Sunday, November 8, 2015

ESXi installation types: Embedded/ Installable, how would you determine

As you know ESXi is the unified version of the VMware hypervisor however during installation on the basis of size of destination media you have, its installation can be categorized as one of these types:  
§  Embedded : Installed in the attached SD card or USB
§  Installable : installed on a local hard drive
There is one more type, that's,
§  PXE: used in the AutoDeploy environment

During the ESXi installation process you will never be asked whether you want to install in embedded or installable mode. It solely depends on the type and size of your target installation media:
·         If you install ESXi on a USB key drive or SD card then you will always end up with ESXi embedded.
·         If you install ESXi on a hard disk (or iSCSI/SAN/FCoE partition) that has a size of at least 5 GB then you will end up with ESXi installable.
·         If the installation target media (no matter what type) is smaller than 5 GB then you will end up with ESXi embedded.
Now you wonder, in case of PXE, how would you determine if its Installable or Embedded version? The destination media is not enough because you can install ESXi also over the vendor’s SD card used for the embedded versions. Here is the answer,

To determine the type of ESXi installation:
  1. Connect to the host via SSH.
  2. Run this command: # esxcfg-info -e
You see an output similar to:  boot type: visor-thin 
You can determine the ESXi type based on the output of this command.
For example:
ü  visor-thin indicates an installable deployment
ü  visor-usb indicates an embedded deployment
ü  visor-pxe indicates a PXE deployment

Note: For ESXi embedded it is a good practice and a recommendation by VMware to create a persistent scratch location to store log files otherwise you would lose them during host reboot.

Reference KB# 2014558Andreas Peetz's blog post

That's it... :)


  1. Nice one, if possible can you write an article about how to install esxi through pxe?

    1. lets see...looking forward to test the same in my lab