Set up: VMware ESXI in VirtualBox

Setting up ESXI under virtualising can be awkward. Here i’ve listed a series of instructions to get the hypervisor up and running under VirtualBox. These setting should be similar in WorkStation, Parallels, Qemu, Fusion etc. For the purpose of this guide i’m going to use Vbox as it’s cross platform and settings should be the same if not similar on any host OS.

Please note running a self contained hypervisor under virtualisation will not have optimum results. It is recommended to run ESXI on dedicated hardware. This guide should only be used to tryout the product.

System Requirements:

  • Dual-core, 64 bit, processor with VT/ AMD-V support
  • 1.5 GB of usable ram
  • 20+ GB free storage

1. Download an install virtual box for here. As of writing this i’m running version 4.1.18

2. Download the vSphere hypervisor trial ISO file from here. You may need to register for a free account if you don’t already have one. I’m running version the latest 5.1 version.

3. Launch VirtualBox & create  new virtual machine.

New VM

Name your VM anything you want. Select ‘Linux’ for your operating system & ‘Ubuntu’ for the version. Press continue..

4. As I understand it vSphere requires at least 1.5 Gigabytes of RAM. Move the slider to represent this and move on.

Select Memory

5. Still in the wizard, create a virtual hard drive appropriate in size to the VM’s you plan on installing within ESXI/vSphere. I’ve selected ‘VHD’ for the drive type. My drive is also Dynamically allocated.

6. Continue the wizard and finnish creating the VM.

7. Before launching, go into the settings for the VM.  Here we are going to remove any parameters that are unnecessary. First disable the shared clipboard under ‘General’, ‘Advanced’.

Disable Shared clipboard

8. Remove ‘Floppy’ from ‘Boot Order’ found under ‘System’, ‘Motherboard’.

Remove floppy

9. Under ‘System’, ‘Processor’, ensure that more than one CPU core & ‘PAE/NX’ is enabled

Processor settings

10. Under ‘Acceleration’ it is essential to have ‘VT -x/ AMD-V’ enabled as these are prerequisites of EXSI/ vSphere.

11. Under ‘Storage’, we need to point the virtual optical drive to the ISO we downloaded earlier.

Select ISO

12. I disabled sound under ‘Audio’ as it’s redundant.

13. Now for the important part. According to others networking can be done through ‘NAT’ or ‘Host-only’ network adapters. However from my testing, I have found that using the ‘Bridged’ connection gives the best results. These settings can be found under ‘Network’, ‘Adapter 1’.


14. To finnish up i’ve also disabled USB support. This can be found under ‘Ports’, ‘USB’.

Thats’s about it. Once you’ve installed the OS and tested it, you can then go into the settings again and start adding items you may need such as multiple virtual hard drives and remote desktop.

Checkout this process in action:


What is ESXI –

Download vSphere –

Download VirtualBox –