While studying for my MCSA 2016, i was reading a chapter about deploying a Nano server 2016. In this blog I will describe how you can deploy a Nano server on ESXi.
With other versions of Windows Server standard or datacenter, you can install the core or desktop ui version while booting/mounting the iso.
Because Nano server is smaller than the core Version, it’s only possible to deploy a Nano server while configuring a vhdx or vhd file.
Create a VHDX
- Copy the folder “NanoServerImageGenerator” from the 2016 Iso to a local folder ( c:\temp\ )
- Start Powershell as an administrator, change the directory to the local folder ( c:\temp\ NanoServerImageGenerator )
- PS: Import-Module .\NanoServerImageGenerator -Verbose
- Mount the Server 2016 Iso
New-NanoServerImage -Edition Standard -DeploymentType Guest -MediaPath <path to root of media> -BasePath .\Base -TargetPath .\NanoServerVM\NanoServerVM.vhd -ComputerName <computer name>
-Edition = “standard”
-MediaPath = “Root directory of the server 2016 iso”
-Targetpath = “TargetPath for the output file (.vhd or .vhdx )
#Additional, you can add drivers with the -DriversPath command#
In my test lab the following drivers are included ( C:\temp\nano\Drivers\ ) :
PS C:\Temp\NanoServerImageGenerator> New-NanoServerImage -Edition Standard -DeploymentType Host -MediaPath C:\temp\Server2016\Core_and_DataCtr_Core_2016_64Bit\ -TargetPath C:\temp\Nano\file\NanoServer5.vhdx -ComputerName TSTNano5 -DriverPath C:\temp\nano\Drivers\
Set the administrator password;
Done, The file is created with the correct file format
Create a new VM with the following options;
- Guest OS “Windows server 2016”
- Change the SCSI controller to VMware Paravirtual ( pvscsi )
- Delete the disk
- Change the boot firmware to EFI
After creating the vhdx file and vm, you must convert the vhdx file to a VMDK file, For converting this format there are several tools;
- StartWind v2v Converter ( https://www.starwindsoftware.com/converter)
- WinImage ( 30 days free trail “http://www.winimage.com/download.htm” )
At my home lab I used StartWind v2v Converter, because it is a free tool and straight forward with a lot of options. One of the option is to connect directly to the ESXi host, and convert and upload the vhdx file.
Source Image Location;
- Local File
- VMware ESXi Server
- Microsoft Hyper-V Server
In my home lab, I used the local file option as my source image location
- Select VMware direct conversion to ESXi
- ESXi credentials
- Select the datastore and upload the file
After converting the vhdx, you must manually add the vmdk to the VM and increase the size of the disk.