I do not have any plans to install an optical drive in this server but I still need to install ESXi from an ISO image to a USB drive. This is one way to do it:
- Fire up your favorite virtual environment that can handle the following requirements
- Assign 2 processor cores to a VM
- Assign 3GB of virtual RAM to the VM
- Assign an ESXi supported network controller to the VM
- Enable hardware virtualization to the VM
Here are some screen shots from VirtualBox running under Ubuntu 12.04:
Load the ESXi ISO image to the virtual CD drive
- Insert the target USB drive into the host
- Launch the VM and press a key to halt the ESXi installer at the following screen
Right click in the USB icon next to the CDROM icon and select the USB drive.
- Finalize the ESXi installation and shutdown the virtual machine.
- Move the USB drive to the physical machine and verify that it boots.
Note: The physical machine must be able to boot off a drive with a GPT. Look for a UEFI Boot settings in BIOS.