Deploying Nutanix CE 5.18 (AHV) nested in a VMware ESXi 7.0U1 Host (Intel NUC 10)

In my previous posts (#1 & #2) I showed how to get Nutanix Community Edition (CE) 5.18 installed as a nested VM on VMware Fusion or Workstation. In this post, I will show you how to get CE 5.18 deployed as a nested VM running on a VMware ESXi 7.0U1 host. The ESXi host, which I used, is an Intel NUC 10 (NUC10i7FNH2), which is configured with 64GB RAM and a 1TB NVMe M2 SSD (Samsung 970 EVO).



Before proceeding with the deployment, you should be aware of certain prerequisites that require to be in place on your ESXi host to have a successful deployment:

    • If you are using a Virtual Standard Switch (VSS) configure the following Security Policies on the switch itself or on the Port Group that you will use for the Nutanix CE VM:
      • Promiscuous Mode to Accept
      • MAC Address Changes to Reject
      • Forged Transmits to Accept
    • If you are using a Virtual Distributed Switch (VDS), like me, configure the above Security Policies on the Port Group that you will use for the Nutanix CE VM.

    • Download the Nutanix CE 5.18 ISO image from the the Nutanix Community Forum post available for which you will need to login using your Nutanix account. If you do not have an account, you can register and create one for free.
    • Upload that Nutanix CE 5.18 ISO image to a Datastore accessible by your ESXi host.

    • Ensure to have enough CPU and RAM resources to deploy Nutanix CE 5.18. The minimums are:
      • 4 core CPU
      • 16GB RAM
    • The available free storage on your target Datastore for CE 5.18 should not be a problem as this will be a nested VM deployment using only Thin Provisioned disks

Virtual Machine Configuration

Follow the below-listed steps to configure the new Virtual Machine that will become the nested Nutanix CE 5.18 AHV host.

    • Create a new Virtual Machine

    • Select a name and VM folder

    • Select your ESXi host as compute resource

    • Select a Datastore for the VM files (disks & configuration)

    • Select the ESXi compatibility (ESXi 7.0 and later)

    • Select the Guest OS (Linux – CentOS 7 (64-bit))

    • Set the CPU to a minimum of 4 CPU and RAM to a minimum of 16GB (I choose 20GB)
    • Create the following Hard disks:
      • 8GB iSCSI Thin Provisioned Disk (used as boot disk)
      • 200GB iSCSI Thin Provisioned Disk (used as Hot Tier data disk)
      • 500GB iSCSI Thin Provisioned Disk (used as Cold Tier data disk)
      • Optional additional iSCSI Thin Provisioned Data disks (I created an additional 500GB disk)

    • Turn on the “Expose hardware assisted virtualization to the guest OS” feature allowing the nested virtualization

    • Select the Network (Choose the earlier mentioned VSS or VDS Port Group)

    • Attach the Nutanix CE 5.18 ISO image file uploaded to a Datastore to the CD-ROM

    • Review your settings

    • Click Finish to complete your VM creation

Your newly deployed Nutanix CE 5.18 VM is now ready to be powered on to start the Nutanix CE 5.18 installation process.

Nutanix CE Installation Process

When powering on the newly deployed CE 5.18 VM, the installation process starts automatically by performing pre-checks including disk speeds tests.

Thereafter, you are presented with the main configuration screen in which you have to select the Hypervisor (AHV or ESXi). Note that the ESXi possibility is a new feature as I mentioned in my earlier posts.

Other selections include setting the disk configurations as below:

    • H: 8GB disk
    • C: 200GB disk
    • D: 500GB disk
    • D: 500Gb disk (optional disk, which I added in my deployment)

Also, setting the IP details for the AHV host and CVM.

And as a last step setting the automatic single-node cluster creation (optional and can be done later in case you want to do it manually or if you want to create a multi-node CE cluster). I did select this option and enter my home DNS server IP address, which is needed for the cluster to connect to later on to verify your Nutanix account.

On the Next Page, you are asked to “read” and accept the EULA before you can start the installation process.

When hitting Start, the installation process begins and can be monitored step by step. On my Intel NUC 10, this process completed within 7 minutes as can be seen from the screenshots below.

When the installer finishes, you can enter Y to reboot the VM.

When the VM has restarted, the installation process continues in the background in which the CVM is booted for the first time and sets up the Nutanix CE cluster for the first time. This process is not really visible but can be tracked by logging in the AHV host and, subsequently, into the CVM using the internal networking ( When logged in the CVM, you can monitor the services being started (“genesis status”) and also cluster being started (“cluster status”).

First Look at the Nutanix Prism Dashboard

When running the “cluster status” on the CVM as mentioned above and you see all services up and running then it is time to launch your favorite browser and navigate to the CVM IP address with Prism port number ( in my case).

Login using “admin” as username and “nutanix/4u” as password. Thereafter, you are immediately prompted to change the default password.

When you have changed the password, and logged back in, you are required to provide your Nutanix login credentials (same that you used when downloading the the CE 5.18 ISO file).

Congratulations, you are now looking at your brand new Nutanix Community Edition 5.18 (AHV) Prism Dashboard. Do not be alarmed by the Critical Health and Data Resiliency statuses and NTP Alerts. This is normal and most of these can be taken care of as part of post-deployment configurations.


— Happy Testing in your Home Lab!


6 Replies to “Deploying Nutanix CE 5.18 (AHV) nested in a VMware ESXi 7.0U1 Host (Intel NUC 10)”

  1. Preet,
    I have reached your blog in my first attempt looking for a tutorial how to deploy Nutanix CE in a nested VMware vSphere LAB.
    You did really excellent job. I have successfully built my NUTANIX lab by following your clear and well instructed steps.
    Thanks for such a great post and please keep going that way!
    Best regards,

    1. Hi Aminou,

      My apologies for not responding to your message.

      Thank you for your great compliment and congrats with your first Nutanix CE deployment! Great work!

      Best Regards,

      PS. I am now picking up MCL again and your message is giving me the required energy to do so. Thank you!

      1. Great post.
        Is it possible to add another nothe to the cluster?
        I also tried to configure tow AHV servers, with no cluster initialized and then create the cluster with the command but no luck

        1. Hi Samuel,

          Thank you for your compliment and my apologies for not responding to your question.

          You should be able to expand an existing CE cluster with additional CE nodes. Check out the following blog post on the official Nutanix NEXT community where an CE user encountered an issue during expansion but got that resolved with community assistance: This shows the power of the Nutanix NEXT community as well. 😉

          Are you still having trouble with creating a cluster of CE AHV nodes using the cli command?

          Thank you & Best Regards,

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