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HOW TO: Create your first Windows Virtual Machine on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) Host Server

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
MVE^2, Expert of the Year 2016-2011, Scribe 2016-2012, Author of the Year 2016,2013-2012 VMware vExpert 2016-2011 27 years of experience.
In my previous 24 VMware Articles, most featured Intermediate VMware Topics. My next series of articles will concentrate on topics for the VMware Novice; this is the seventh article in this series.

If you would like to read the other articles in this series,  they are listed here for your convenience.

Part 1: HOW TO: Install and Configure VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1)

Part 2: HOW TO: Connect to the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) using the vSphere Client

Part 3: HOW TO: Create an ISO CD-ROM/DVD-ROM image (*.iso), and MD5 checksum signature, for use with VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1)

Part 4: HOW TO: Upload an ISO CD-ROM/DVD-ROM image to a VMware datastore for use with VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) using the vSphere Client, and checking its MD5 checksum signature is correct.

Part 5: HOW TO: Enable SSH Remote Access on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1)

Part 6: HOW TO: Create your first Linux Virtual Machine on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) Host Server

In this series of basic VMware articles for the Novice, I'll be showing you the basic VMware skills required to install, configure and deploy virtual machines using VMware's FREE VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi).

In this article we will show you HOW TO: Create your first Windows Virtual Machine on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) Host Server. This procedure can be followed to install ANY Microsoft Windows Virtual Machines on earlier versions of VMware vSphere provided they are supported by the version of VMware vSphere. You may want to consult the the VMware Hardware Comparability Lists or HCL, see here

1. Connect to the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) or vSphere vCenter Server using the vSphere Client

Please refer to my EE article on HOW TO: Connect to the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) using the vSphere Client
    vSphere Client Connected to VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) Host ServerClick the Inventory icon.

2. Upload the Windows operating system ISO image file to the VMFS datastore

Please refer to my EE article on HOW TO: Upload an ISO CD-ROM/DVD-ROM image to a VMware datastore for use with VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) using the vSphere Client, and checking its MD5 checksum signature is correct.

If you have already downloaded a Windows operating system as an ISO image file from the internet (MSDN - Microsoft Developer Network or Microsoft Technet), there is no need to create new iso image file, if you have physical CD-ROM or DVD-ROM Windows media, Please refer to my EE article on HOW TO: Create an ISO CD-ROM/DVD-ROM image (*.iso), and MD5 checksum signature, for use with VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1)

In this example, we will use Microsoft Windows Server 2012, this can be uploaded to the datastore, datastore1, using the previous EE Article - HOW TO: Upload an ISO CD-ROM/DVD-ROM image to a VMware datastore for use with VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) using the vSphere Client, and checking its MD5 checksum signature is correct.

Please note and check the VMware Hardware Comparability Lists (HCL) here, to check your Operating System is compatible with VMware vSphere. Many operating systems fail to install because the operating system is not supported by the version of VMware vSphere being used. In the following screenshot from the HCL, we can clearly see this is supported for the version of VMware vSphere 5.1 we are using in this tutorial.
Microsoft Windows Server 2012 on VMware HCL

3. Creating the Windows Virtual Machine

At the Summary tab, there are three different methods you can use to create the virtual machine.
Method 1: Use shortcut keys CTRL+N together
Method 2: Select File > New > Virtual Machine
Create Virtual Machine
Method 3: Right Click the Host [192.168.10.128] select New Virtual Machine
Create Virtual MachineAfter selecting Create New Virtual Machine, the Create New Virtual Machine dialogue box and wizard will be displayed. This allows you to specify your requirements for the virtual machine, the number of processors, the amount of memory, storage required, and network card, these are the basic requirements, which are needed to create a virtual machine. Take a few minutes to think about your virtual machine requirements,  Ask yourself the question - What would you specify when purchasing a physical machine or server? These values can be changed and amended later, e.g. add additional processors, increase memory or storage space. It's much easier to grow storage than reduce it later, so my advice would be to start small, and later grow your resources, by looking at the performance of the virtual machine. In a previous EE Article, we discuss performance, see here HOW TO:  Performance Monitor vSphere 4.x or 5.0 This is one of the many advantages of virtual machines, we have greater flexibility to add and remove resources, compared to a physical computer or server.We also have very fine controls, or granular controls over machine specifications, e.g. memory, most memory components in physical servers today are in 1GB DIMM increments, using virtualisation, we can increase memory in 256MB or 512MB increments! This is not easy to complete with physical computers, we cannot cut a memory DIMM in half! Create New Virtual Machine Wizard
The Create Virtual Machine Wizard, creates the configuration or template for us to install our operating system later. It includes some specification templates, based on the vendors minimum requirements for the Operating System selected.

