As everyone has probably seen VMware released ESXi on ARM. They happened to write support for the Raspberry PI into the release. So I’m calling it ESXi On Pi. Sounds way cooler. I was hoping that I would be able to run this on my NVIDIA Jetson Nano but the Jetson doesn’t have a UEFI firmware available (NVIDIA if your reading this please make that happen). So i had to buy a Pi 4. I picked up a 8GB model and a 128GB micro SD card. I wish I had read the install guide before hand because the SD card you put the EFI firmware files on for the Pi isn’t usable as a datastore. Really only needed a few MB. Should have bought the smallest one that I could find. The guide (https://flings.vmware.com/esxi-arm-edition) says you need to hook the Pi up to HDMI at some point. I got it to work via just the TTL serial port. I had to set Pi to use the UART as the primary output (https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/configuration/uart.md). It worked find for the EPROM update (the guide says this must be done with an HDMI display) and as well as the ESXi installation and usage. I didn’t have any extra USB disks around that were sizable so I ended up using a SD card from a drone as my datastore. Once I got it up and running and added to vCenter I added the PI to a cluster and then vCenter started trying to deploy the cluster services VMs. This didn’t work since these are x86_64. vCenter kept logging a copy file and delete file from the datastore. So I moved the Pi out of a cluster and left it in a datacenter as a standalone host.
I ended up taking the Pi to another location and setting up a wireguard tunnel between it and my house so that I could manage it via vCenter. I was going to install a Unif controller to manage the access points at the other location but with the VPN tunnel I don’t have to.
Anyways… Its “ESXi on Pi”. Forget that ESXi on Arm thing. Unless of course you have some real ARM hardware.
3 thoughts on “ESXi On Pi”
Does this mean it will work on Nvidia Jetson?
Probably not but if you have one you can try it. Even if you can get esxi to boot you will probably be lacking drivers for all the devices.
Looks like they got it to work. https://blogs.vmware.com/arm/2021/06/15/esxi-arm-fling-1-4-refresh/