You would like to setup a VMware Lab but don’t have the budget for a real server? What about using a Desktop like a Dell OptiPlex 9020? “I would”, you say, “but I know that standard Desktops are not supported by VMware and that there are mostly issues with the NIC drivers.” You are right, the NIC and SATA drivers can cause issues on so called ‘White boxes’. But luckily, someone on the wide, wide Internet made already all the hard work and created some great tools/resources to help out.
So, every ‘white box’ is different but I will show you here how to get ESXi (in this case ESXi 5.1.0) running onto the Dell OptiPlex 9020:
1.) Download the ESXi-Customizer
3.) Start the ESXi-Customizer and choose the options like here:
4.) You will get a message that existing drivers will be replaced – this is OK resp. this is what we want:
5.) Check the ESXi-Customizer.log (it’s in the working directory – in my example C:\VMware\Work) if everything went fine.
6.) Burn the ISO ESXi-5.x-Custom.iso (it’s in the working directory – in my example C:\VMware\Work) onto a CD or create a USB Stick with a tool like UNetbootin.