Virtualize ESX inside VMware Workstation

If you want to experiment with ESX(i) on your home computer and have VMware Workstation 6.5, it’s pretty easy to do. Two key steps are needed in order to be successful.

1. When creating a new VM inside Workstation for ESX(i), chose Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 64-bit.

2. After you have created your new VM in which ESX(i) will live, two additions are needed to the associated VMX file:

monitor.virtual_exec = hardware
monitor_control.restrict_backdoor = TRUE

After you make these changes, install ESX(i) from the VMware installable media. Please note you can only power on 32-bit guest VMs inside of ESX(i), since VMware Workstation 6 does not virtualize the CPU’s virtual extensions. Depending on what you want to do inside ESX(i), the inability to run 64-bit VMs could be a show stopper. Of course you can run 64-bit VMs in a Workstation VM, but that’s not the same environment as ESX(i).

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