Install ESX on your Laptop - I had a Crazy Idea

And so this started today with a Twitter post. If you know it or not I am a big enthusiast of trying to install ESX on all kinds of hardware - especially Whiteboxes that are not on the HCL. I have tested it on a number of HP, Dell and IBM desktops. The great thing about this is - it mostly works, it is completely not supported, but a lot of fun to do. But to lug around with a desktop to present demos, is not always the most convenient thing in the world - to put it mildly.

What-if (or as you would say it in Powershell -whatif) you could create a system, that has a full demonstration environment of multiple VM's - and all of this on your LAPTOP!

So I looked around on the Web and found a few mentions of people who have done this. What kind of problems they ran into and what was possible or not. The consensus is to Install a Base OS, Workstation on top of that, ESX as a VM, and then VM's onto that ESX VM. The consensus about this as well was "IT IS AS SLOW AS A TORTISE!". ESX on bare metal should be much much faster,

So my adventure started with this:

  1. Lenovo T400 Laptop 267812G - Intel Core2 Duo T9400 2.53GHz with 2GB RAM
  2. ESX4i build 171294

The laptop:


Started out in the BIOS, enabled Intel VT


SATA was set as AHCI


And off we go

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Install Screen


Recognizes the Disk


And 4 minutes later


All hardware detected out of the box - Network card included

Next was to connect to the laptop with the VI client.

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Now all I have to do is find out why I cannot power on a machine. Every time I started a VM the laptop froze - completely! Hard reboot and the machine came back up OK but the VM was no longer registered.

Have to look into that further

Hope you enjoyed the ride.