There are actually a number of ways to boot and install the ESXi-Arm Fling, but the easiest method is already outlined in the official ESXi-Arm Raspberry Pi (rPI) documentation and the PDF can be downloaded from the Fling website. As a quick refresher, you only need to have two storage devices.
- SD Card - Used to store the rPI UEFI files which is required to boot ESXi-Arm Installer
- ESXi-Arm can not run on SD Card and for these reasons, you do not need a large capacity SD Card
- USB Device - Contains ESXi-Arm Installer / Installation
- After the ESXi-Arm installer boots, you can actually re-use the exact same USB device for the installation of ESXi-Arm itself. A separate USB device is not required unless that is your goal or if the capacity is not enough for running VMs
The boot process after the ESXi-Arm installation is that the UEFI firmware will first load on the rPI and then it will boot up the ESXi-Arm from the USB device. As mentioned, there are other variations but this is the most basic option. The other nice behavior is that if you need to re-install ESXi-Arm, you simply create a bootable USB device with the ESXi-Arm installer and then install that right on the same USB device without having to mess with UEFI image. This also allows you to perform scripted installation also known as Kickstart, which is something I will be covering in the future that takes UEFI image into consideration.
I have seen a few questions asked whether it is possible to have everything run off of the SD Card and/or USB Device and the answer is yes to certain degree.
- It is possible to put the ESXi-Arm installer + UEFI on SD Card but ESXi-Arm will NOT be able to use it as installation media, so there is not a whole ton of value there.
- It is possible to have both the UEFI image and ESXi Installation on the same USB device, especially if you do not have spare SD Cards which apparently has come up a few times
In this blog post, I will outline the instructions for booting an installed ESXi-Arm installation completely off of the USB device without the needing an SD Card containing the UEFI image.