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This is another learning project for myself and others who are interested.


I usually setup a virtual enterprise once in a while to tighten up my hands-on experience.

Now, this is easy when you do that on a VMWare Workstation.

I had separate networks for DMZ and backend.

Separated into 2 data centers.

Monitor all of those machines using spectrum.



I have installed vSphere 6.0 on my laptop and will be setting up the same.

As I get into issues, I would be recording them here and how it is being resolved, or if I had to give up and take different path.



2015-08-12 (This is an accumulation of actions I performed last week)

vSphere 6 can be installed on an USB HDD and boot from it.

As I did not have an empty DVD to burn, I created a VMWare image and connect the USB HDD(I actually have a 120GB SSD in it) to it.

Load the vSphere ISO file to boot from it then installed onto the detected USB HDD.

Then move this USB HDD to my laptop, and it was able to boot up successfully.


There is a limitation on the NIC on the host machine that need to be supported otherwise the installation would not work.

Even after successful installation and boot, if vSphere does not detect supported NIC then it will be useless.


The network card on my host laptop was Intel I217-V and was recognized just fine.


I had internal SSD of 512GB and recognized fine and registered as a DataStore(VMSSD1).

I had esata HDD of 640GB and was recognized fine and registered as a DataStore(VMHDD1)


Being first time user, I did not know how to upload existing VMWare images.

Found out that VMware vCenter allows me to convert the VMWare Workstation images and directly upload to the vSphere server.

This takes a very long time to convert and upload. Several hours were needed to upload a single image(but the image itself was pretty big).

Uploaded VMWare image worked well.

I had to manually register the VMWare Image by "Right click on the DataStore ==> Browse Datastore ==> navigate the folders and select the *.vmx file to register as Inventory"




To automatically startup this Image after rebooting the host, select "Host ==> Configuration ==> Software ==> Virtual Machine Startup/Shutdown"

At the right end there is "Properties...", click on it.



Check "Allow virtual machines to start and stop automatically with the system". It is not checked by default.

Then select the Virtual Machine that you want to startup automatically and move it up to "Automatic Startup" section.



I created a lot of Virtual Machines on my SSD and HDD.

Later the HDD crashed. Maybe I pushed it too hard.

Learned that I need to configure the swapfile to be created on my SSD so I do not burden the HDD too much.

In fact, I should place all my Virtual Machines on the HDD and use my SSD for all the swapfiles.


Goto "Host ==> Configuration ==> Software ==> Virtual Machine Swapfile Location"

Click "Edit..." button at the right end and select the SSD drive which is registered as datastore.



What I observe is that, if you placed a Virtual Machine on HDD, allocated 6GB Ram for this Virtual Machine, the 6GB swapfile will be created on this SSD when the Virtual Machine boot up.

There were some other swap files as well, it seemed (I am guessing) as if it was to reduce the IO activities on the HDD and let it happen on the SSD, then synchronize the result to the HDD.


After losing the VMHDD1, I decided to replace it with a USB 3.0 HDD.

I have 5TB and 1TB USB 3.0 HDD from Seagate.

Interestingly, they are not being recognized.



It is actually detected as a USB device though.


And for some reason, the 5TB drive is recognized as 2TB.

But "fdisk -l" does not list this drive.



Need to research further how to get this drive mounted and also recognize the full 5TB.

The 1TB also shows the same behavior, but good thing is that it is only 1TB so I should not have using its max capacity.


Next is to try booting it from a 32GB USB Thumbdrive(ordered one and getting it probably this week) so I can make use of the USB 3.0 120GB which I am currently booting from.

This basically will wipe out everything from my current testing setup. Until then, I have time to try exploring more things.


DataStore: This is where Virtual Machines, swapfiles and etc get stored. I can also store iso files to mount from Virtual Machines. There were no encryption involved here, meaning that I can install vSphere Hypervisor on another USB and if I boot from it I can still mount these datastores and launch the VM images from appears to be signed by a Host key for security reasons.





USB Thumb drive arrived.

Used VMWare Workstation to install vSphere Hypervisor 6.0 to the USB Thumb drive and replaced it with the USB SSD which I was using for booting up.

It worked very well. I had to scan for the datastores and both VMHDD1 and VMSSD1 were detected.

After exploring the datastores and adding the Virtual Machines to the Inventory, they all started up just fine.

Applied vSphere Hypervisor permanent license.

Configured SwapFile to be stored in VMSSD1.


All USB HDD are removed as they are not accessible as datastore.


Researched how to mount the USB 3.0 HDD as Datastore. Device is detected but invisible when trying to add a DataStore.

     Research shows USB disks are not to be recognized by design except for passthrough to the Virtual Machines (although vSphere can boot from the USB HDD):

                      link :        hardware - How to mount an USB drive under VMWare ESXi 5.5? - Server Fault

     Then I will not be able to mount these USB HDD. It has to be esata.

                      Another option could be that I setup a NAS on Virtual Machine and passthrough the USB HDD to it and use it as NFS. And have vSphere recognize it. But it appears this would be going too beyond

   * Going to order a caddy and sacrifice the optical drive for an internal HDD.


How to upload/download files to the datastore?

Browse datastore and there is a button to upload or download file.



How to move VirtualMachine from VMSSD1 datastore to VMHDD1 datastore?

Right next to the upload/download button from above screenshot, there is one to move the folders to different datastores.


Setup vSwitch to isolate networks.

"VM Network" by default is bridged to the physical NIC and has network access.

I created "ISOLATED" to run a Virtual Machine that does not require network connectivity.

As such, it can only be accessed via vSphere Client.


I also created "SECURE.LAB BACKEND" which is also not connected to vmnic0.

But I will have machines that attaches to both the "VM Network" and "SECURE.LAB BACKEND".

This will allow me to run virtual machines that are not directly accessible from vmnic0 network but can be accessed via proxy servers running on "VM Network".





Caddy has arrived and I have put in a 640GB HDD as VMHDD2.


This concludes this article of setting up vSphere Hypervisor v6.0 on my Dell m4800 laptop.