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  • ESXi newb can't get to a CD drive, host or client

    I've been looking for days and can't seem to find a solution to this in what I've read in PDFs or forum posts. (I'm used to VMWare Server and am experimenting with ESXi.)
    -I create a new VM and of course I need to boot from a CD to install the guest OS, but I CAN'T.
    -I try to configure the host with a CD and it says no device is available. (I even bought a SATA DVD drive hoping that this would work)
    -I followed another post that lets me set the CD drive as a SCSI device and that works, but then the post goes on to show that you can't BOOT from that device.
    -It says I can click on the Connect CD button, but the VM starts immediately to a PXE boot.
    -During the PXE boot, it allows me to connect to an ISO on my client, but as soon as I hit to reboot button, it tells me it's auto-disconnected the ISO.
    Aargh! Got the feeling this is an easy one but I'm stuck.

  • #2
    Re: ESXi newb can't get to a CD drive, host or client

    It is a best practice to use .ISOs for software/OS installations (particularly from a performance standpoint), however you may use CDROM and DVD if you wish.

    You don't want to load the CD or DVD into the host. You'll want to pop it into your client drive where you are running the Virtual Infrastructure Client, then follow screenshots 1 and 2 to attach the physical CD/DVD or .ISO.

    Additionally, you can follow screens 3 and 4 to force the virtual machine boot order (at POST) by hitting ESCAPE and then choosing the boot order. Boot order isn't much of an issue when there is no bootable OS on the hard drive, but once there is, it will no longer boot from the virtual CD unless you force it to.

    Jas
    Attached Files
    VCDX3 #34, VCDX4, VCDX5, VCAP4-DCA #14, VCAP4-DCD #35, VCAP5-DCD, VCPx4, vEXPERTx4, MCSEx3, MCSAx2, MCP, CCAx2, A+
    boche.net - VMware Virtualization Evangelist
    My advice has no warranties. Follow at your own risk.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: ESXi newb can't get to a CD drive, host or client

      Additionally, you can follow screens 3 and 4 to force the virtual machine boot order (at POST) by hitting ESCAPE and then choosing the boot order.
      Thanks jasonboche for your advice (and great screenshots). I'd LOVE to boot from ISO's on my client machine.
      However, the problem I have is that I cannot get to the BIOS post screen fast enough to hit the ESC key. It flashes by in literally a small fraction of a second and goes into PXE boot mode.
      I tried going to Edit Settings, Options tab, Advanced, Boot options and setting the Power-on boot delay and setting it to 200 or so. All that does is give me a black (pre-POST) screen. I also used that same dialog box to set the Force BIOS Setup and changed the Boot tab to place CD boot to first. No diff.
      Sounds like a silly issue, but it's a show stopper for installing a guest OS right now.
      Attached Files

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: ESXi newb can't get to a CD drive, host or client

        Originally posted by redboot View Post
        Thanks jasonboche for your advice (and great screenshots). I'd LOVE to boot from ISO's on my client machine.
        However, the problem I have is that I cannot get to the BIOS post screen fast enough to hit the ESC key. It flashes by in literally a small fraction of a second and goes into PXE boot mode.
        I tried going to Edit Settings, Options tab, Advanced, Boot options and setting the Power-on boot delay and setting it to 200 or so. All that does is give me a black (pre-POST) screen. I also used that same dialog box to set the Force BIOS Setup and changed the Boot tab to place CD boot to first. No diff.
        Sounds like a silly issue, but it's a show stopper for installing a guest OS right now.
        I am aware of the issue you speak of. Just as an FYI, adding a 200ms delay into the boot order isn't adding much. You'd want to increase that number outrageously to see any sort of significant delay.

        One way around it is to let it do its thing and try to boot into pxe mode. While it's doing that, give it the 3 finger salute by hitting CTRL + ALT + INS - that will warm boot it showing you the POST again at which time you can hit the ESC key to choose your immediate boot device.

        Another alternative is when you get into the BIOS, force the boot order to CDROM first.

        Either way should get you booting from your CDROM or .ISO.

        By the way, here's a little trivia for ya. The first time a VM is created and booted, it's primary boot device is the CDROM drive. First boot only.

        After the first boot, VMware automatically changes the boot order in the BIOS to hard drive first from that point forward.

        Jas
        VCDX3 #34, VCDX4, VCDX5, VCAP4-DCA #14, VCAP4-DCD #35, VCAP5-DCD, VCPx4, vEXPERTx4, MCSEx3, MCSAx2, MCP, CCAx2, A+
        boche.net - VMware Virtualization Evangelist
        My advice has no warranties. Follow at your own risk.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: ESXi newb can't get to a CD drive, host or client

          Success!
          I finally got it using your suggestions, though it's still involves keyboard gymnastics. I didn't mention I'm using a Macbook running XP under VMWare Fusion. So entering a Ctrl-Alt-Ins is not an option. What did work was to up the boot delay to a full second (1000 ms) to view the console with the tab instead of the console in a separate window which I had been using. Then, I had to click in the dead center of the window and press Esc once (pressing it more than once threw me out of the boot menu I think.) Then, after getting the boot menu, I'd attach an ISO and away it'd go! I've got two VMs built now.
          Whew! I don't know why the manual details many parts about getting ESXi up and going, but is totally mute on this process.
          Thanks again Jason!
          Last edited by redboot; 11th August 2008, 13:26. Reason: spelling

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: ESXi newb can't get to a CD drive, host or client

            jasonboche thank you for the help on this, the single sentence where you explained the you want to put the CD into the machine running VI client made a world of difference. I still have an ISO of W2K3 server so I used that, this is very slick. I have used VMware Server running on top of W2K3 but never ESX before so the thought process is a little different.

