How to install ESXi nested inside ProxMox VE

Int his post I will show you how you can install an vmware ESX host in Proxmox VE.

The Issue

I need o test a vmware environment so I will install vmware ESX 7.0 as a VM in Proxmox VE 7.2. The problem is that, with wrong selection of virtual devices, vSphere will not be able to see the virtual hard drive, and will not be star the install.

Enable nested virtualization on Proxmox:

First we need to make sure nested virtualization is enabled on PVE host:

cat /sys/module/kvm_intel/parameters/nested

If it returns N, that means it’s disabled:

# Intel
echo "options kvm-intel nested=Y" > /etc/modprobe.d/kvm-intel.conf
# AMD
echo "options kvm-amd nested=1" > /etc/modprobe.d/kvm-amd.conf

Then you need to reenable the kvm kernel module. Fot this you need to stop all the virtual machines on the host or reboot the host after run the commands:

modprobe -r kvm_intel
modprobe kvm_intel
# AMD
modprobe -r kvm_amd
modprobe kvm_amd

Check again:

# Intel
echo "options kvm-intel nested=Y" > /etc/modprobe.d/kvm-intel.conf
# AMD
echo "options kvm-amd nested=1" > /etc/modprobe.d/kvm-amd.conf

Creating the Virtual Machine

This step is quite straightforward: you just need to create the new virtual machine, but you need to pay attention to the options:

  • ‘OS Tab’
    • ‘Type:’ Linux
    • ‘Version:’ 5.x – 2.6 Kernel
  • ‘System Tab’
    • ‘Graphic card:’ Default
    • ‘SCSI Controller:’ VMware PVSCSI
    • ‘BIOS:’ SeaBIOS
    • ‘Machine:’ q35
  • ‘Hard Disk Tab’
    • ‘Bus/Device:’ SATA
    • ‘SSD emulation:’ Check
    • ‘Discard:’ Check
  • ‘CPU Tab’
    • ‘Cores:’ 4
    • ‘Sockets:’ 2
    • ‘Type:’ host
    • ‘Enable NUMA:’ Check if our system supports
  • ‘Memory Tab’
    • ‘Memory (MiB):’ At least 4096 but to run vcenter 16384
    • ‘Ballooning Device:’ Uncheck
  • ‘Network Tab’
    • ‘Model:’ VMware vmxnet3

Start the vSphere VM