My old ESXi 4.1 whitebox was nearly begging me to retire him. The maximum of 8gb memory on the Asus P5k mainboard and the 2 sata disks (no raid) spinning at 7200rpm were not keeping up anymore.
After doing the mandatory research on the whitebox HCL sites, I decided to order the following:
- Intel Core i7 2600 3.40GHz 8MB
- Asus P8H67-V Mainboard (which has integrated VGA)
- Kingston 16gb Memory
At first I wanted to go for a sata-600 raid controller and place 2 sata-600 Western Digital VelociRaptor 10000rpm disks in raid 0. Instead I decided to take the plunge and go for 1 sata-600 Intel SSD, plugged in directly on the Asus onboard sata-600 controller.
Just like my old whitebox, I wanted to run ESXi 5.0 from a 2GB Kingston USB stick.
My co-worker Gabrie van Zanten pointed me to an incredibly easy way of installing ESXi to USB: Create a VM in VMware workstation, mount the ESXi 5.0 iso and connect the USB stick. Choose to install ESXi 5.0 to the USB stick and you’re done.
I connected the USB stick to my new system, enabled VT in the BIOS and booted off the USB stick.
As expected the onboard Atheros AR8151 NIC was not recognized, but no “vmkctl.HostCtlException Unable to load module /usr/lib/vmware/vkmod/vmfs3: Failure” errors which my old ESXi 4.1 whitebox threw when it did not recognize the onboard NIC.
Instead ESXi 5.0 reported that my network adapter was not supported, so I used the Intel Pro/1000 GT adapter from my old whitebox and tried again.
After that ESXi 5.0 booted without problems and has been running stable with 8 servers for several days.