ESXi Whitebox

Wanted to share my success in the installation of ESXi 6.0 onto some generic hardware. This is typically know as an ESXi Whitebox.

I purchased an Asus B85M-G mainboard which has supported onboard sata controllers, however the onboard Realtek driver needs to inserted using the creation of some custom installation media. But it too will work following that process.

To create the custom installation media you will need to use ESXi Customizer which can be found over here. The process was very easy. You’ll also need to grab the net55-r8168 offline bundle which can be found here and the entire process I covered is documented here.

The Asus B85M-G mainboard will give you 6 x sata ports with 2 x pcie x1 slots and an pcie x16 slot. Board can take 4 x DDR3 memory chips for a total of 32GB. Should make a reasonable home ESXi Whitebox for many.

If you need some additional network ports, I noticed in the post here, that some folks suggest you can buy HP NC360T dual network cards and hack them to be used in the pcie x1 slots. I haven’t got one of these yet to attempt it, but I might consider it. As using up those slots and leaving the pcie x16 available for a hardware raid card with battery backup would be ideal.

Below is a screen capture showing the network card as being detected and used by the installation.

20151220-esxi6.0.0-realtek-nic

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