Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

Can you run ESX as a VM under ESX?


Crazy, yeah – but hey you’ve got to try it, prompted by a question from Prasad – can you run ESX in a VM under ESX?

In the interest of science I just tried this, I used VM Convertor to convert my working ESX under workstation image as-is to my ESX box (hoping it would keep the custom settings intact, and saving me from having to rebuild it)

good news, the VM converter did it’s thing and it does start up on the ESX box.

..bad news, it doesn’t get past  this screen as far as I can tell…it’s sat there for a good 20mins so I don’t think its going to get much further.


Also tried to import my ESX 3i image to see if that would work, but VM Convertor wouldn’t import it for some reason, so will have to try a clean install on that.


Looks like some kind of error when it’s trying to determine what version it is..

[2008-06-13 00:23:29.164 ‘P2V’ 5748 error] [task,295] Task failed: P2VError UNKNOWN_METHOD_FAULT(sysimage.fault.OsVersionNotFound)
[2008-06-13 00:23:29.164 ‘P2V’ 5748 verbose] [task,339] Transition from InProgress to Failure requested
[2008-06-13 00:23:29.164 ‘P2V’ 5748 verbose] [task,388] Transition succeeded

Ah well, anyone know how to get this going/if it’s possible?

7 responses to “Can you run ESX as a VM under ESX?

  1. Prasad June 18, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Hi, thanks! This is exactly the place I got to 🙂

  2. Stefano June 28, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Hi guys, I did it. I’m able to start a virtual esx 3.5 which runs into a phisical esx 3.5. The boot is very very slow but at the end I can see the “To manage this esx server use any browser to open the url:”. However I couldn’t establish any connection to the ip address shown and so I can’t manage the ESX server.

  3. Prasad July 20, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    Hey Stefano, Think you need to enable Promiscuous mode on your vSwitch0 and VM Network…. Just go to your Base ESX configuration using VC in the network section, select properties, and there is a way to enable Promiscuous mode.

    And Stefano, is there *any* special configuration you have made to your vmx file as the ESX on Workstation guys? Because I succeeded, without any.

  4. Stefano July 29, 2008 at 8:45 am

    I didn’t change the configuration file. In the configuration wizard I set OS “other-64bit” and for the nic I choose the e1000.
    I’ll try to enable the promiscuous mode. Thanks.

  5. ak September 24, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Stefano, was either of your machines actually 64 bit, or did you just set that?

  6. Clive August 6, 2009 at 4:14 am

    Was anyone able to resolve the slow performance issues when running ESX has a VM ?

  7. -sheepchen May 9, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    on windows systems yes.. run it in VMWare Player 3.1_256557 (all other versions and revisions are extreamly slow and crashes at end of booting). That was vor my PC. On my laptop ESX-Server runs in every VMWare Player.

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