Virtualization Pro Tips Blog

Video Training Tiplet: Completing an Initial Configuration of ESXi 4.1

As announced, today is the first of this blog’s Video Training Tiplets, this time on completing an initial configuration of ESXi 4.1.  With each Tiplet, you can expect to see a video like the one below, as well as a transcript of the audio.  Enjoy, and keep coming back for more Video Training Tiplets!



Hey, this is Greg Shields with another Windows IT Pro Video Training Tiplet, this time on completing an initial configuration of ESXi v4.1. You know, if you spend any time with VMware, you’ve probably played around with ESX, but you might not have spent much time with ESXi. Prior to version 4.1, VMware telegraphed the fact that ESX was the going concern, but with the release of 4.1, VMware is now saying that ESXi is the future. So, consequently, you’ll probably be spending a lot more time with ESXi in the coming years.

Now, installing ESXi is actually a pretty simple process. You’ll see here that I’ve done it inside VMware Workstation, it really only takes a couple of clicks. But once you complete that installation, there are a couple of things you need to do to customize that installation. You start here by hitting the F2 button.

Now, here by hitting the F2 button, the first thing that’s required is actually to login. The very first time you login, you’re going to have a blank password. You’ll want to – actually the very first thing you’ll do – is configure a new password. You’ll see that I’ve done that here already.

Typical password stuff: Enter in the old password, enter in the new password, and you’re ready to go.

Now, once you’ve done that, here in the System Customization screen you’ll see that there aren’t that many things to configure. The most important here is called Configure Management Network. There are a couple of things you have to do, one of which is to identify the network adapter you want to use for that management network. Also, if you have any VLAN information, you can enter that VLAN information in here, as well as some IP configuration information. Now, by default, ESXi will use a dynamic IP address via DHCP for its network configuration. And you’ll see that its done that in my instance that you’re look at here on the screen. If you want, you can choose a static IP address here and enter in the IP address information, subnet mask, and default gateway information as well. If you have IPv6, you can do so as well, and configure your IPv6 information, as well as your DNS configuration. Just like the IP information, DNS can get its information from DHCP, or you can enter in that information statically here inside of this screen. By default, you’ll see that we’ve got a primary and an alternate DNS server, as well as a hostname, and this is important, you’ll need to enter in a hostname that’s unique for this server, as its important for some of the other functionality that vCenter is going to require a little down the road.

Now, once you’ve done that you can also do some custom DNS suffixes here if you’ve got DNS suffixes in your organization. But, really, that’s the most important pieces here inside of the ESX system customization screen.

You’ll see that you can restart that management network if you want, and also disable that management network. But one important thing that you might want to take a look at is this test management network link. Now, if you click this test management network link you’ll see that a couple of network addresses are pinged by default: One is your default gateway, two is any DNS servers, and three is also the hostname.

Now, as I’ve said before, you do need to have that hostname inside of DNS, because ESXi will not automatically populate its information into DNS. And, if you don’t have that information inside DNS, you could cause some problems down the road. So, make sure you successfully go through this test of your management network before you continue on with the rest of the configuration.

Also here inside of the system customization screen is some information about your keyboard. If you have a different keyboard, you can configure that keyboard. You can view some support information, which gives you a little bit of information about your serial number, your license, and your SSL thumbprint. Also, some system logs, if you want to take a look at the messages log, the config log, or the management agent log. Down here under troubleshooting options, if you’re experiencing some problems with ESXi you can actually enable local tech support (or the ability to log in locally), remote tech support through SSH, or if you do either of these you’re going to want to modify that tech support timeout so that you don’t forget to disable that remote tech support a little bit down the road. You’ll see here that it is disabled by setting it to 0, but you can set it to a different number if you want. These are important if you’re having problems with troubleshooting or if you’re having problems with that ESXi server.

Down here at the bottom is the ability to restart those management agents. Now, sometimes the ESXi host will have a problem when it connects into your vCenter infrastructure. And restarting those management agents using this link can actually resolve some of those problems if vCenter is experiencing some problems talking with ESXi.

That’s really all that you have to worry about here. Thanks for watching, and come on back to for more video training tiplets.

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