Running NANO server on ESXi

Today I decided to setup NANO Server to run in my home lab.

The only thing about my lab is running on ESXi 6.0 and as everyone probably know Server 2016 allows to create NANO server VHD/VHDX file which need to be converted to VMDK file. After converting VHD file to VMDK and uploading to ESXi Datastore I was able to power on new VM NANO Server. But how disappointing there is no network showing under Networking. I power off the VM and changed network card from vmxnet3 to E100 but still nothing. Mounting VHD disk to my PC revile that there is no drivers for VMware networking.

Bellow my steps to create Nano Server VHD disk with drivers for VMware NIC card.

All Steps are performed on Windows Server 2016 T5.

Copy Nanoserver folder on to root of C or D drive (if exist) from Server 2016 installation Media.

From another VM Windows Machine where VMware Tools already are installed, copy the Drivers folder from C:\Program Files\Common Files\VMware to the folder created above (c:\Nanoserver ).


Driver file location

From Powershell console navigate to C:\Nanoserver folder which contain files copied from Server 2016. Import Module NanoServerImageGenerator, and run below comand:

New-NanoServerImage -DeploymentType Guest -Edition Standard -MediaPath E:\ -TargetPath C:\NanoServer\NanoServer.vhd -DriversPath C:\NanoServer\drivers


Powershell command

This command will create new VHD file in folder on Drive C:\Nanoserver and upload all drivers from folder Drivers.

After this just convert the VHD disk file to VMDK disk file. I use WinImage software, there is 30 days version .

Last step is to upload to DataStore where you create new VM for NANO server and deleted to original disk and add newly created. After Power Up the Nano server VM you should be able to see new Network Card and use new Server .


Network Adapter settings

This is my first blog post ever. Hope you can find it useful.


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