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I have used VMware vsphere ESXI server 6 trial with vcenter server and vsphere client 6 on Windows server 2012 R2 locally and I could successfully get them to work but I want to go one step further and try Horizon View 6 too for studying purposes. Horizon View client can be run on a guest OS or through HTML5 based web browsers to access the console but I want to know how to access the hosted guest OS on ESXI server using a thin client or a laptop with the support of PXE, so the guest thin client or laptop will not have an OS installed on them and instead use PXE to boot the guest OS hosted on ESXI server. Is it possible with VMware Vsphere 6 and Horizon view 6? What other options do I have with VMware products to run the guest OS hosted on ESXI server on a client without any OS? Thanks.

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I was trying to do just what you described; boot the client computers over LAN using a PXE and TFTP server that pushes a customized image of Live Ubuntu that has Horizon Client installed. This involves some work, and it tried it in my company's lab, and it worked successfully.

First, I downloaded the Ubuntu Linux 14.04.2 LTS Desktop 64-bit ISO file (14.04.03 is now publicly available) and installed it to a new VM. I then mounted the ISO file, and copied its content (including the mounted squashfs) to a new directory. After that, used "chroot" to get access to the Linux in that new directory, and start the customization.

The customization process was cumbersome, but that might be because I don't use Linux that much, so I'm not used to using its commands. Some of the changes I made was remove LibreOffice, updating FireFox, installing Horizon Client and its prerequisites, removing Ubiquity to bypass the option to install Ubuntu locally, and other changes that I no longer remember now.

After all the customization, I exit the "chrooted" Ubuntu, and compressed the squashfs again, then created a new ISO file.

I then created a new VM and installed Ubuntu Server 14.04 64-bit on it, set up a PXE server and a TFTP server and add the ISO file to the TFTP folder. Then created a new VM, connected to the same virtual switch, set the boot order to boot from network, and it worked. It booted Ubuntu Linux with all the customization.

To tell you the truth, I spend about 8 days working on that, and had a lot of troubles to configure this lab, but as said before, I'm not a Linux guru. Every single step I performed was the result of Google search, and trying what someone wrote on their blog or posted in a forum. Ubuntu wiki is a good place to gain knowledge, but unfortunately, most of the information I encountered there was outdated; they didn't apply to version 14.04.2 LTS. Note that VMware only supports the LTS versions of Ubuntu.

Thanks! Ahmed Atia

  • Thank you, I'm glad your problem got solved, but I just used a live Linux distro instead :) – Stephan Aug 12 '15 at 9:57

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