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Creating a custom ESXi ISO image for your home lab NUC (NUC7i7BNH) environment


Working on my home lab I ran into an issue with the Intel NUCs I used. The standard ISO of ESXi 6.5 does not recognize the NICs in the NUCs. This is not surprising but still irritating. This short blog is about how to create a custom build in a few minutes to get you going.

The process is rather simple but there is always debate on which tools to use. I came across the customizer script, downloaded it from v-front.de. The script is rather simple to use, either connect to an online repository or set the package directory.

The NUCs I’m using are NUC7i7BNH, Core i7 with 32GB RAM. Pretty good devices for a home lab.

VIB

The reason the NIC is not recognized is that the driver in the image is not working for that NIC. There is an older version that works. The older version is found when downloading the 6.0 to update 3 downloads from the VMware https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/patch#search site. Select ESXi and version 6.0.0. Click on Search and find update-from-esxi6.0-6.0_update03 from the list, dated 24th of February 2017.

Download it, open the zip and find the Net e1000 driver vib inside. extract it and you are almost done.

Script

The script, using this vib you just downloaded is rather simple. The script you download from https://www.v-front.de/p/esxi-customizer-ps.html and run it with the following options. Add the option -pkgDir with the path to the vib file and run the script.

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In the end, you have a standard-customized.iso file in the same folder that you can use to create a bootable USB stick. I used Rufus for that. With that done, ESXi installation was fast. Just thought I show how to do this. Hope this helps some of you.

 


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