WORKING: ESXi on HP Pavilion p6710f
I am running ESXi 4.1 on an HP Pavilion p6710f that I recently purchased. The specs for this machine are located here:http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/docu ... 49513#N447
This desktop comes with a quad-core 64-bit AMD chip, 4GB RAM and 1TB hard drive. I bought from Staples it for $425 including tax. I added 8GB more RAM (2x4GB Kingston ValueRam for $85) for a total of 12GB RAM. I also added an intel gigabit ct desktop NIC ($40 shipped).
Just for giggles I did try using the onboard LAN and the installation failed as expected. After I installed the intel NIC it worked with no problem. I disabled the onboard NIC in the BIOS.
I installed ESXi 4.1 to a USB thumb drive. I left the Windows 7 partition on the disk so I essentially have a dual-boot configuration. When I want to boot ESXi I insert the USB drive and select the option to boot from USB during the BIOS startup. When I want to boot Windows, I just power up the computer and it boots off the hard drive into Windows.
I did shrink down the Windows partition to about 100GB. There was a recovery partition on the end of the disk, which I deleted after creating recovery DVD's from it.
When I went to create my datastore in ESXi, it wanted to take over the whole disk and delete the Windows partition. I enabled the SSH functionality of ESXi to obtain a command-line, and then used the fdisk command to create a vmfs partition without clobbering the Windows partition. Then I used vmkfstools command to create the vmfs filesystem. The following links provided me the direction I needed for that:http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/micros ... Id=1009829http://blog.psych0tik.net/?p=173
After doing that the vsphere GUI allowed me to have my datastore on just the vmfs partition instead of the whole disk.
So far it seems to be working OK as far as I can tell. I have created a 64-bit Red Hat Enterprise Linux VM and installed Oracle 11g on it. Oracle seems to be running okay.
This is my first experience installing ESXi and I have to say I'm pretty amazed at how well it went. I'm a VMWare newbie and have stepped on several landmines along the way, but every time I was able to google it and figure out the issue. Resources like this vm-help.com website are what made it happen for me, so that's why I wanted to give back by posting this information. Hopefully it will be useful to somebody.