First you will need to download your .ISO image file.You are welcome to use any flavor of Linux, but we are going to use CentOS 7, you can download it here:

DVD ISO  |  Everything ISO  |  Minimal ISO

We are using CentOS 7 because of 2 reasons:

Close relation/similarity to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)
Employers seek experience with RHEL

There are a couple of steps we will need to take after downloading our .ISO image (picture listed below the steps listed):

Navigate to ESXi Host in ESXi
Click on the CONFIGURATION tab
Select STORAGE from the Hardware section
Right Click Datastore and select BROWSE DATASTORE

Don’t have an _ISO-IMAGES folder be sure to create one

Select or Create _ISO-IMAGES folder

UPLOAD your .ISO with button that has been highlighted

Click the UPLOAD button to UPLOAD your .ISO image

Select Typical, and then click Next

Create a NAME for your new VM

Select STORAGE for your VM


Choose your NETWORK adapter

Create you VM’s HARD DISK SIZE and choose THIN PROVISION

Check the EDIT VM SETTINGS box

Change the RAM to what you see fit

Change CPU settings to what you see fit (you don’t want to change this after installing the OS)

Change the VIDEO settings to whatever you like

Check the box CONNECT AT POWER ON, select DATASTORE ISO FILE, and then browse to the .ISO file you uploaded earlier, afterwards click FINISH

You will see the COMPLETED status at the bottom of the page. There are multiple ways to POWER ON the VM, and open the VM CONSOLE

Now we will begin installing the OS, select INSTALL CentOS 7

Both options are correct for me, click CONTINUE

There are multiple options here we need to CONFIGURE

Select DATE & TIME and update as necessary 

Select INSTALLATION DESTINATION, typically no changes needed here

Click NETWORK and switch the button to ON


You will have a SUMMARY SCREEN reflecting all of your selections, click BEGIN INSTALLATION

Configure a ROOT PASSWORD, also create a USER ACCOUNT and PASSWORD

The INSTALLATION will take some time

You will get a screen like below, click REBOOT

After the reboot, you will see the following screen. Click LICENSING

You will need to check the box next to I ACCEPT THE LICENSE AGREEMENT, and click DONE

Finally you will get a FINISH CONFIGURATION button to complete the installation

Here we see a login screen that shows we are finished with the installation!

For our next tutorial we will show you how to install/enable RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) so we can administer our newly installed VM through any Windows computer through the GUI in addition to SSH using WinSCP & PuTTY.


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