WHAT IS NESTED INSTALL?
A feature on VMware vSphere that makes the learning process and system simulation a lot easier is the ability to do nested install. Nested install means that vSphere can be installed on top of vSphere. If the processor and RAM are quite enough, all simulated systems in the real data center can be simulated in only 1 server. All servers and other devices are made in the form of a Virtual Machine (VM) so that more cost efficient, both in term of hardware investment and power (electricity and air conditioning).
In addition on vSphere, we can also use VMware Workstation (running on Linux or Windows) and VMware Fusion (running on Mac) to perform simulation. For the best results, I suggest to using nested installation on vSphere. In this article, I use PC to make vSphere installation for Simulation and Hands on Lab VMware vSphere and perform management through the laptop.
NESTED INSTALLATION PREPARATION
- Prepare PC server for vSphere host installation. I’m using PC server with Gigabyte motherboard Z77X-D3H with i7 processor, 32 GB of RAM, 120 GB Intel SSD disk and 2 TB of SATA disk
- Enable Intel-VT/EPT or AMD-V/RVI in the BIOS
- Perform the vSphere installation
- Install the vSphere Client on the laptop. You can also install vCenter Server in order to access the simulation server using vCenter
- upload the ISO installer for VMware Hypervisor, can be downloaded through VMware website
- Check whether the host has the capability of nested 64 bit OS guest by access ing the following URL address : https://IPAddress-or-vSphere-Hostname/mob/?moid=ha-host&doPath=capability
ex : https://192.168.1.99/mob/?moid=ha-host&doPath=capability or https://vsphere.vavai.net/mob/?moid=ha-host&doPath=capability. Find out the NestedHVSupported parameters whether True or False like the example shown below:
If NestedHVSupported show FALSE, we will not be able to run OS 64 bit on vSphere nested. In the above example, the hardware supporting 64 bit guest OS in nested environment as well.
PREPARING VSPHERE NESTED VM
- Create a VM using vSphere Client or vSphere Web-Client. If using vSphere 5.5 and not using vCenter, select Virtual Hardware Compability version 9 because Virtual Hardware version 10 cannot be edited using vSphere Client
- Select the operation system of Linux | Other 64 bit when selecting operation system types. Later, the option can be changed using the Edit Settings menu
- For hard drive, set the capacity of vSphere system disk. I’m using 4GB of system disk and plan to add the second virtual hard drive for data
- Follow the wizard until finish
- Select the VM and click Edit Settings menu.
- On the Virtual Hardware-CPU, enable the Exposed Hardware Assisted Virtualization option to the Guest OS. If the menu was disabled – it means that the hardware do not have ability to run 64 bit Guest OS on top of vSphere nested. NOte : I’m using vCenter web client to edit the VM settings as shown on the following screenshot :
- On the VM options, select the operation system types: Other and Version: vSphere 5.x
- On the virtual hardware CD/ DVD, select Data Store ISO File and select vSphere Hypervisor Installer ISO file. Don’t forget to give a checklist on Connect at Power On so the guest system automatically booting using CD/ DVD
- Once finished, click OK
- Click VM and then click Power On menu
- Click Open Console menu and then do the installation of vSphere as usual
- Once completed, vSphere host can be managed using vSphere Client or vCenter as well as installing vSphere on a physical machine/server
As shown on the above process, installing vSphere in nested environment is not really difficult and does not have significant differences with the installation process on a physical server except for VM preparation. By using nested mechanism, we can do simulation of vSphere system completely in one or a few server.
Note : If you wish to add a second nested host, don’t clone the existing nested VM. It’s seems that the clone-copied nested VM unusable, CMIIW. Better to installing the second VM manually by using the above process.