How to create a custom ESXi image

Creating a custom ESXi image can be a valuable way to streamline and optimize your virtualization environment. With a custom image, you can incorporate the necessary drivers, applications, and configurations to ensure that your environment runs smoothly and efficiently. In this guide, we will explore the steps required to create a custom ESXi image and configure it to meet your specific needs. Whether you are looking to enhance your existing infrastructure or are setting up a new virtualization environment, understanding how to create a custom ESXi image is a must-have skill for any IT professional.

You will need 30 minutes to follow these steps:

  1. Go to VMWare downloads and download your vendor-specific image
    Download vendor customized image
  2. Swtich to Drivers tab and download required/additional/updated drivers if needed
    Download vmware drivers
  3. Go to VMWare patches and download latest ESXi build
    Download latest esxi build
  4. Go to your server`s vendor drivers download page, in my case Cisco drivers and download latest drivers for your ESXi version
    Download vendor drivers
  5. Go to your vCenter AutoDeploy menu section, click the Import link on the top right, locate a vendor-customized image and provide a name
    Import vendor-customized image
  6. Repeat the previous step and import the latest ESXi build and drivers
    Import remaining vibs
  7. Add custom depot
    Add custom depot
  8. Click on the link `New image profile` and provide name and details.
    I usually use the following naming convention: ESXi-[major_version].[minor_version]-[build]-[standard/no-tools]. The last part depends on whenever I include VMTools or no.
    Add new image profile
  9. Select only the latest packages as by default wizard shows you a list with all available vibs from all depots
    Select software packages
  10. Custom ESXi image has been created and now you can use it in AutoDeploy or export to zip or ISO by clicking the Export button
    Create custom ESXi image

That`s all, we built an ESXi image we need with specified drivers