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Installation Instructions for VMware ESXi 6.x on Lenovo ThinkSystem servers

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evision level: 1.2

Updated: 2 September, 2019

© Copyright Lenovo 2019.

LIMITED AND RESTRICTED RIGHTS NOTICE: If data or software is delivered pursuant to a General Services Administration “GSA” contract, use, reproduction, or disclosure is subject to restrictions set forth in Contract No. GS-35F-05925.

Note: Before using this information and the product it supports, read the general information in 6.0 Notices in this document.

Supported servers: Lenovo® ThinkSystem servers. For a complete list of servers that are supported with this operating system/hypervisor, please refer to the Lenovo OS Interoperability Guide.

Applicable OS/Hypervisor versions:

  • VMware ESXi 6.0u3
  • VMware ESXi 6.5b
  • VMware ESXi 6.5u1
  • VMware ESXi 6.5u2
  • VMware ESXi 6.5u3
  • VMware ESXi 6.7
  • VMware ESXi 6.7u1
  • VMware ESXi 6.7u2
  • VMware ESXi 6.7u3

Follow the instructions in this document in sequential order unless these instructions advise you to follow other operation procedures. Windows and messages might differ from those in this document. Throughout this document, the term select is used to denote the use of arrow keys, the Tab key, Alt + a letter combination, or the mouse to make a selection.

References to optional hardware in this document do not imply support of that hardware. For information about supported options, see the ServerProven® information for your server at

1.0 What you will need

You must have the following software and hardware for the installation:

2.0 Where to download files

You can download OS images, device drivers and files from the following sites:

3.0 Preparing the hardware

To prepare the hardware, update the system firmware, and configure the disk arrays, see the Lenovo ThinkSystem Information Center at the Lenovo ThinkSystem Information Center.

Please set your preferred boot mode (UEFI mode or Legacy mode) in the UEFI F1 setup menu (or using tools such as Lenovo XClarity Essentials) before you begin the OS installation process.

NOTE: UEFI Secure Boot is supported with VMware ESXi versions 6.5 or newer only.

To download the latest device drivers, firmware packages and installation instructions for your server, complete the following steps:

  1. Go to Lenovo Support Portal.
  2. Under Select a Product Family click on Data Center then select Servers.
  3. In the Select Series drop down box select ThinkSystem.
  4. In the Select Subseries drop down box select the model of your server.
  5. In the Select Machine Type drop down box select the machine type of your server.
  6. On the next page select Drivers and Software from the blue banner.
  7. In the Operating System drop down box select your appropriuate VMware ESXi version. For example, VMWare ESXi 6.7.
  8. This will display a list of the most recent firmware and device drivers for your system.
  9. Follow the Readme.txt file in each download package for installation instructions.

Alternatively, you can download the packages directly from the Lenovo VMware I/O drivers and firmware code recipe.

4.0 Installing VMware ESXi 6.x

4.1 Updating firmware

Always make sure you are using the recommended system and I/O firmware versions that are validated on this version of VMware ESXi. Refer to Lenovo VMware I/O drivers and firmware code recipe for the latest version information. Follow the instructions in the README (.txt) file that is included with the firmware package for installation.

For details on firmware update on Lenovo ThinkSystem servers, refer to Lenovo ThinkSystem Firmware and Driver Update Best Practices.

4.2 OS deployment

To install VMware ESXi 6.x, follow the detailed instructions in vSphere Installation and Setup Guide. For further information regarding the installation and support of guest operating systems and administration of VMware ESXi 6.x, visit VMware vSphere Documentation.

NOTE: Lenovo recommends that you install VMware ESXi 6.x using the The Lenovo VMware ESXi custom image. Installing from the custom image has several advantages:

  • It is tested across Lenovo’s server and adapter portfolio with the same ServerProven® support guarantee as VMware’s base release.
  • It enables support of Lenovo’s tools, including Lenovo XClarity Essentials (ToolCenter) that provide the ability to flash server firmware such as UEFI, XCC, and IO adapters firmware.
  • It includes the latest VMware certified IO drivers to support Lenovo servers, as outlined in Lenovo VMware I/O drivers and firmware code recipe.

You can download Lenovo VMware ESXi Custom image from For more information, refer to the Lenovo VMware Custom Image Reference Guide.

NOTE: VMware ESXi 6.x does not support onboard RAID for ThinkSystem servers. Use Lenovo ThinkSystem supported RAID adapters, and the Lenovo VMware Custom Image, if you intend on installing VMware ESXi on RAID drives. Please refer to Lenovo ServerProven® for detailed information on supported RAID adapters.

4.3 Updating device drivers

4.4 Post-installation instructions

  • Enable remote logging when you set up embedded ESXi, before any problem occurs. This will help Lenovo Support to assist in debugging and solving complex problems, if they occure. For instructions on setting up remote logging, refer to
  • Lenovo recommends you review all How-tos and Solutions related to this system and the Operating System you are installing. How-tos and Solutions are found at the Lenovo Data Center Support Portal.

4.4 System Specific instructions

Currently, there are no system specific instructions for this operating system/hypervisor.

5.0 Technical resources

The following technical resources are currently available for VMware ESXi 6.x :

6.0 Notices

Lenovo may not offer the products, services, or features discussed in this document in all countries. Consult your local Lenovo representative for information on the products and services currently available in your area.

Any reference to a Lenovo product, program, or service is not intended to state or imply that only that Lenovo product, program, or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product, program, or service that does not infringe any Lenovo intellectual property right may be used instead. However, it is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other product, program, or service.

Lenovo may have patents or pending patent applications covering subject matter described in this document. The furnishing of this document does not give you any license to these patents. You can send license inquiries, in writing, to:

	Lenovo (United States), Inc.
	1009 Think Place - Building One
	Morrisville, NC 27560
	Attention: Lenovo Director of Licencing

LENOVO PROVIDES THIS PUBLICATION “AS IS” WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Some jurisdictions do not allow disclaimer of express or implied warranties in certain transactions, therefore, this statement may not apply to you.

This information could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically made to the information herein; these changes will be incorporated in new editions of the publication. Lenovo may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described in this publication at any time without notice.

The products described in this document are not intended for use in implantation or other life support applications where malfunction may result in injury or death to persons. The information contained in this document does not affect or change Lenovo product specifications or warranties. Nothing in this document shall operate as an express or implied license or indemnity under the intellectual property rights of Lenovo or third parties. All information contained in this document was obtained in specific environments and is presented as an illustration. The result obtained in other operating environments may vary.

Lenovo may use or distribute any of the information you supply in any way it believes appropriate without incurring any obligation to you.

Any references in this publication to non-Lenovo Web sites are provided for convenience only and do not in any manner serve as an endorsement of those Web sites. The materials at those Web sites are not part of the materials for this Lenovo product, and use of those Web sites is at your own risk.

Any performance data contained herein was determined in a controlled environment. Therefore, the result obtained in other operating environments may vary significantly. Some measurements may have been made on development-level systems and there is no guarantee that these measurements will be the same on generally available systems. Furthermore, some measurements may have been estimated through extrapolation. Actual results may vary. Users of this document should verify the applicable data for their specific environment.


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