Create a VMware ESXi 5 PXE unattended scripted installation using Windows

The most information available on how-to perform a unattended scripted installation of VMware ESXi 5 is based on Linux. Here is a procedure how-to create a scripted installation of VMware ESXi 5 using Microsoft Windows.

Here is an overview of the boot process:

 

image

 

 

What do we need

The following software must be downloaded:

Syslinux 3.86 (This is the Syslinux version VMware supports)

FileZilla Server 0_9_39

TFTPD 4.00

Notepad ++

VMware ESXi 5 ISO

 

Step 1 Windows XP

This procedure is tested with Microsoft Windows XP SP2. The following requirements must be met:

– In Windows XP use a fixed IP. In this example we use 192.168.1.1/24 IP address

– Make sure there is enough free disk space available (approximately 500 MB needed)

– Disable the Windows firewall

Step 2 Create directory structure

Create the following directory structure in the root of the C: partition:

C:\PXEboot
C:\PXEboot\pxelinux.cfg
C:\PXEboot\kickstart

Step 3 Copy the content of the ESXi 5 ISO

Mount the VMware ESXi 5 ISO and copy the content to the c:\PXEboot directory

Step 4 Copy the Syslinux files

The Syslinux files allow the target ESXi server to boot the ESXi installer.

– Extract Syslinux 3.86 and:

– Copy the pxelinux.0 and menu.c32 files to the C:\PXEboot directory.

– Overwrite the menu.c32 file

 

Step 5 Install & Configure tftpd32

The Tftpd32 utility gets the function DHCP and TFTP server.

– Run Tftpd32.exe and make the following configuration settings:

 

imageimage
Choose:
– TFTP Server
– DHCP Server
Point the base directory to c:\PXEboot
imageimage
Create a DHCP rangeEdit the ini file c:\program files\tftpd32\tftpd32.iniAdd the DHCP options
066 with DHCP server IP address
067 pxelinux.0

 

– Restart and run the tftpd32.exe utility

 

Step 6 InstallĀ  & configure FileZilla server

– Install the FileZilla Server with the default settings

– Create a user username: vmware password: vmware

image

– Add a shared folder c:\PXEboot\Kickstart folder with the default rights

2011-09-19 18h32_16

 

Step 7 Create default file

Create a file named default (Use notepad ++ for the file creation) and save the file in theĀ  C:\PXEboot\pxelinux.cfg directory. Here is an example default script:

 

DEFAULT menu.c32
MENU TITLE ESXi 5 Boot menu
NOHALT 1
PROMPT 0
TIMEOUT 80

LABEL install 
 KERNEL mboot.c32 
 APPEND -c boot.cfg 
 MENU LABEL ^ESXi-5 Interactively install

Label ESXi 5 install scripted 
 KERNEL mboot.c32 
 APPEND -c boot.cfg ks=ftp://vmware:vmware@192.168.1.1/ks.cfg +++ 
 MENU LABEL ^ESXi5-01 Scripted install 
 IPAPPEND 1

LABEL hddboot 
 LOCALBOOT 0x80 
 MENU LABEL ^Boot from local disk

If you want to install more VMware ESXi 5 servers you can add extra entries in the default file and point them to separate Kickstart file.

Step 8 Create ks.cfg file

Create a Kickstart file named ks.cfg (Use notepad ++ for the file creation ) and place the file in the c:\PXEboot\Kickstart directory. Here is a sample ks.cfg script:

#Sample kickstart scripted installation
vmaccepteula
rootpw VMw@re
install --firstdisk --overwritevmfs
network --bootproto=static --ip=192.168.250.21 --gateway=192.168.250.1 --nameserver=192.168.250.6 --netmask=255.255.255.0 --hostname=esxi5-01.beerens.local --device=vmnic0 --addvmportgroup=0
reboot

%firstboot --interpreter=busybox
# Rename local datastore name
vim-cmd hostsvc/datastore/rename datastore1 "$(hostname -s)-local-storage-1"
# DNS names
esxcli system hostname set --fqdn=esxi5-01.beerens.local
esxcli network ip dns search add --domain=beerens.local
# DNS server addresses
esxcli network ip dns server add --server=192.168.250.6
esxcli network ip dns server add --server=192.168.250.1
# SSH and ESXi shell
vim-cmd hostsvc/enable_ssh
vim-cmd hostsvc/start_ssh
vim-cmd hostsvc/enable_esx_shell
vim-cmd hostsvc/start_esx_shell

 

Step 9 Test the installation

Boot the server and select ESXi5-01 Scripted Install option to test the scripted installation.

 

image

 

[ad#banner]

5 thoughts on “Create a VMware ESXi 5 PXE unattended scripted installation using Windows

  1. I am getting blank screen after selecting esxi option in the main menu.
    I am using linux pxe server.
    can any one help what would be wrong.

  2. Hi,

    i did the same configuration but getting error

    on client pc

    TFTP
    PXE-T01: File not found
    PXE:E3B: TFTP Error- File not found.

    on tftp32 logs

    Rcvd DHCP Discover Msg for IP 0.0.0.0, Mac 00:1F:D0:6C:0B:52 [17/12 17:47:56.703]
    DHCP: proposed address 192.168.5.106 [17/12 17:47:58.281]
    3820 Request 2 not processed [17/12 17:47:58.328]
    Rcvd DHCP Rqst Msg for IP 0.0.0.0, Mac 00:1F:D0:6C:0B:52 [17/12 17:47:58.765]
    Previously allocated address 192.168.5.106 acked [17/12 17:48:00.265]
    Connection received from 192.168.5.106 on port 2070 [17/12 17:48:00.281]
    Read request for file . Mode octet [17/12 17:48:00.281]
    Using local port 1846 [17/12 17:48:00.281]
    3820 Request 2 not processed [17/12 17:48:00.328]
    : sent 31 blks, 15840 bytes in 0 s. 0 blk resent [17/12 17:48:00.375]
    Connection received from 192.168.5.106 on port 57089 [17/12 17:48:00.421]
    Read request for file . Mode octet [17/12 17:48:00.437]
    File : error 2 in system call CreateFile The system cannot find the file specified. [17/12 17:48:00.437]
    Connection received from 192.168.5.106 on port 57090 [17/12 17:48:00.437]
    Read request for file . Mode octet [17/12 17:48:00.437]
    File : error 2 in system call CreateFile The system cannot find the file specified. [17/12 17:48:00.437]
    Connection received from 192.168.5.106 on port 57091 [17/12 17:48:00.437]

    please hele me.

  3. Hey, just need to thank you! First I was like “UUUH! Windows!?” but I soon realized that these few files contain any information I need to integrate VMWare in our linux-based automatic-installation-system. Thank you very very very much!

Leave a Comment