How to Install ESXi on the Vault

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ESXi Overview

ESXi is the VMware hypervisor for deploying multiple virtual machines on capable barebone hardware. This article describes how to install ESXi 6.7 on the Vault. The same steps are used for ESXi 7 as well. Please check the compatibility chart at the bottom. 

The specific version used in this test is 6.7 Update 1. ESXi 6.7 has been successfully installed on all of the Vault platforms. The FW1, FW2, and FW4A require a workaround during installation. See the table at the bottom of this article for more details and a (link) to the workaround instructions. There is another article specifically for the newer version of ESXi available at this link.

Verify Hardware Recommendations

VMware recommends a minimum of 4 GB of RAM.  Our test installation used 8 GB.  Additional ESXi 6.7 Hardware Requirements can be found at this (link). ESXi 7 Hardware requirements can be found here (link)

Note: ESXi requires at least 142GB of local space for the datastore. We recommend using a drive 200GB or larger. Minimum requirements here (link).

Customer “mcdanielvzw” brought to our attention the following VMware KB (link) solution article for smaller storage drives.

Install ESXi

Obtain the Installation Image

To gain access you will need to register with VMware. ESXi can be downloaded for free here

vmware register
ESXi Download Page

As of writing this article, The Vault has been tested with version 6.7 and ESXi 7. Unless advised to the contrary, we recommend downloading the latest available version.

Burn the Installation image to a USB Drive

The easiest way to transfer the installation image to a USB drive is by using software called “Rufus” on Windows or “balenaEtcher” on Apple OSX. See this link for detailed instructions on how to create a bootable USB drive using Rufus or balenaEtcher.

Note: If using the Vault FW1x, FW2x, or FW4x, be sure to use a USB stick and the USB keyboard with a plug that is relatively skinny.  The 2 USB ports on the Vault are very close to each other and if either the USB stick or the USB keyboard plug is too wide, you will not be able to plug both in at the same time, which will prevent you from doing the installation.

Install the Operating System on the Vault

  • Verify the Vault is powered down
  • Verify the monitor is connected
  • Verify the USB keyboard is plugged in (you can skip this spet if you are using the serial installer)
  • Verify the USB drive is plugged into the Vault
  • Connect the Vault to the network via the WAN port that is connected to a DHCP enabled switch
  • Power on and verify the Vault boots to the USB
  • Follow the on-screen installation instructions
  • When installation is complete, the Vault will reboot and the IP address will be displayed on the ESXi console
  • To access the ESXi management console, browse to “http://<IP address>/ui” Example
  • Login with User: root and Password: created during installation
  • Verify the ESXi dashboard is displayed


vmware esxi vault
ESXi 6.7 Dashboard

At this point, ESXi 6.7 or ESXi 7 is up and running on the Vault. It must now be configured for the specific Virtual Machines as desired for deployment. As always, if you experience any issues, please feel free to reach out to

Optional SSD on the FW6 Vault

The FW6 series of the Vault ships with a SATA cable, SATA power cable, and 2.5″ drive mount to support an optional SSD drive (we recommend using an SSD drive, not a spinning hard drive). Adding an optional 2.5″ drive requires no software or BIOS modifications. See the screenshot below for an example of an additional 250GB drive that has been added to a FW6 with ESXi 6.7 or ESXi 7 installed.

vmware esxi vault devices
ESXi with optional 2.5″ SSD

BIOS Compatibility

The table below shows the compatibility of tested releases of ESXi and BIOS on each of the Vaults. 

*Note* The compatibility test below relates to our current vault hardware, here: Product Comparison – Protectli Firewalls at a glance

VaultESXi VersionBIOS - LegacyBIOS - UEFIBIOS - coreboot

As always, if you need additional assistance, please feel free to reach out at or find more information in our Knowledge Base.

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