ESX5 Staging System
This beauty is the result of hours of head banging. I have been slowly going through the VCP5 Study guide, in order to better acquaint myself with VMWare Products and see if I’m missing any knowledge. One thing that has always elude me was PXE Booting bare metal servers. Viola. I present to you the following…. This beast contains:

  • 2 x Intel barebone servers, eachwith 16Gb RAM, Dual Quad core Xeon 2.3Ghz Processors. Dual Gigabit LAN etc…
  • A regular PC with 8 x 1TB drives set up in RAID0 using Openfiler. I use open filer because its a quick test bed that allows me to use soft-RAID and has a software iSCSI imitator. This machine has 3 x 2Tb Data stores set up in 1 volume group
  • 1 regular router with a gigabit switch
  • The bottom server has an 8gb USB stick in the back that boots up ESXiv5. This was the 1st server set up that will hold the rest of the infrastructure


Above is a diagram of the entire system. The bottom server has a VM running Windows 2008 Server R2 x64 with:

  • DHCP Server role configured with the following 2 options
    • Option 066 Boot Server Host Name: IP_ADDRESS_OF_TFTP_SERVER
    • Option 067 BootFile Name: undionly.kpxe.vmw-hardwired
  • TFTP Server, i used tftpd64 by ph. jounin
  • Vcentre, Power CLI and the Auto Deploy module loaded into Vcentre

You need to log into Power CLI and connect to the Vcentre Server, in this case the bottom one…

Run Power CLI in “Administrator Mode” and run these commands

  • Add-EsxSoftwareDepot “”
  • $DefaultSoftwareDepots
  • Get-EsxImageProfile (We will use: ESXi-5.0.0-20120302001)
  • $img = Get-EsxImageProfile -Name “ESXi-5.0.0-20120302001-standard”
  • $rule = New-DeployRule -Name “DeployRule01” -Item $img -Pattern “ipv4=”
  • Add-DeployRule -DeployRule DeployRule01

Now connect to the vcentre server using the vsphere client, goto HOME and click on Auto Deploy. Download the TFTP configuration ZIP. Extract the ZIP into the root of your TFTP server

The Top Server is then configured to boot via network. And BAM! its like magic!




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