Deploy nested KVM on VMware vSphere or Workstation

KVM logo

KVM logo

How to deploy nested KVM on VMware vSphere or Workstation.

You may have several different reasons to deploy nested environment but one of the most common is – for test new technology, test migration process from or out of the platform or simply lack of hardware resources (homelab deployments). My setup is CentOS 7 with KVM run on VMware vSphere 5.5 (one instance) on Nutanix and VMware workstation 10 on Windows workstation (second instance). What to do to Deploy nested KVM on VMware vSphere or Workstation ? Steps are fairly similar for both installations, the only difference is  on VMware vSphere 5.5 deployment you should change network adapter from E1000E to vmxnet3 and on Workstation storage controller from default to LSI Logic SAS.

Hardware baseline

virtual machine baseline

  • Assign two network adapters
    • in VMware vSphere change from E1000E to vmxnet3
  • Assign minimum 4GB RAM and 1 vCPU – depend on needs and available resources
  • Select “LSI Logic SAS” SCSI controller – on VMware workstation
  • Make sure that:
    • Expose virtualiation hardware to guest OS is marked –  vSphere VM – you can find it next to the CPU settings
    • Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI – for VMware workstation
enable hardware virtualization

enable hardware virtualization on nesteb VM

  • edit vmx file and add line: apic.xapic.enabled=FALSE
  • Boot up VM from ISO
  • Follow then installation process and make on software selection window, server with GUI (or just server) and three form the right panel are selected
software repositories to install on CentOS 7

software repositories to install on CentOS 7

  • Configure IP on first vNIC, second will be taken as bridge by KVM
  • Continue installation and reboot at the end
  • After reboot log in to console and check if you can connect to KVM using virt-manager
virt-manager on CentOS KVM

virt-manager on CentOS KVM

Virt manager is GUI for managing virtual machines, networking on KVM and XEN servers.

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 holds VMware Certified Design Expert certification (VCDX #077).