UPDATE (March 16, 2011):There is no need in this trick starting from the ESXi 4.1. You can configure it.
- got to your VMware ESXi host
- press Alt-F1
- then type “UNSUPPORTED” and press <enter>
- login with your root login and password
- edit the inetd.conf file by typing “vi /etc/inetd.conf“
- remove the comment # in front of the SSH lines
- reboot your ESXi server
VMware itself recommends using VMware Server for testing and development, and the commercial variant VMware ESXi for production systems.
There are some limitation for the free version of ESXi http://blogs.vmware.com/esxi/2009/06/esxi-vs-esx-a-comparison-of-features.html
But we can use the vmrun command line tool to automate common operations such as stop, start, runProgramInGuest.
vmrun -t esx -h https://0.0.0.0/sdk -u root -p password list
vmrun -t esx -h http:/0.0.0.0/sdk -u root -p password -gu domenuser -gp userpassword runProgramInGuest "[C_Drive] MyLab/MyLab.vmx" notepad
vmrun -t esx -h https://0.0.0.0/sdk -u root -p password stop "[C_Drive] MyLab/MyLab.vmx " hard’
vmrun -t esx -h https://0.0.0.0/sdk -u root -p password "[C_Drive] MyLab/MyLab.vmx " start’
1. Get ISO image from https://www.vmware.com/tryvmware/index.php?p=free-esxi&lp=1
2. Put it on CD
3. Plug this CD to your server and make the quick installation
4. Go to your server http://server/…You’ll get the Welcome Page
5. Download vSphere Client from this page. Install it.
6. You’ll be notified about evolution mode (60 days)
7. You need to get the serial number from the WMVare site (login under you registered account and get it)
8. The features will be restricted after you applied the serial number (http://blogs.vmware.com/esxi/2009/06/esxi-vs-esx-a-comparison-of-features.html)