Building an ESXi 5.5 lab for NSX and vSAN Part 2: The DS61

So first this is first on the new Lab environment, COMPUTE. I opted for the DS61 by Shuttle, not because it was the cheapest but because i gives me the best of both world, cheaper, quiet, compact and best of all CPU is upgradable.


The first step was to install all the Hardware into the little monster, which I must admit was easier then I thought. The only thing was the mSata disk which was Larger then the holder on the motherboard. Moving this over a slot solved that issue.

So let’s have a look on how to instal ESXi 5.5 onto this little monster.

I downloaded the ISO from the official VMware site and started the installation. Inside my little Macbook Pro I fired up the disk util and formated the USB stick into fat32 with an MBR. Then copied the ISO files to the USB disk, if you need help on this then please use google ( a gazilion sites will do a better job at helping you out them myself). Plugged the USB installer into the DS61 and then… a hitch.


“Initializing ACPI …” now I normally love three dots … and I use them alot in my normal way of communications but these three little buggers just stayed there, forever! Reading up on the Net, BIOS upgrades, turn off UEFI Bios might solve the issue.

Now let’s take a deeper look at that last sentence, Upgrading the BIOS. On the shuttle site it has two ways to upgrade the BIOS, a DOS bootable floppy and Windows. Now since I have no OS on the DS61 Windows was out of the question, and I really did not feel like spooling DOS onto a USB stick. I would have loved to see a preped ISO image that had everything or even better UPGRADE from the BIOS itself.

So I started digging until I came across a site that basically explained what was happening.

The MBR was being formated in UEFI mode and due to that format the system was starting in full UEFI mode, which was bugging out the installer.  I downloaded something called RUFUS and started my windows 7 Fusion machine. Formatted the USB using Rufus and selection the ESX ISO to install. During the install it asked if I wanted to install a new version of menu.c32 which needs to be accepted for the USB to work.

This solved the ACPI issue but next was the NIC’s, using custom ISO builder I injected the following VIB:

That’s it! After a slight wait I now have a functional DS61 running the latest ESXi 5.5 release.

2 thoughts on “Building an ESXi 5.5 lab for NSX and vSAN Part 2: The DS61

  1. Larry

    Were you able to configure Virtual SAN on your Shuttle DS61? I’m considering doing the same thing on a Shuttle DS81 but I wasn’t sure that VSAN would recognize the SSD on the mSATA slot.

  2. geordy Post author

    Hey Larry,

    I was able to install and configure vSAN to work on the DS61, but I must admit that I had to use an internal patch to make the AHCI to work. vSphere 5.5 U2 has support for vSAN on native AHCI controllers and by using KB 2079729 you should be able to get a stable vSAN running inside a LAB environment.

    Good Luck and just make sure that you have vCenter not running on you vSAN (it is possible but makes things harder).

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