Select Typical followed by Next. This will create a new virtual machine with the most common devices and configuration options.Create New Virtual Machine - Name
Enter a Name for the virtual machine and Click Next. This is the name which will appear in the inventory, this is not to be confused with the operating systems hostname, which will be set, when we install the operating system. In the example I have entered the name "My First Windows VM"Create New Virtual Machine - NameClick Next to continue, select the datastore to store the virtual machine configuration files and virtual disks and click Next to continue through the wizard

In my previous EE articles, we discussed datastore creation see here

HOW TO: Install and Configure VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1)

HOW TO: Connect to the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) using the vSphere ClientCreate New Virtual Machine - Datastore At the Guest Operating System selection dialogue wizard, select Windows, followed by the correct Microsoft Windows version, if you cannot find the exact version, select a similar operating system.Create New Virtual Machine - OS SelectionSelect Windows, and use the scroll down box to select Microsoft Windows Server 2012 (64-bit). Create New Virtual Machine - OS Selection - Microsoft Windows Server 2012 (64-bit)Click Next to continue the wizard.
Create New Virtual Machine - Network Select the Network defaults, and Click Next to continue the wizard.Create New Virtual Machine - virtual disk sizeSelect the required virtual disk size, this is the size of the disk for the operating system installation. A default size is provided based on vendors minimum recommendations. Please note, it's very easy to increase the disk size of a virtual machine after installation, please see my previous EE Article HOW TO:  Resize a VMware (VMDK) Virtual Disk, However it's more difficult to shrink a virtual disk. So we would always recommend, starting small and growing later. The only VMware supported procedure to shrink a virtual disk, is to use VMware vCenter Converter Standalone, and create a V2V, which is also covered in my previous EE Articles listed here

HOW TO:  Synchronize changes when completing a P2V or V2V with VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.1

HOW TO:  P2V, V2V for FREE - VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.1

In this virtual machine deployment, we will use a Thick Provision Lazy Zeroed virtual disk, we will explain these different terms in a different article in the future.

Click Next to Continue the virtual machine wizard
Create New Virtual Machine - Ready to CompleteCheck the Settings for the new virtual machine, if they are correct, click Finish to create the virtual machine, otherwise click Back. The virtual machine will be created.My First Windows VMIf you check the Host Inventory, you will see your Virtual Machine - "My First Windows VM" listed in the inventory, next to "My First Linux VM" which is still running.

4. Installing Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Operating System in the Virtual Machine

Installing the Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Operating System in the virtual machine hosted on the VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) Host Server is very similar, to installing the Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Operating System on a physical computer or server, with a few differences, which we will list below
the installation media is a virtual iso image file which must be connected to the VM
to complete the installation correctly, VMware Tools must be installed in the virtual machine.
other than the two differences highlighted above, the actual installation is exactly the same as installing on a physical computer or server.

Right Click the virtual server "My First Windows VM" , and Click Edit Settings
VM - Edit Settings This step is often missed, many EE Questions are submitted, Why does my virtual machine not boot from the CD-ROM?
The *.ISO image file needs to be a Bootable ISO image file
- this can be checked using MagicISO If you open the ISO image file with MagicISO, it states BOOTABLE BOOTABLE CD-ROM/DVD-ROM - this CD-ROM/DVD-ROM ISO image file will BOOT a computer, server, workstation or virtual machine.NON-BOOTABLE This CD-ROM/DVD-ROM ISO image file states NON-BOOTABLE,  this CD-ROM/DVD-ROM ISO image file will NOT BOOT a computer, server, workstation or virtual machine. Please check your ISOs image files you use are BOOTABLE. It is beyond the scope of this article, to show you HOW TO: Create a Bootable ISO image file CD-ROM/DVD-ROM for use with a computer, server, workstation or virtual machine.

the ISO image file must be connected to the virtual machine

connected to the virtual machine at power on

the BOOT order parameters in the CMOS BIOS are set to hard disk, network first and not CD-ROM.
the above procedures are exactly the same for a physical computer. e.g. - the same process as ensuring the CD-ROM/DVD-ROM in the drive at POST on a physical computer, - the same process as inserting the CD-ROM/DVD-ROM in the drive on a physical computer. Both physical and virtual BIOS are the same.

