Running ESXi 5 on ESXi 4.1? Yes you can!

August 16, 2011 — 6 Comments

If you are wondering if you can run your vSphere 5 lab nested on ESXi 4.1, the answer is yes.

I used Eric Gray’s (@eric_gray) procedure VMware ESX 4 can even virtualize itself to create the VMs. For the guest OS type I tried Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (64-bit) and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (64-bit) and both worked without a glitch.

Here they are running on top of my whitebox, which is running ESXi 4.1 Update 1, the left one (esxi5) is created as RHEL6 and the right one (esxi5-02) RHEL5.

I added also the monitor_control.restrict_backdoor option but have not try yet to run nested VMs. I’ll do later and will update the post with the results.



6 responses to Running ESXi 5 on ESXi 4.1? Yes you can!


    Great Juanma… so… can you try to run a RHEL over esxi5*?… and :) can you try to load de KVM module?

    Thank you very much for your appointment.


    ESXi is running nested on my physical 4.1U1 host. To do what you want ESXi5 must be running on ESXi 5 too. I’ll try it in the next few weeks as soon as I update the host to ESXi5.

    Theoretically you can do it, check Eric Gray’s post where he shows a Hyper-V guest running a CentOS VM so the same procedure should work also for RHEV.


    Tried it and it works OK – the nested ESXi 5 is running and can create nested^2 VMs. I am seeing a problem with trying to query the nested ESXi 5 with esxcli. The error I get is “esxcli.exe can only be used with version 4.0 or newer servers”, even though the ESXi version is 5.0.0. Any idea why or how it could be solved?

    (The reason I wanted this in the first place was to play with the CLI tool on ESXi 5. Just as side-note, I have confirmed that the user I use for login has “Grant shell access…” enabled).


    Shut up

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