Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Installing VMware ESXi 4 on Intel Atom D945GCLF2 using USB Flash drive

Unfortunately, trying to install VMWare ESXi 4 on Intel Atom D945GCLF2 using USB Flash drive FAILS :( :( :(

You can get trial version of ESXi 4 on VMWare website. This is good for 60 days. You can extract the downloaded ISO image and extract a boot image from it. This boot image can be directly flashed to a USB pen drive (larger than 1GB) and boot off directly without setting up entire stuff.
More info can be found on net for this process.

I am not sure what you would miss if you pop the ISO image on a DVD and boot using it.

You will have to enable USB boot support in BIOS setup and move USB higher up in boot order. Also make sure that USB boot emulation is set to Hard Disk. On Intel D945GCLF2, setting USB boot emulation to AUTO did not work for me.

To my dismay...the boot fails with following two errors...
Failed to load tpm
Failed to load lvmdriver

This had worked on Intel Laptop so I was quiet hopeful that it runs on D945GCLF2, being an Intel motherboard.

Quick googling reveals that the Realtek NIC in Intel Atom motherboards is not supported. The installation error is not specific i.e. "Unsupported Network Adaptor" or something like that...Apparently, the boot code uses NIC MAC address to generate unique identifier for some kind and that code fails.

Temp solution is to install a supported Network adaptor and install. My system cabinet does not have slot to add any card, even though the motherboard supports one PCI slot. This should have been checked while buying soI cant complain now. The Zebronics Chotu cabinet is quiet compact. But this lack of slot makes it bad buy for D945GCLF2 boards. The SMPS provided is also not fully enclosed. The heat generated by SMPS shares is not barred by entering cabinet. This causes the system temperature to rise by few degrees when covered up.

No plans to test ESX further on Atom now :(