Downloads of “VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) 5.1″ and “VMware vCenter Server Appliance 5.1″ now available

Here’s a follow-up to my 3 recent articles:

1) How to install ESXi 5.1 on a flash drive then configure and run VMs, like Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
2) How to install and configure vCenter Server Appliance 5.1 on ESXi 5.1, the easiest way to enable the good stuff for free, like cloning VM templates and the magic of vMotion
3) VMware vSphere 5.1 has finally been announced, with general availability on September 11

The actual bits are now available for you to try!

All my existing videos and posts are still accurate, produced with these exact same builds that I’ve been running and demonstrating since August. No beta code here, the real thing, now generally available.

You will be required to create a VMware login if you don’t already have one, and the free hypervisor still has a 60 day trial (if you don’t enter any license information, as shown in my video). You can request a longer trial license and VMware will determine your eligibility.

1)  Download VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) here:

Once you login, and you’ll see this screen pictured below. Don’t forget to record this license key, to possibly use later. Then kick off just the vSphere Client download. If you click “Start Download Manager” it kicks of a Java based downloader that can handle multiple concurrent downloads, but you may prefer the “Manually Download” option, avoiding Java plug-in concerns.

 You don’t need to also click the VMware vSphere client link now (which is why I didn’t red-circle it below), since that same exact link is available from within your browser later on, when you point to to the IP or name of your freshly installed ESXi 5.1 host.

2)  Download VMware vCenter Server Appliance 5.1 here:

Login, then scroll down, and find “Down the management server” section and click the +:

Finally, here’s the 4 files you need to download, ideally putting all 4 into a new folder/directory you create.

While those are downloading, you may want read about/watch the actual install process, demonstrated in step-by-step detail over here:

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  • Adam Lawler

    Thanks for all of your coverage. I installed it side by side against my current 5.0 installation. I have to stay with 5.0 until I can get my usb passthrough working on 5.1 It will not pass the device through. Upon reboot is it not listed in passthrough and is unchecked.

    • tinkererguy

      You are correct, I’ve replicated your findings, I cannot seem to do passthru of my USB 3.0 card from HighPoint anymore while on ESXi 5.1, whereas on 5.0, it did work fine. Strange.

      If native USB 3.0 support works out though, I won’t need passthrough really.
      But I’m having issues with that testing as well though, stay tuned.

      Thank you Adam for reporting this to me, MUCH appreciated!

      • tinkererguy

        Not looking good, the help system still says Linux only for USB 3.0 support in a VM (when not using passthru), yet the Windows 8 VMs don’t complain that their OS doesn’t support USB 3.0. You can see much of this in video I put over here:

        and if you have ESXi 5.1 installed, here’s the URL to paste into IE for help about USB 3.0:

        • Adam Lawler

          hopefully this gets worked out. i have a workstation with gpu and usb passthrough.

          • tinkererguy

            I tried a 8800GTS (older GPU) and had no luck fyi, in ESXi 5.1, it wouldn’t even see it, nevermind pass it through.
            What GPU did you have luck with, and was that on ESXi 5.0 with ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Pro Gen3?

          • Adam Lawler

            No i do not have the same motherboard as you. I has an asrock 970 extreme4. As for the gpu, from all of my reading ati has more success than nvidia in passing through gpus. I am using an hd 7750. I am able to see the video card on 5.1 and pass it through. but because the usb controller is not passed through i cannot connect my input devices and therefore not use my vm desktop directly. The key to getting my VM to boot over 4gb ram was actually found on your website with the pcihole edit. I have gotten code 43 errors occasionally on the vm and am still troubleshooting it. seems to happen when the card is not used for a long time. I have disabled sleep and that didn’t work so now i am going to disable shutting the monitor off to save power and just power it off manually. I guess this is what happens when you do things that are not officially supported. although usb passthrough is officially supported by vmware isn’t it?

          • tinkererguy

            Tough to find any USB 3.0 info from VMware.
            I did open a feature request with VMware, to hope for full recognition of a variety of USB 3.0 chipsets by the hypervisor, so that the xHCI USB 3.0 controller that you assign to Windows VMs would actually be useful, someday.

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  • lowdownshame

    just upgraded to 5.1 and im having issues passing through this device [asmedia asm1042 usb 3.0 controller] which is PCIe. worked perfectly fine under 5.0. After adding it, it disappears after reboot! Any workarounds available ??

    • tinkererguy

      Darn, didn’t find any, or fare any better myself, 5.1 seems to have broken my VMDirectPath/passthru of my HighPoint USB 3.0 PCI-e card as well.
      I’m using RDM mappings/eSATA cables to my MediaSonic enclosures instead as a workaround (which is about 10% faster than USB 3 anyway), but still, unfortunate. I’ll have to warn folks about 5.1 it would see, sigh.
      Thank you for taking the time for valuable feedback, lowdownshame!

    • Adam Lawler

      this is the same issue i was reporting. glad i’m not the only one.

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  • Sergio

    What’s your opinion with this vSphere home lab set up: 2 PowerEdge T110 II servers (Xeon 1230 v2 w/3 nics) from Dell with 16 or 32GB RAM from Newegg, managed gigabit switch, cheap intel i3 box with 3 or 4 drives running openfiler or Freenas for storage and a UPS from Newegg, am I missing something? I don’t want to build a white box and don’t have the money for a RAID controller, Thanks for your advise. (I’m studying for my VCP)

    • Paul Braren

      I’m sorry Sergio, I just don’t own the hardware you speak of to test, to say for sure one way or the other whether that’ll work out for your needs. I also haven’t tested Freenas in a long time, and was really looking for a fast solution to leave running 24/7, going beyond just prepping for my VCP:

      If it’s just VCP you’re studying for, you could probably handle most of what you need with something like VMware Player on a Windows or Linux system, and ESXi running in VMs:
      but I realize that’s not as good as building your own system.

      Here’s a lot more about my storage strategy, and why I’m using what I’m using, in this new article:

      • Sergio

        Thanks Paul, I will upgrade my desktop to 16GB or 32GB and will use VMware Workstation to run all my VMs.

    • Stephen

      Have you gotten USB passthrough to work with your T110 II? I have the same model and 5.1 states that the host does not support passthrough configuration. I have enabled virtualization in the BIOS but this has not fixed it. I have downloaded and am going to try 5.5 hoping that this might fix it. Please any help would be appreciated. I too have a home lab and want to make the most of the machine and don’t want to have my SATA drive (for my file server VM) inside the machine and would prefer external USB connections to said SATA drives.

  • kurtd

    What are the other files for, Ovf, vmdk? why would we need those over the OVA?

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