Creating a Hypervisor

Posted on Sat 20 August 2016 in Virtualization

Choose your hardware carefully. Search online for ESXi whiteboxes or HCL's. Some drivers for hardware will have been included with a particular version of ESXi, other versions will have dropped it.

Google for other people's whitebox setups. When I first started this, it was a lot harder to piece things together. The internet is full of successful ESXi whitebox success stories now. https://www.google.co.uk/search?client=opera&q=esxi+whitebox+hcl&sourceid=opera&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

I've found that 5.1.0 works best for me however I have never been able to get GPU pass-through working correctly, which is a bummer.

Below is my setup.

 Motherboard : Asrock Extreme 6
 CPU: Intel 3770
 CPU Cooler: Corsair H100
 RAM: 32GB - 4x Corsair 8GB PC3-12800
 PSU: Corsair 1000w RMx
 Case: Coolermaster HAF-X 
 Syba SATA III PCI-e 
 CLS 3 port USB 3.0 + 1 Port GB LAN
 2x 4TB WD RED
 2x 3TB Seagate Barracuda
 8x 2TB WD GREEN / 2TB Seagate 
 1x 8GB Transcend JetFlash USB

This hardware was found and hashed together after years of trying to build the perfect "all in one" virtual infrastructure. I spent ages pawing over forums and PDF's trying to get GPU passthrough working, so I could have a SAN, gaming rig, workstation and whatever other server I felt the need for in one box. After trying 6 different GPU and 3 Motherboard combinations, with varying results, I gave up and focused on the storage and service side of things. I have a mid-range workstation that doubles as my rig now.

Things to note:
 K series Intel processors won't work
(earlier k series CPU's didn't support VT-d)

• Motherboard must support VT-d / IOMMU
This allows us to passthrough PCI/USB slots

• PSU needs enough Amps to fulfil the load when booting 
In total, I think my system at load probably draws no more than 600w
However when cold booting, the 12v rail needs enough power to get everything powered up
especially the HDD's. I've found rebooting isn't a problem.
Installing ESXi:
sign up at myvmware, google for ESXi and download it from myvmware
at TOW 6.0 is the current release however earlier versions are still availablewrite the ISO to a USB (or CD\DVD)

there's a pretty comprehensive guide here http://www.virten.net/2014/12/howto-create-a-bootable-esxi-installer-usb-flash-drive/

 boot from the USB or CD
 follow the wizard, I use the 8GB USB as my OS disk
 reboot
 remove install media  
 login using the creds entered in setup
 set a static IP in the network configuration
Accessing the Console:
 using a web browser go to the IP address on screen
 download the v-Sphere client
 update the packages as needed
 log in

open the hypervisors console

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