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Windows Server 2016 install on VMware

Here we are with a new series of articles covering Windows Server 2016. In particular in this series of articles we’ll start covering from the basic steps to configuration setup we can use to learn more about Enterprise features. In particular, I’m excited to start using the new ReFS file system shipping with Windows Server 2016.  It would be interesting to use ReFS volumes as Repositories for our Backup taking advantage of the built-in de-duplication capabilities. But there’s a lot more.

Other interesting features of course include the updated components like the new version of Hyper-V and how to leverage this in a nested hypervisor environment.

Last but not least also the Nano Server variation which of course makes this the preferred choice for low resource consumption environments. Not to miss on the fact that this kind of server deployments also help with the hardening aspects, from a security perspective thus reducing the surface attacks.

There are plenty of reason really to start trying and learning about the latest Windows Server edition in our home lab environment. Let’s take it step by step. We’ll begin with steps to:

  • Deploy Windows Server 2016 Guest OS on VMware vSphere
  • Install Windows Server 2016
  • Configure VMware Tools

I will keep this list open for future updates and this article as a sort of placeholder for additional steps.

Let’s begin by creating the Guest OS for Windows Server 2016.


Deploy Windows Server 2016 on VMware vSphere 6

From the vCenter let’s do a right-click to the Data Center or Host object to start creating a new Virtual Machine. This will start the wizard as per screenshot below.

Windows Server 2016 new Virtual Machine

Let’s provide a name to the Guest OS. By default the same name is used to create the vm folder which will include all the necessary files. Let’s also choose the location in the infrastructure where to deploy this virtual machine.

Windows Server 2016 virtual machine name

Next is to choose the Host which will run this virtual machine. Let’s make sure the compatibility section below is good to go.

Windows Server 2016 vmware compute resource

At this point we can select the physical location namely the Datastore where the Guest OS will be created.

Windows Server 2016 vmware storage resource

Depending on the home lab environment we might want to use an older version of the Guest OS virtual hardware. Should this be the case it is always possible to upgrade the Virtual Hardware to the latest version according to the current vSphere Host release.

Windows Server 2016 vmware compatibility

At this point we can select the Guest OS Family and OS version as per screenshot below. This will help VMware vSphere to use the correct Virtual Machine template to install the VMware Tools as we’ll see later on.

Windows Server 2016 vmware OS family

In this step we can further customize the Virtual Hardware presented to the Guest OS. In my case I will go for simple specs as ideally I would like to clone this virtual machine avoiding the same steps again. Eventually add or tweak the Virtual Hardware resources as required.

Also let’s make sure the VM Network is  associated to the correct Port Group. So essentially in this step we can also map the Windows Server ISO to boot from and begin the installation process.

Unless required the default settings are fine. Of course let’s change them where required to fit our needs.

And finally a quick summary of the main settings to review before amending changes. Naturally all of these settings can be changed later on. Some of them also when the virtual machine is running.

This concludes the first article on how to install Windows Server 2016 on VMware vSphere. Pretty easy! Same applies to the next steps with the actual installation of the Windows Server OS as per next article.


About the author

Michele Domanico

Passionate about Virtualization, Storage, Data Availability and Software Defined Data Center technologies. The aim of Domalab.com is sharing with the Community the knowledge and experience gained with customers, industry leaders and like minded peers. Always open to constructive feedback and new challenges.

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