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Creating a VM in ESXi (Basic)

This guide will cover the basics of creating a new virtual machine in ESXi/vSphere. We'll create a more in-depth guide at a later time that will cover more VM settings in more detail. 


1. Login to ESXi (vSphere) Web Interface


2. Click Create / Register VM


3. Select the Option for Create a new virtual machine


4. Give the VM a Name


5. Set the VM Compatibility Level

If you plan on moving this VM to another host running an older version of ESXi, make sure you set a compatibility level equal to or less than the other host. ESXi cannot run VM's with compatibility levels newer than the version they're running.


6. Set the Guest OS Family

With this setting, you should choose the OS family/type that best matches the OS you plan on running.  For example, if you plan on running Windows 10, then choose Windows, if you plan on running Ubuntu, then choose Linux.

There is an option for MacOS, it's difficult to get MacOS to work on non-apple hardware. The MacOS option is intended for when running ESXi on Apple hardware like a Mac Pro or Mac Mini.


7. Set the Guest OS Version

This setting will default some of the resources and VM configuration settings to best match the OS you've chosen.


8. Secure Boot & EFI

If you need the VM to support Secure Boot/EFI then check this box. This option is only available for certain OS versions and isn't available on all hosts or ESXi versions.


9. Selecting the Storage

Select the datastore you want the VM to be stored on.

While not usually recommended, you can store the VM files on one datastore and your hard disks on another. This level of customization is available when editing VM resources.


10. Set CPU Resources

Sometimes when setting the # of CPU, the number of sockets will change and end up being unrealistic.  For example, 32 CPUs with 1 core each.  Please expand the CPU section and make sure the sockets are realistic.  Ideally it should be similar to your physical hardware. 


11. Configure Memory (RAM)


12. Configure Storage (Hard Disks)

Set how large the Hard Disk will be and set the Disk Provisioning method.

We recommend choosing Thick Provisioned as thin provisioned can lead to issues with over-provisioning. 


13. Configuring the Network Adapter

Set the network you want the VM to be a part of and set the adapter type.

We recommend setting the Adapter Type to VMXNET 3. It provides better performance but may have less compatibility out the gate compared to E1000e adapter.  Installing VMware Tools should make the VMXNET 3 adapter show up in the OS. 


14. Mounting Installation Media

In this step we suggest setting your CD/DVD drive setting to "Datastore ISO File" and uploading your ISO installer to an available datastore. 


Once your ISO is uploaded, you can select it.


By doing this, you are mounting the ISO as a CD/DVD to the VM, which is should boot to when the VM is powered on.


15. Additional Hard Disks, Network Adapters, Other Devices (Optional)

If you need to add more hard disks or network adapters, you click the buttons at the top.  If you need to pass through something else to your VM, like a USB controller or a PCI device, you can do that using the "Add other device" button up top.


16. Confirm Settings and Finish


You should now have a brand new VM that you can power on and start using!