Creating a Ubuntu 18.04 VM on VMware vSphere ESXi 6.7

This guide shows you how to create a Ubuntu VM on an ESXi host using the HTML5 client without vCenter Server.

Introduction

The following steps have been tested on an ESXi 6.7 host running on a MacBook Pro with VMware Fusion.

Download the Ubuntu Server ISO

The first thing we need to do is download the Ubuntu Server 18.04 ISO to your local machine and then in the next steps, we will upload it to the ESXi datastore.

Upload the Ubuntu Server ISO to the ESXi datastore

Enter the IP address of your ESXi host into a web browser and then login using your username and password.

Screenshot of ESXi 6.7 login screen

Expand the Storage tree view on the left pane and then click on the datastore you want to upload the ISO to.

Screenshot of ESXi 6.7

Click on Datastore browser.

Screenshot of ESXi 6.7

  1. Click Upload.
  2. Select the Ubuntu Server ISO on your local machine.
  3. Click Open.

Screenshot of ESXi 6.7

Wait for the ISO image to finish uploading then click Close.

Screenshot of ESXi 6.7

With the ISO now on the ESXi host, we are ready to create the Ubuntu virtual machine.

Creating the Ubuntu VM

Click Host and then Create/Register VM.

Screenshot of ESXi 6.7 summary

The new virtual machine wizard will open.

  1. Click on Create a new virtual machine.
  2. Then click Next.

Screenshot of ESXi 6.7 new VM wizard - step 1

  1. Give the virtual machine a name.
  2. Select Linux for the Guest OS family.
  3. Select Ubuntu Linux (64-bit) for the Guest OS version.
  4. Click Next.

Screenshot of ESXi 6.7 new VM wizard - step 2

Select the datastore to store the VM on and then click Next.

Screenshot of ESXi 6.7 new VM wizard - step 3

Scroll down to CD/DVD Drive 1, select Datastore ISO file then click Browse…

Screenshot of ESXi 6.7 new VM wizard - step 4

Navigate to the Ubuntu ISO that was uploaded previously, click on it and then click Select.

Screenshot of ESXi 6.7 new VM wizard - step 5

Click Finish to create the Ubuntu virtual machine.

Screenshot of ESXi 6.7 new VM wizard - step 6

We are now ready to install the Ubuntu operating system on this virtual machine.

Install the operating system

Now that we’ve create the Ubuntu VM, we are now ready to install the operating system on the virtual hardware.

  1. Click on Virtual Machines.
  2. Click on the name of the Ubuntu virtual machine we just created.

Screenshot of installing Ubuntu on esxi VM - step 1

Click Power on.

Screenshot of installing Ubuntu on esxi VM - step 2

Click Console then Open console in new tab.

Screenshot of installing Ubuntu on esxi VM - step 3

You should now see the Ubuntu installer.

Screenshot of installing Ubuntu on esxi VM - step 4

Run through the installation steps as you would on any other hardware. Once finished, we need to disconnect the ISO and install VMware tools.

Disconnect the Ubuntu ISO

You will want to disconnect the ISO from the virtual machine so that you don’t get any errors when trying to migrate the VM using VMotion in the future.

Right click on the virtual machine and then click Edit settings. Select Host device for the CD/DVD Drive 1 and then click Save.

Screenshot ESXi VM hardware

VMware tools

VMware tools should already be installed with Ubuntu 18.04. If not, you can install it with the following command:

sudo apt-get install open-vm-tools -y

Final thoughts

Creating a virtual machine on VMware vSphere ESXi is really easy, however, as you can see from the instructions in this tutorial, it’s a manual process that would be much better automated.

With vCenter you can convert VMs into templates and then use automation tools like Ansible to deploy new VMs.