ESXi public template

VMware ESXi is a hypervisor that can create and host virtual machines. Because ESXi contains its own kernel, it runs directly on physical or virtual hardware without any operating system. By running ESXi on Skytap VMs, you can you test applications that leverage ESXi, or conduct training sessions for creating VMs on ESXi.

Skytap offers a public template that supports ESXi 5.1. The template also contains a Windows 7 VM with vSphere, the VMware management platform that manages ESXi. The vSphere template is pre-licensed, but you must obtain a free license for ESXi before you can create guest VMs.


Getting started with the ESXi public template

Step 1: Create an environment

  1. Create an environment from the ESXi 5.1 template.
  2. Once the environment is created, run both machines in this environment.

Step 2: Start the vSphere client

  1. Access the Windows 7 vSphere VM.

    For better performance and easier navigation, use SmartRDP or direct RDP to connect to the vSphere VM.

  2. If you have a Windows 7 license key, enter it when the VM starts. If you don’t have a license key, skip the license key entry to continue in trial mode.
  3. Start the VMware vSphere Client from the desktop.
  4. At the login page, enter the login credentials for the ESXi server. These are listed on the Credentials tab of the VM Settings page, accessible when you click credentials on the VM tile.

    Though you’re logging in to the vSphere client, you’re actually connecting to ESXi server. The server credentials are the credentials you need.

  5. After you connect, two notifications display. The first warns of a missing SSL certificate. Ignore this notification or install the certificate to prevent the message from displaying again. The second message notifies you that ESXi is unlicensed. You can either enter a license key (see Step 3: (Optional) License ESXi below) or ignore the warning and start a 60-day trial.

Step 3: (Optional) License ESXi

The ESXi VM is not licensed. ESXi VM can run for 60 days without a license, or you can acquire a free license from VMware.

To acquire a license

  1. Navigate to the VMware Product Evaluation Center page for ESX 5.1, here.
  2. Sign in to your VMware account (create a free account if you don’t already have one) and accept the VMware License Agreement. VMware sends an activation email.
  3. In the activation email, click Activate. The VMware Download Center displays in a browser. This page contains download links and license keys.

To add the ESXi license to vSphere

  1. Access the Windows 7 vSphere VM.
  2. Start the VMware vSphere Client from the desktop.
  3. In vSphere, double-click the Inventory icon, and then select the server ( from the left-hand pane. The control panel for the server displays.
  4. From the main window, select the Configuration tab, and then click Licensed Features in the Software pane.
  5. In the Licensed Features page, click Edit in the upper-right corner of the main window. Select Assign a new license key to this host, and then click Enter Key. Type your license key, and then click OK.

    The ESXi server is now licensed.

Step 4: Use the guest VMs hosted on ESXi

  1. Access the Windows 7 vSphere VM.
  2. Start the VMware vSphere Client from the desktop.
  3. In vSphere, double-click the Inventory icon, and then select the server ( from the left-hand pane. The control panel for the server displays and the left-hand pane displays two guest VMs already running on the ESXi server (a Windows 7 VM and an Ubuntu VM).
  4. Select one or both of these VMs and click the run button (the green arrow) above the list to start up the VMs. The Linux VM requires credentials; these are root/82G85mhnZ.
  5. Once you have booted these two VMs, you can using them as you would any other VM. Try navigating the desktop or running applications. However, these VMs do not have functioning networks. For information on how to set up networking for guest VMs, see Step 5: (Optional) Enable guest VM networking below.

Step 5: (Optional) Enable guest VM networking

To enable networking on the guest VMs, your Skytap account needs to have access to the promiscuous mode advanced networking feature. To find out if you have access to this feature, navigate to the VM settings page on the environment, select the ESXi server, and click Edit Network Adapter. If promiscuous mode is enabled, you see a promiscuous mode field next to a drop-down menu.

Choose enabled from this menu to turn on promiscuous mode for the ESXi server, which allows the networks in this to communicate with outside networks.

If you do not see the promiscuous mode field, you’ll need to contact to enable it for your account.

Once you’ve enabled promiscuous mode for the environment, perform the following steps:

  1. Run your environment, access the vSphere VM, and open up vSphere client.
  2. Click Inventory and select the ESX server ( from the left-hand pane. The main pane displays information about the ESX server.
  3. Within this window, click Environment, then click Networking, located in the Hardware box in the upper-right hand corner of the main window.
  4. This page displays information about the virtual switch, which is connected to the environment network adapter (vmnic0). Click Properties for the virtual switch, located right above the icon of vmnic0. This opens a new window that displays the vSwitch settings.
  5. There is a Promiscuous Mode field under the Default Policies section on the right side of this window. This currently reads Reject. Click Edit in the bottom-right of this window, and navigate to the Security tab. Change the Promiscuous Mode setting from Reject to Accept, then click OK.

Promiscuous mode is now enabled on both the environment and on the ESXi vSwitch. However, your guest VM networks still don’t function, because the Skytap automatic DHCP server is unable to connect with the guest VMs. To finalize this networking process, you must assign static IP addresses to the guest VMs from within the guest OS. This process varies, depending on the OS; for instructions, consult the operating system documentation.

Vendor documentation: ESXi and vSphere guides

Support – If you experience any issues with ESXi or vSphere client, contact VMware support from their support page.

Licensing – Once licensed, ESXi supports up to 2 physical CPUs, up to 32 GB of memory, and up to 8-way virtual SMP.