CentOS 5 on ESX Server

As I had to rebuild some Linux VMs in the lab anyway (they’d gotten messed up with various interoperability tests), I decided to try version 5.0 of CentOS.  I was trying to get this done on Friday before the long holiday weekend, but it turns out that downloading the ISO images for six (yes, six!) CD-ROMs takes a bit longer than I had hoped.  So I downloaded them at home on my 6Mbit DSL connection over the weekend, and had the opportunity to work on it yesterday while at the office.

I didn’t really expect any major issues that would prevent the new version of the distribution from running, but you never really know for sure until you try.  Fortunately, CentOS 5.0 loaded quickly and without any real problems on the lab servers running ESX Server version 3.0.2.  The only issue that came up—and it was a minor one, really, more caused by my own lack of preparation than anything else—was that the VMware Tools did not have a suitable kernel module or a suitable VMXNet driver.  This was only a problem at first because I didn’t have the right parts (compiler, kernel header files, etc.) installed to allow the VMware Tools installer to create its own module and driver.  I had to use yum to install the necessary pieces, then the VMware Tools installer worked without any further problems.

Later in the week I hope to be able to post some information on running Solaris 10 8/07 (aka Update 4) on ESX Server as well.

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  1. Clif Smith’s avatar

    Why not use the DVDs? I’ve run into the same pain and being that I’m mainly using it for vm’s and not for physical servers without a DVD drive, I’ve used DVD ISOs the past couple of releases.

  2. slowe’s avatar


    Seems like all the DVD ISOs I found were torrents. Torrents don’t work at my office (not surprisingly), so I tend to just stick with plain-jane HTTP downloads. Had I found a non-torrent ISO for the DVD, I probably would have downloaded it, just for the sake of having only a single file to keep track of.

  3. Brian A’s avatar

    I might have changed since you downloaded it. The nearest mirror that centos.org suggested did in fact include a DVD iso image…

    This is one in Denmark

    And Germanny

  4. slowe’s avatar

    Brian A,

    Thanks for the update! I’ll have to take another look.

  5. markh’s avatar

    If you install using the Red Hat Enterprise 5 setting, it should find a vmware tools that works with standard kernal

  6. aenagy’s avatar

    Did you have problems getting the vNIC to work? I have installed Centos 5.2 32-bit installed in a virtual machine along with the VMware Tools via RPM. Even after vmware-config-tools.pl (no complaints or errors) and ‘/etc/init.d/network restart’ I don’t get an IP address.

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