            One question I had is…Is it possible to manage the datastore files? I ask because while I was banging my head against the wall trying to figure out why this didn’t work I created another VM following the typical install options. The VM I have working is named VM-SERVER-1. The one was added by ESXi not me. How can I delete the old VM? I just clicked “remove from inventory” so I think it is still eating up disk space.

            Thank you again.

            Jason

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: ESXi newb can't get to a CD drive, host or client

              Originally posted by jasong View Post
              One question I had is…Is it possible to manage the datastore files? I ask because while I was banging my head against the wall trying to figure out why this didn’t work I created another VM following the typical install options. The VM I have working is named VM-SERVER-1. The one was added by ESXi not me. How can I delete the old VM?
              Are you using the Virtual Infrastructure Client (VIC) to manage your server? If not, access your ESX host server web page at https://servernamefqdn, download and install the VIC. See screenshots for guidance.

              Originally posted by jasong View Post
              I just clicked “remove from inventory” so I think it is still eating up disk space.
              Yes, it is. You'll need to browse the datastore and manually nuke it, -=or=-, you can re-add the VM back into inventory, then right click the VM in inventory and choose "Delete from Disk"

              Glad to be of help.

              Jas
              Attached Files
              VCDX3 #34, VCDX4, VCDX5, VCAP4-DCA #14, VCAP4-DCD #35, VCAP5-DCD, VCPx4, vEXPERTx4, MCSEx3, MCSAx2, MCP, CCAx2, A+
              boche.net - VMware Virtualization Evangelist
              My advice has no warranties. Follow at your own risk.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: ESXi newb can't get to a CD drive, host or client

                I am using the VIC but I dont see an option for Datastores.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: ESXi newb can't get to a CD drive, host or client

                  Note to self: I really need to take a look at ESXi to see the subtle differences between it and ESX.
                  VCDX3 #34, VCDX4, VCDX5, VCAP4-DCA #14, VCAP4-DCD #35, VCAP5-DCD, VCPx4, vEXPERTx4, MCSEx3, MCSAx2, MCP, CCAx2, A+
                  boche.net - VMware Virtualization Evangelist
                  My advice has no warranties. Follow at your own risk.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: ESXi newb can't get to a CD drive, host or client

                    Originally posted by jasong View Post
                    I am using the VIC but I dont see an option for Datastores.
                    I've installed ESXi, connected the new host to VirtualCenter, and the option is right where I expected it to be.
                    Attached Files
                    VCDX3 #34, VCDX4, VCDX5, VCAP4-DCA #14, VCAP4-DCD #35, VCAP5-DCD, VCPx4, vEXPERTx4, MCSEx3, MCSAx2, MCP, CCAx2, A+
                    boche.net - VMware Virtualization Evangelist
                    My advice has no warranties. Follow at your own risk.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: ESXi newb can't get to a CD drive, host or client

                      One note regarding the BIOS screen not being accessible due how fast POST passes. If you shutdown your VM, go into the "settings", then into the "options", select "boot options", on the right side you will see a checkbox that states: "Force BIOS Setup. The next time the VM boots, force entry into the BIOS setup screen."

                      I verfied this option is available on ESXi. I have had to use it on ESX to change the BIOS startup options to CDROM as the boot menu ESC hotkey goes past too fast. We use IBM servers which the CDROM drive is not available due to a bug in 3.5 update 1 but we have only tried to use it once. Create an ISO storage folder on a shared storage location such as a cheaper NAS device and share it out via NFS; normally people don't want to use their Fibre Channel storage for ISO files. Another alternative is to setup 2003 Server R2 edition, install the Unix NFS from Add/Remove programs and export an NFS share from there; the benefit to this is that you can access the ISO files from any other Windows machine as well. Another alternative is a Linux box with NFS /etc/exports for VMware Datastore and then use Samba if your Windows servers need access to the ISO files as well.

                      Hope this helps some of you who are still working on deploying templates with fresh installations. Remember that after your first Windows install, before joining to the domain, you can configure the server, place the SysInternals NEWSID.EXE file on the admin desktop and shutdown the machine. You can then use the Linux CLI to copy this folder to generate new clones (if you don't have Virtual Center). After booting the copied server, start the VM, choose to "create" a new UUID and then after logging into the server, run newsid.exe and choose to rename the server. You can periodically start the template and apply Microsoft Updates.

                      To copy the clone:
                      cd /vmfs/volumes/<volname>/
                      cp -R templatename newservername
                      cd newservername
                      nano file.vmx

                      change any needed fully qualified paths to disk files. I prefer to change these in the template to be "relative" as /full/path/to/file is not necessary, simply type the name of the disk file without the path and the working directory is automatically used.

                      Comment

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