Deploying ESX3.5 using EDA v0.85 inside VMware Workstation 6.5

This article is written by guest writer: Simon Long.

VMware Workstation is becoming a very good friend of mine since I installed it a few months ago, it makes testing soo much easier and quicker which pleases my boss as I’m not installing and uninstalling software on Production VM’s.

My interest in deploying ESX using EDA (ESX Deployment Application) came about when I received a new project which was to create a new ESX cluster with 6 hosts. I know 6 hosts isn’t a lot but I wasn’t sure whether it would have been quicker for me to manually install the ESX hosts one by one or to setup a scripted install which would install them all automatically for me.

If any of you listen to the VMware Communities Roundtable Podcasts you may remember a discussion that was had in Episode #32 about “How many ESX Servers do you have to install before automation is really worth it?” The discussion was inconclusive so I decided that I was going to install my new host manually, but as part of my own development I download EDA to see what functionality was on offer.

This is not a step-by-step guide; it just provides you with the settings I used and the solutions to problems i found when setting up my Test deployment environment.

Installing EDA on a Workstation VM

When creating my EDA VM I used the Following settings.

  1. Create a Virtual Machine, Custom
  2. WS 6.5 Compatibility
  3. Linux OS, Ubuntu
  4. Number of processors: 1
  5. Memory: 1024
  6. Host-Only Networking (Used so the DHCP on EDA wouldn’t advertise on my Production network)
  7. LSI Logic
  8. Use an existing virtual disk
  9. Browse to your downloaded EDA .VMDK (Ubuntu.vmdk) file
  10. Keep Existing Format
  11. Customise hardware, remove: soundcard, USB, floppy

When your configuration is complete Power On the VM. Once EDA is running you will be given an IP address to which you can point your browser to begin your ESX installation configuration.

I followed this Quick Setup Guide on how to configure my EDA.

There were a couple of problems I came across when testing, causing the installation of ESX to fail. Read carefully through the information given below to make sure you don’t suffer from the same issues.

When changing your “General ESX host settings” make sure “/dev/sda” is selected otherwise you will receive and error on your ESX server during install.


Towards the end of the EDA configuration you will be asked to connect your ESX3.5/i CD or ISO to the VM. This is where I had a problem! When the VM mounts the CD/ISO EDA doesn’t recognise that it’s present and won’t allow you to import the PXE bootfiles.

EDA2.jpg EDA3.jpg

And without these imported files EDA will not deploy ESX.

These are the following steps I took to fix this issue.

  1. Login to the EDA console (default user/pass = root/root)
  2. cd /var/www
  3. rm esx
  4. mkdir esx
  5. vi /etc/fstab
  6. Edit this file to look like this.


  1. Save and close
  2. mount -a (Make sure your ISO or CDROM is connected)
  3. Check to make sure you see this information.


Your ESX CD/ISO should now be mounted and recognised by EDA. You can check this by refreshing the EDA Configuration webpage and making sure the “CD not mounted” alert disappears.


Now you can finish off following the Quick Setup Guide to complete your ESX installation configuration.

The next step is creating the VM for your ESX host.

Configuring a VMware Workstation VM to run ESX

Installing ESX on a VMware Workstation has been covered on many different blogs, when I was setting this up I used Duncan Epping’s Yellow-Bricks Blog article which seemed to work a treat. I have made a few changes from Duncan’s list for my own configuration and I have decided to include all the settings in this article to save people having to jump from page to page.

Here are the steps and settings I used.

  1. Create a Virtual Machine, Custom
  2. WS 6.5 Compatibility
  3. Linux OS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5
  4. Number of processors: 2
  5. Memory: 1024
  6. Host-Only Networking
  7. LSI Logic,
  8. New disc, SCSI
  9. 30GB, pre-allocated, single file
  10. Customise hardware, remove: soundcard, USB, floppy –  Set execution mode to:  IntelVT-x  — Customise hardware, add: 5 x Network Adapter’s (Host-Only Networking)
  11. Edit .vmx and add the following

ethernet0.virtualDev = “e1000”

ethernet1.virtualDev = “e1000”

ethernet2.virtualDev = “e1000”

ethernet3.virtualDev = “e1000”

ethernet4.virtualDev = “e1000”

ethernet5.virtualDev = “e1000”

monitor_control.restrict_backdoor = “true”

Now both your ESX and EDA VM’s are ready to roll!!

Boot your ESX VM making sure it boots from a Network Adapter, It will search for the PXE Boot server which is part of EDA. Once found you will be presented with the EDA deployment screen. Select which Host you want to install, ESX will now be deployed automatically for you.


Simon (VCP)  is a Senior Systems Specialist of a major finance house you can follow him on twitter : , , , , ,
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