Whitebox server for ESXi4 , ESXi5 and ESXi 5.1

There are  a lot of topic in VMware community forums about white boxserver hardware  configuration and its compatibility  with ESXi5 and ESXi4. One of the my blog visitors, Frederic, who read my post about Home LAB for vSphere 4 and 5 in a single box – post is here – asked me if I could test installation for ESxi5 and ESXi4U1 on directly on my hardware in LAB. Today morning I found few minutes to test my hardware compatibility with ESXi5 and ESXi4U1.

Hardware configuration:


Below you can find tests results:

ESXi5 –  build 504890

As you can see it works on my hardware configuration, system is fully operational,

ESXi5 –  build 469512

ESXi5 in build 469512 works on my hardware too. ESXi see network device, SSD disk (I didn’t try install ESXi on SSD because would destroy my Ubuntu server) I think it’s possible to install ESXi on SSD.

SSD disk is visible during installation a as well as during new storage wizard configuration

I installed Windows 2008 R2 64bit just to be sure that VM can run without extra configuration effort.

After ESXi5 and Virtual Machine with 64 bit OS test installations,  I can say that my hardware is fully compatible with ESXi5 either free or full version.

UPDATE 23/05/2012

ESXi4 build 348481

Thanks to one of my blog readers (Frederic) I can announce that above hardware configuration works also with ESXi4.  Before ESXi4 installation you must disable onboard LAN controller in BIOS and insert into PCI-X port additional network card. He used Intel(r) Gigabit CT Desktop adapter, link to detailed network card specification is listed in an info box.

esxi4.1 whitebox hardware

Update 17/01/2012

ESXi 5.1.0 build 799733

I have tested on above hardware configuration vSphere ESXi  5.1.0 build 799733 , see screens below:

ESXi 5.1 build 799733

ESXi 5.1 build 799733

[box type=”info”] Useful links

Artur Krzywdzinski

Artur is Consulting Architect at Nutanix. He has been using, designing and deploying VMware based solutions since 2005 and Microsoft since 2012. He specialize in designing and implementing private and hybrid cloud solution based on VMware and Microsoft software stacks, datacenter migrations and transformation, disaster avoidance. Artur has been in IT industry since 1999 and consulting since 2008. Artur holds VMware Certified Design Expert certification (VCDX #077).

  • Artur,

    Thank you very much for taking the time to make the test.
    Looks like I have no excuse not to buy similar hardware and make a test box ;-).

    • Frederic,

      no problem, you are very welcome and good luck with your test 🙂


      • Alexis

        Hello Arthur,
        I almost have the same hardware as you do , asus P8Z68-V LX, 16Go RAM and HDD OCZ agility…:)
        My lab works well in a workstation 8 (esxi cluster) but i seem to have problems while installing esxi5 directly on hardware:
        Everything works well, i even can connect with the vpshere 5 client and all seems normal,but after a while i loose connection and ping on the esxi. Come sometimes or not at all, reboot is necessary.
        Looks like an unstable driver for the built-in realtek rtl8168/8111 NIC is causing this, but i don’t have your level of expertise…
        Do you have any idea what might causing this?

        Thank you,

        • Hi Alexis,

          That’s odd behaviour, frankly, I installed ESXi5, after two days still was OK so I assumed that all was fine. In your case is very hard to say anything without looking to logs. Does management network restart helps or only reboot ? Which ESXi build you have ? Have you checked if newer BIOS is available for MOBO on ASUS web?


          • Alexis

            Hello Arthur, and thank you for your answer.
            So the management network restart helps for a few minutes (no need to reboot), but then i loose connection again.
            I have the esxi5 5.0 Build 469512 (aug 2011)
            The mobo has latest bios version (703)

            The interesting part in VMKernel log is:
            2012-02-27T20:15:31.595Z cpu2:2050)WARNING: NetSched: 1713: Scheduler [0x4100045c5b80] lock up [stopped=0] for vmnic3:
            2012-02-27T20:15:31.595Z cpu2:2050)WARNING: NetSched: 1723: detected at 866999 while last xmit at 861775 and 2/37092 packets/bytes in flight [window full 1] and binary heap size 1 [stress 0]
            2012-02-27T20:15:31.595Z cpu2:2050)WARNING: NetSched: 1732: Packets completion seem stuck, issuing reset on vmnic3 [stress 0]
            At this moment a ping -t on the esxi stop to respond.

            All this sounds tricky…do you have any idea?
            my last hope is maybe an efi/bios parameter that you did and that i don’t have..?

          • Hi

            Sorry for late response, Ilast days I have quite tight schedule. It looks like problem with a NIC driver. Could be a BIOS settings. But I have an idea,
            Install ESXi5 full version, patch it and test it. Let me know how it goes.


  • Artur,
    fyi for the ESXI 4.1 installation, I installed 4.1 update 1 and got a python error complainining about a module :
    “vmkctl.HostCtlException: Unable to load module /usr/lib/vmware/vmkmod/vmfs3: Failure”

    I disabled the internal network card and used an intel pro 1000 desktop card and was able to install ESXi 4.1U1 free without any trouble.

    • Hi Frederic,

      Nice to here from you, thanks for the info, based on it I will update my post accordingly


    • Post updated, thanks Frederic for sharing information