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ESXi 4.1 within ESXi, errors when powering on inner virtual machine

Posted on 2011-03-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I installed ESXi 4.1 within an ESXi 4.1 host. Installed and boots fine. When I power on my 1st virtual machine on the inner ESXi (no OS loaded yet), I get the following message:

Running VMware ESX in a virtual machine requires the outer virtual machine to be configured for running a VMware ESX guest operating system. You cannot power on a virtual machine until the outer virtual machine is reconfigured.

How do I configure the outer ESXi to allow this?
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Question by:MikeBroderick
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by:coolsport00
coolsport00 earned 250 total points
ID: 35153279
The error is because that type of embedded configuration isn't supported; see:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1030283

You need to install ESX/ESXi in a VM on either Workstation or Player.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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by:coolsport00
coolsport00 earned 250 total points
ID: 35153290
See this video on how to install in Workstation 7, if you choose to pursue it:
http://www.vladan.fr/how-to-install-esx-4-inside-vmware-workstaiton-7-video/

~coolsport00
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Accepted Solution

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sam_gcaus earned 250 total points
ID: 35153304
I have successfully done this - nested ESXi installations, powered on a VM running on the "inner" ESXi, and installed an OS. It was some time ago but I believe I was using ESXi 4.1 at the time. You need to make the following configuration change:
    * Shut down the virtual ESX VM
    * Click Edit Settings (of that VM)
    * Click the Options tab
    * Click Advanced / General / Configuration Parameters…
    * Click Add Row
    * For the Name/Value enter: monitor_control.restrict_backdoor / TRUE

Worked for me.

Source: http://www.vcritical.com/2009/05/vmware-esx-4-can-even-virtualize-itself/

Good luck.
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by:coolsport00
ID: 35153315
Yeah...I saw this post:
http://serverfault.com/questions/28399/how-to-run-vmware-esx-or-esxi-in-a-virtual-machine with that in it, but also saw the VMware KB.

I guess it's up to what the poster wants to do really. My recommendation will always side towards what is supported by VMware.

~coolsport00
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Expert Comment

by:sam_gcaus
ID: 35153366
Hey coolsport00, I agree - generally go with the vendor's recommendations. However, it sounds like this is probably a lab environment - I can't think of any reason you'd nest ESXi installations in production. In my case, it really didn't matter if my configuration was officially supported or not.
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by:coolsport00
ID: 35153385
Sure, but even for my labs, I tend to lean towards what's been 'approved' for testing in case I run into issues. That's why I mention it's really up to the poster :)

~coolsport00
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Author Closing Comment

by:MikeBroderick
ID: 35156281
It seems to work OK. The inner ESXi is only for doing some tests. Also, I also am surprized on the low price of Workstation 7 (~ $150). I shouldnt take too many risks to save that amount.
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