The following Virtual Machine settings will be displayedCD-ROM Selected and Connected at Power On Select the CD/DVD drive1, and select Datastore ISO image file, browse to the location on the datastore, datastore1 in our example in the folder isos, and select the en_windows_server_2012_x64_dvd_915478.iso ISO image file. Also ensure that there is a Tick in the Connect at power on. Click OK for the changes to be saved.

The very first time a virtual machines boots, its' BOOT order in the CMOS BIOS is set to CD-ROM. After the installation has been successful, this is reset to Hard Disk.
Power On Virtual MachineEither Right-Click the virtual machine "My First Windows VM" and Select Power On, or select the virtual machine  "My First Windows VM", and type CTRL-B to power on the virtual machine, the virtual machine should automatically boot from the CD-ROM ISO image file. Then select the Open Console function so you can interact with the virtual machine. You may find it easier if you Right-Click the virtual machine "My First Windows VM" and Select Open Console.Open Consoleand then selecting the Power On button on the ribbon bar Power On Virtual Machine Buttonthe virtual machine should automatically boot from the CD-ROM/DVD-ROM ISO image file. The Open Console function is similar to the Keyboard/Video Machine (KVM) function in a datacentre, which allows you to toggle between console screens of computers, it allows you to interact with the virtual machine, with keyboard and mouse movements, and displays the screen. The Microsoft Windows Server 2012 installation start up process Windows 2012 Installation Startup and BootWindows 2012 Installation StartupSelect the Language to install, Time and currency format, and Keyboard or input method, and Click Next to continue.
Windows 2012 Installation - Select Language and KeyboardLanguage and Keyboard Selected
Windows 2012 Installation -  Language and Keyboard SelectedClick Install
Windows 2012 Installation -  Click InstallThe following screen will be displayed - Setup is starting
Windows 2012 Installation -  Setup is startingEnter Product Key when prompted
Windows 2012 Installation -  Enter Product KeyProduct Key Entered, select Next to continue with installation, only with a valid product key, will the Next icon, be lit.
Windows 2012 Installation -  Product Key EnteredDepending upon the product key entered, will determine which Windows Server 2012 version is available to install. Select the required version to install.
Windows 2012 Installation -  Select GUI or CoreAccept the License Terms by ticking the box, and select Next to continue the installation
Windows 2012 Installation -  License TermsAs this is a new operating system, we are installing, select Custom: Install Windows only (advanced).
Windows 2012 Installation - New InstallSelect the disk drive location for the operating system installation followed by Next
Windows 2012 Installation -  Select DiskInstalling Windows will start and copy files from the media to the virtual machine hard diskWindows 2012 Installation -  Getting files ready for installation 1 percent completeWindows 2012 Installation -  Getting files ready for installation -50 percent completeWindows 2012 Installation -  Getting files ready for installation -100 percent completeWindows 2012 Installation -  Finishing UpWindows needs to restart to continue installation
Windows 2012 Installation -  RestartingAfter the installation restarts, Windows will restart several times setting up devices
Windows 2012 Installation -  Getting devices ready 100 percentOne more restart is required before the installation is completed.
Windows 2012 Installation -  Getting readyType a password to be used as the Local Administrator password for the server, followed by Finish.
Windows 2012 Installation -  Enter admin passwordThe Windows Server 2012 logon screen will appear.
Windows 2012 Installation -  Complete
Congratulations, you have successfully Created your first Windows Virtual Machine on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 (ESXi 5.1) Host Server

It is recommended to install VMware Tools in the virtual machine. Please see my EE Article HOW TO: Install VMware Tools for Windows on a VMware Windows virtual machine

Please see my next article in this series HOW TO: Install VMware Tools for Windows on a VMware Windows virtual machine



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Thank you for reading my article, please leave valuable feedback. If you liked my VMware article and would like to see more Articles from me, please click the Yes button near the: Was this article helpful? at the bottom of this article just below and to the right of this information. Thank You. Do not forget if you have a question about this article or another VMware, Virtualisation, Windows Server 2012 question, why not post a Question for me and the other Experts Exchange Experts in the VMware, Virtualisation, Windows 2008, Windows 2012 Zones. I look forward to hearing from you. - Andy :- twitter @einsteinagogo
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