I keep getting an error message when trying to setup ESXi 5 on VMware workstation. The ESXi installer boots up and there is a progress bar at the top. When this bar 'fills up' the installer wants to start the kernel but it freezes and VMware workstation displays the error message: "The CPU has been disabled by the guest operating system. You will need to power off or reset the virtual machine at this point."

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    Why would you want to do this? Stacking virtualization layers is rarely a good idea. – EEAA Oct 11 '11 at 1:53
  • @ErikA - see my comment on ewwhite's answer – Mark Henderson Oct 11 '11 at 2:33
  • @MarkHenderson Yes, I'm aware of the use case for testing, should have been more clear that that's really the only instance where something like this should be considered. – EEAA Oct 11 '11 at 2:40
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    Buy a cheap compatible system off ebay. You will save yourself so much time and pain. – user9517 Oct 11 '11 at 7:20

Yes you can do this. This have been done and tested.

You just need a 64-bit CPU and also VT-x supported.

After this, you can install VMware Workstation 8 and then create a vSphere 5 inside.

Take a look at this article, where you can do this, and what changes you need to do in your VMware Workstation or VM that will hold that ESXi.


Hope this can help you

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Do it for your tests.

That is a really intersting question. Teorically you cannot do this, you cannot install VMWare EsXI or Hyper-V in a Virtual Machine. This is because they are hypervisor, bare metal sofware, that means, virtualization software that runs directly on the hardward without a host OS, as you can imagine it has lots of performance advantages.

However looks like in VMWare are really genius working and now you can do it, Since VMWare Worksation 8. (in earlies versions is not possible).

Hyper-V on VMWare 8

This is called Nested VMS. An impressive thing is even if your host computer dont support hardware assisted virtualization can run hypervisor on a Virtual Machine.

There is available this documment at the VMware Website that speaks about it and how to use it: Running Nested VMs.

Particulary for casa of running EsXI you will see details at the document, but for start and run the virtual Machine you will need to change the virtual machine processor settings and enable the checkbox "Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI."

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    Contrary to your post, nesting VMware ESX/ESXi inside Workstation has been possible since Workstation 7 and ESXi 4. The major limitation is that ESXi-hosted VMs can only run using Binary Translation mode. This means that virtual machines running inside ESXi can only be 32-bit, unless you're one of the fortunate souls who has a 64-bit CPU capable of operating in Ring 1/2 in long mode. – jgoldschrafe Oct 12 '11 at 18:57
  • @jgoldschrafe Correction, ESX/ESXi4 had 64-bit limitation. ESXi5 has no such limation. – JamesBarnett Nov 28 '11 at 3:01
  • @JamesBarnett, do you have documentation handy on that? Based on my understanding that Rings 1 and 2 aren't implemented in 64-bit long mode on most x86_64 CPUs, I don't see how that's even possible. – jgoldschrafe Nov 29 '11 at 1:34
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    Answering my own question: veeam.com/blog/… – jgoldschrafe Nov 29 '11 at 1:41

Don't do it. Why would you want to do this other than experimentation?

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  • This may be your 10k answer. :) – EEAA Oct 11 '11 at 2:10
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    Maybe experimentation is exactly what the op wants it for? Before we splurged $100,000 on a small ESXi cluster, this is exactly what I did - I made a private cluster of VMs in VMWare Workstation and then installed ESXi inside them, and then installed vSphere inside the virtualised ESXi cluster. It was slow (but not as slow as you might think), but as a proof of concept to get funding it worked brilliantly. – Mark Henderson Oct 11 '11 at 2:33
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    Exactly! Plus I can practice if I want to get certified. – cmaduro Oct 11 '11 at 3:30
  • @ErikA it is! . – Ward - Reinstate Monica Oct 11 '11 at 3:57
  • Congrats, @ewwhite! – EEAA Oct 11 '11 at 4:43

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