My vSphere hardware has long been due an update and I have finally got my hands on an Intel NUC ! Here is my (completely un-supported) parts list:
- Intel Haswell i3-4010U NUC D34010WYH1
- 16GB (8x2GB) Crucial DDR3 Low Voltage SODIMM RAM
- 1 TB Western Digital RED 2.5 Inch 5400 RPM Hard Drive
- Leef Supra 32Gb USB 3 Flash Drive
- Mini HDMI to HDMI Male to Female Adapter
The D34010WYH1 NUC gives me the option of storing virtual machines on a 2.5 inch HDD or SSD inside the NUC (and the 1TB WD Red drive gives me a good amount of local storage to play around with). The RAM is low voltage (1.35v) which is required. The 32 Gb USB 3 flash drive is over-kill (only 4GB is required for vSphere 5.5) but it is very small (and pretty fast too). I needed the HDMI adapter to connect the NUC to my HDTV during vSphere installation.
The installation process is quite straight-forward and you will need the following:
- 4GB (or greater) flash drive
- VMware vSphere ESXi 5.5 .iso from http://www.vmware.com
- ESXi Customizer – http://www.v-front.de/p/esxi-customizer.html
- UNetbootin – http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/
- Intel Driver (net-e1000e-2.3.2.x86_64.vib)
- SATA Controller (sata-xahci-1.10-1.x86_64.vib)
Before installing vSphere we need to create a custom .iso image that includes the two .vib drivers that we downloaded. This is done using ESXi Customizer.
The first time you run ESXi Customizer select the vSphere 5.5 ,iso image and the network driver (net-e1000e-2.3.2.x86_64.vib) to create a customized image.
Run ESXi Customizer again and this time select the customized .iso image and add the sata driver (sata-xahci-1.10-1.x86_64.vib) to create a final customized .iso image.
I chose to burn my customized .iso to CD and install using a USB DVD drive – if you want to use a flash drive to install you will need to use UNetbootin.
In UNetbootin select the Diskimage radio button and then browse to the location of your final custom .iso. Select the flash drive to copy files to and then click the OK button.
In the BIOS of my NUC I disabled the UEFI option in the Boot menu. After that I booted from my USB DVD drive and installed vSphere to a USB 3 flash drive.
[I did test installing from one flash drive to another too and this also worked without any issues].