Flings* Part 2 – VMware Tools for Nested ESXi

Flings* Part 2 – VMware Tools for Nested ESXi

*Okay so technically, Part 1 is no longer a Fling and this one isn’t either but though these flings have flung they still need to be part of your life.  This one especially if you’re a home labber…

So prior to the release of this fling, running ‘nested’ ESXi was very much considered a dark, underground art that achieved almost mythical status- I had several arguments where the other party was adamant that it was not possible to run a version of ESXi as a Guest within ESXi which was obviously not true, however it tended to blow people’s minds ever so slightly.
While the warm glow of smugness would rose-tint the whole nesting experience, running nested ESXi always felt like a hack without the same integration with the hypervisor afforded to other ‘legitimate’ Guest OS’ via VMware Tools.  Nesters wuld lament the lack of IP information in the summary tab and mostly the need to log into the console or SSH to a host to gracefully shut it down

Then along came the Fling, VMware Tools for Nested ESXi brought nesting out of the darkness and filled in some much needed gaps for the adminstrator such as:

  • Reporting IPv4 and IPv6 addresses for the Guest
  • Guest Time Sync
  • Guest OS information
  • Clean shutdown and restart from the Power operations


As with all of the most useful of Flings, the VMware Tools for Nested ESXi fling is now integrated with ESXi from version 6, however for those of you running 5.x or below this is how you can get hold of the VIB, and install it yourself to enjoy all the Nested goodness!

Download the VIB file from the Flings site….

You’ll then need to upload it to a datastore accessible to your nested ESXi host, then via the ever-giving gift of esxcli run the following commands:

Set the host to maintenance mode…
esxcli system maintenanceMode set -e true

Install the VIB (where <datastore> is the datastore you uploaded the VIB to, and don’t panic you can tab-complete the filename!)…
esxcli software vib install -v /vmfs/volumes/<datastore>/esx-tools-for-esxi-9.7.0-0.0.00000.i386.vib -f

Then to complete the reboot, reboot the host…
esxcli system shutdown reboot

You’re all done, your nested host is all tooled up.

Next up in the Fling Showcase, the VMware Guest Console…


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