Building a VMware Cloud Foundation Lab: Part 3 – Esxi Host Deployment & Configuration

In last Post of this series, I talked about the DNS records and IP Pools that should be in place for a successful vCF deployment.

In this post I will walk through steps needed to create nested Esxi and post installation steps.

Before we plan to create nested Esxi hosts or physical, we need to identify the build/version of Esxi and other components that are compatible with a given vCF version. VMware KB-52520 help you identify this.

For vCF 3.7 please refer to below table for build number needed. 


Once I had build info handy, I deployed 4 nested ESXi hosts for the management workload domain. These VMs were created with following specifications:

  • 10 vCPUs
  • 64 GB Memory
  • 4 Hard disks (Thin Provisioned): 16 GB (Boot disk0), 100 GB (vSAN cache tier), 150 GB, 150 GB (vSAN capacity tier). 
  • 2 VMXNET3 NICs connected to the same Portgroup
  • Virtual hardware version 14 (compatibility: Esxi 6.7 or later during vm creation)
  • Guest OS: Other
  • Guest OS version: VMware ESXi 6.5 or later
  • Expose hardware assisted virtualization to the guest OS enabled
  • EFI firmware

Esxi Host Patching

I initially installed hosts with Esxi 6.7 U1 Build 10302608 (as i had this iso handy) and then patched it to Esxi 6.7 EP 09 Build 3644319. Unfortunately build 3644319 is not available for download in portal and only way to go to this build is to patch your hosts.

Note: For more info about this patch version, please refer to the Release Notes

Once you have downloaded the required patch file, upload it on the local datastore of Esxi and patch your hosts using below commands:

Note: Don’t use the datastore UUID in command 2 as most probably command will fail. Use datastore name instead. 

Post Installation Tasks

Once Esxi is installed and up, we need to configure following on each host:

1: Management Network configuration: Use static IP for the For Management network.

2: Esxi Hostname: Set hostname of Esxi to FQDN e.g vcfesxi01.alex.local (you can leave the DNS suffix blank).

3: NTP Settings: Specify NTP server and set service start up policy to: start and stop with host.

4: SSH Settings: Enable SSH and set service start up policy to: start and stop with host.

5: Fake SSD disk for vSAN: We need to tag one disk on each host as SSD so that vSAN can be configured during SDDC bring up process.

Use below commands to do so:

Note: Adjust C0:T1:L0 to correct value as per your environment. 

This concludes the preparation of the nested Esxi host to be used in vCF deployment.

Next post of this series is very important as I will be demonstrating the SDDC bring up process. Stay tuned!!!

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