Enabling Nested Virtualization on VMware ESXi VMs


Enabling nested virtualization on VMware ESXi VMs unlocks a powerful capability within your virtualized infrastructure, particularly useful for testing, development, and training purposes within existing virtualized infrastructures.

What is Virtualization?

Virtualization is a technology that allows you to create multiple virtual instances of physical hardware resources, such as servers, storage, and networks, within a single physical machine. This enables you to run multiple operating systems and applications on a single physical machine.

What is Hypervisor?

A hypervisor is a software or firmware that enables the creation and management of virtual machines (VMs) on a physical host machine. It abstracts the physical hardware resources and allocates them to multiple virtual machines, each running its own operating system and applications.

  1. Type 1: hypervisors run directly on the host’s hardware to control the hardware and manage guest operating systems.
  2. Type 2: hypervisors run on a conventional operating system (the host OS) like any other software application.

What is Nested Virtualization?

Nested virtualization is the practice of running a virtualization hypervisor inside another virtual machine (VM), enabling multiple layers of virtualization within a single physical host.

VMware Nested Virtualization

What is VMware ESXi?

VMware ESXi is a bare-metal hypervisor. It is a type 1 hypervisor, which means it is virtualization software that runs directly on the physical hardware of a server without the need for a separate operating system. ESXi is developed by VMware, Inc.

Step 1. Connect to your ESXi host

Open your browser and enter the VMware ESXi IP Address

Log in to the vSphere Web Client using your credentials.

Step 2. Power off the virtual machine

  1. Select the VM.
  2. Shut down the VM.
    Shutdown the virtual Machine

Step 3. Go to VM settings

  1. Navigate to the VM for which you want to enable nested virtualization.
  2. Go to “Edit Settings” for the VM.
    Edit settings for the Virtual Machine

Step 4. Enable nested virtualization

  1. Select and expand the CPU.
  2. Then, enable the "Expose hardware-assisted virtualization to the guest OS."
  3. Finally, click "Save."
    Enable nested virtualization

Now enable installing the Hyper-v role for Windows Server 2019

Step 5. Power on the VM

  1. Select the VM,
  2. Then click "Power On."
    Power on the VM

Step 6. Accessing your VM

  1. Open the Remote Desktop Connection.
  2. Then, enter the computer/server IP address or name.
  3. Finally, enter your credentials to log in to your server.

Enjoy! Now you can install Hyper-V on the Windows Server guest operating system running on the VMware ESXi virtual machine.

VMware ESXi virtual machine

In the next article, I'll show you how to install Hyper-V on Windows Server 2019...

Thank You...!

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