How to install VMware ESX Server smoothly

Learn how to install VMware ESX Server smoothly so you can avoid having to troubleshoot server installation issues.

IT reseller takeaway: What happens after a smooth VMware ESX Server install? This book excerpt from Virtualization: From the Desktop to the Enterprise explains what happens when you know how to install VMware correctly.

We touched on several problems you'll run into with the ESX Server install and how to negotiate fixes with the aid of the Configuration Wizard. Now let's look at what you should expect to see when things go well. Connect to the MUI using your Web browser. You'll be presented with two warnings, one stating that "No swap space is configured or none is active" and the second stating that "No virtual Ethernet switches found." Select Reconfigure at the end of the first warning, and follow these steps:

1. Under the heading Configured Swap Files, select Create. The swap space on ESX Server affords VMs the ability to use more memory than physically available. ESX Server does a good job of recommending the amount of space to make available, but you should adjust the File Size field to be at least 2 GB or two times the amount of physical memory in the host system. Be sure that Activation Policy is set to Activate at System Startup. If you don't, you'll have to manually activate the swap space on each boot. When you're done making changes, select OK to continue. You'll be returned to the initial Swap Configuration screen. On this screen, under Configured Swap Files, select Activate. If you don't activate the swap space now, it won't be active until the system is rebooted. Select OK to continue.

2. On the Status Monitor page of the MUI, you should have one warning remaining. Select Reconfigure at the end of the warning. The system will present you with the Virtual Switches tab from ESX Server's Network Connections settings. Take a moment to read about virtual switches on this screen, and then select Click Here at the bottom of the screen to create a virtual Ethernet switch. Under New Configuration, the system will provide a suggested network label for the switch; you can make changes if necessary. Under Bind Network Adapters, you'll then have to select which outbound adapter should be bound to the new virtual switch. After making any changes, select Create Switch to continue.

3. Next, select the Physical Adapters tab. You'll need to set the speed and duplex of the network adapter bound to the new virtual switch in the Outbound Adapter settings section. You can run into problems if you leave the setting on Auto Negotiate. When you're done making changes, select OK to continue. The system will return you to the Monitor Status tab of the MUI. All warnings should now be gone.

Take a moment to explore the Memory tab. It displays a summary of physical and reserved memory. In addition, it will summarize the memory consumed by any configured and running guest virtual machines. Take a moment to explore the Options tab. The Options tab details all configurable information as related to your ESX Server. Click through each field, and read all available information. You'll want to be somewhat familiar with these settings as you install guest VMs and make changes to support enterprise servers.


Building on your knowledge of how to physically size and prepare enterprise-class servers from previous chapters, you should now feel comfortable installing, configuring, and deploying server-class virtualization applications. You should also be able to prepare and install both Windows and Linux hosts for running multiple production virtual machines, and you should be able to troubleshoot basic installation issues for each of the server-class virtualization applications. In the next chapter, you'll focus on managing production VMs on enterprise servers. You'll look at management and monitoring issues regarding VMs running on production servers and learn about VM scripting techniques.


About the author   
Chris Wolf is an instructor at ECPI Technical College, as well as a leading industry consultant in enterprise storage, virtualization solutions, and network infrastructure management. He has a master's degree in information technology from Rochester Institute of Technology, and his IT certification list includes MCSE, MCT, and CCNA. Wolf authored MCSE Supporting and Maintaining NT Server 4.0 Exam Cram, Windows 2000 Enterprise Storage Solutions and Troubleshooting Microsoft Technologies, and he contributes frequently to Redmond Magazine and Windows IT Pro Magazine. Wolf also speaks at computer conferences across the nation.

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