lab.
vSphere 5.5 client is having some compatibility issues with some of the Windows Operating Systems, we will be covering about it in coming days.
If you are interested in creating and connecting virtual NAS (Network Access Storage) on your same testing environment, you can install FreeNAS OS as a separate virtual machine and connect to vSphere 5.5. I explained step by step to connect FreeNAS with VMware vSphere server here.