Disclaimer: VMware still does not officially support Windows 8 on vSphere, this is mainly for educational and testing purposes. Do not use this in a production environment
UPDATE (06/02/12): The steps below are the same for the recent release of Windows 8 Release Preview and Windows Server 2008 (Windows 8 Server) RC.
Here are the three easy steps to run Windows 8 on ESXi 5
- Download and install ESXi500-201112001 (patch02) from VMware patch repository.
- Create either a Windows 7 or Windows 2008 R2 regular VM (You will need to use e1000 network driver, VMXNET3 does not work)
- Install Windows 8 Consume Preview or Server using the ISO (tested with 64bit)
- Update the guestOS to Windows 8 64bit using the vSphere Client
- Add the following CPUID bits using the vSphere Client
- Add the advanced setting using the vSphere Client hypervisor.cpuid.v0 = FALSE as described by this article as well as mce.enabled = TRUE (this is a new parameter introduced in ESXi 5) which is needed to run Hyper-V3 in Windows 8
- Install Hyper-V role
- Shutdown host
- Remove advanced setting using the vSphere Client
- Host should now boot and you should see the Hyper-V manager interface
So if you are itching to try out the new Windows 8 Consumer Preview or Server, you can install it and run it on vSphere 5!