Running Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V inside ESXi 5.1

It is possible to run Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V inside a VMware ESXi 5.1, free edition. Using a “nested” hypervisor is not straight forward. Still it is quite simple.

First, check that your ESXi hypervisor provides the required features. To do so, browse to https://ESXIP/mob/?moid=ha-host&doPath=capability. Then look at the “nestedHVSupported” value. If it is not “true”, then you’re done. If it is, you may proceed.

Then, using the vSphere Client, create a new “Custom” virtual machine using the “Microsoft Windows Server 2012 (64-bit)” template. When it’s done, “Upgrade the Virtual Hardware” so that the VM becomes version 9. Don’t start the VM yet.

Using SSH, connect to the ESXi server. Browse to the Virtual Machine configuration directory. Locate and edit the “.vmx” file. Add “hypervisor.cpuid.v0 = FALSE” to the configuration file ; save and exit.

You are now ready to install Windows Server 2012 and enable the Hyper-V service.

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