ESXi Kickstart installation (Scripted / weasel installation)

This is a part of the VCAP-DCV Deploy exam and it is a sub part of the Objective 1.1. These are the steps that you can follow for ESXi unattended installation. In other words steps for the kick start installation. 

Mainly, you can perform this unattended aka kickstart installation in three ways:
  • Burn or create a new ISO file with the kickstart file
  • Copy kickstart file in to a usb and point it in the installation 
  • Use a remote server and point the kick start file with the proper protocol (http,NFS,FTP)
First of all, there is a kickstart file in the "/etc/vmware/weasel/ks.cfg" location in the ESXi. You can use the same kickstart file and edit and do the modification according to your deployment requirements.

Here is the default "ks.cfg" file and the content



Firstly, I would like to show the kickstart installation from a remote server, I have installed a Windows IIS web server and created a website application to push the kisckstart file. Added the "MIME Type" to understand the ".cfg" extension to the IIS server.


Added the file extension and the MIME Type as below


Copied the default kickstart file in to the web root directory


And tested the IIS server functionality of the kickstart file after typing the server url in the browser.

So, let's test the kickstart installation using the default file, boot the ESXi server with the ISO file and at the "Loading VMware Hypervisor" window press "Shift" and "O" together to apply the kickstart option. Type the remote kickstart file path with the protocol, in my case it's http.

You can use "weasel ks=http://<remote_server_IP>/<site_folder>/<kickstart_file>" , it is working without the "weasel" at the beginning.

Example : runweasel ks=http://172.16.50.26/arkickstart/ks.cfg OR ks=http://172.16.50.26/arkickstart/ks.cfg


According to the default kickstart file below configuration will apply to the host:
  • default root password is "mypassword" (without the quotes)
  • IP address assignment DHCP
  • vmnic0 will be used to the management network 
You won't get any window to accept the EULA or hit the Enter key in the installation.

So now, I'm going to do the modification to the kickstart file and do the configuration in the installation

I have made the below changes to the kickstart file


New configuration will be as follows:
  • root password "Welcome01" (without the quotes) 
  • Change IP address (static) to 172.16.50.50
  • Use Subnet mask as 255.255.255.0
  • Set the default gateway as 172.16.50.15
  • DNS Server set to 172.16.50.20
And used the new kickstart file in the installation


Let the server to perform the installation and check the configurations.That's the remote server kickstart installation.

The other options are you can use the modified kickstart file inside the ISO file and use it in the installation.

The easiest way that you can do is use an ISO image burning software "WinISO" to copy the kickstart file and create a new ISO image.

Complete Tutorial Guide can be found in here.

Use the kickstart file as below in the installation

runweasel ks=cdrom:/<path_to_the_kickstrat_file>/ks.cfg


If you are using a USB drive use it as below

runweasel ks=usb:/<path_to_the_kickstart_file>/ks.cfg


When you are modifying the kickstart file there are lots of options available in the deployment guide. You can find the vSphere Installation and Setup guide here.

Aruna Lakmal

Aruna Lakmal is a Senior Virtualization Engineer at Pearson and a simple person, VMWare Technology Junky, Enthusiast and a VMware vExpert. Simply believe in "Karma" Find me on LinkedIn !

0 comments: