Nested Esxi on Esxi Hypervisor

How to Install Nested Esxi as VM on Esxi Server.

First…. download the Esxi Hypervisor  and upload it on the datastore of your physical Esxi Server.

Then start creating a VM as per below procedure.

My way of creating a VM is just to go to the host of my choice and click Actions > New virtual Machine…

vSphere 6 new virtual machine

Select a creation type

Since there is nothing to re-use, the only way to get the ESXi up and running for me is to Create a new virtual machine
New Virtual Machine vSphere 6

Edit Settings

I’ll call it esxi-nestvm and place it to the folder vSphere6.0 and select a host and a datastore with sufficient resources

New Virtual Machine vSphere 6


The Compatibility with ESXi 5.5 and later is fine in my case, but you need to think about your migration possibilities and how they get limited. That’s the same as selecting the latest version of virtual hardware (10) on this installation as it is running on vSphere 5.5.

New VM vSphere 6

Since there is no Guest-OS nested vSphere 6, the guest-os type is other 64-bit with the Guest OS Name ESXi 6.0.

New VM OS type vSphere 6

The configuration is pretty straightforward:

  • 2 vCPUs (2 CPU is the minimum requirement)
  • 6GB of memory (4 GB is minimum, 8 GB and more is recommended for productive infrastructures)
  • 15GB of disk-space as a single hard disk
  • vmxnet 3 for the network adapter type

New VM Hardware setup vSphere 6 ESXi Hosts nested


If the summary screen shows all the correct settings hit Finish to deploy the VM and start the advanced settings.

Advanced settings of the VM

After creating the empty VM I have to change some advanced settings to to have ESXi 6.0 running smoothly.
CPU Hardware virtualization should be set to “Expose hardware assisted virtualization to the guest OS” to have full virtualization support on the CPU enabled.

VM advanced settings to run nested ESXi Expose hardware assisted virtualization to the guest OS

And second to make sure to enable the Failed Boot Recovery option. Using this option the VM reboots frequently when no boot device is found. So it’s looping reboots till the .iso is attached to the system. This is only necessary for the installation process and can be unchecked when the installation is complete.

more VM advanced settings to run nested ESXi Failed Boot Recovery option

Installation of ESXi within the VM

You are ready now to install ESXi Hosts nested.

Boot the esx_nestvm and open the console to continue the standard esxi installation steps.