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How to install ClearOS on VMware ESXi

If you are looking for a versatile and easy to configure Linux based router with additional functionalities then ClearOS is probably one of the best candidates. In this article series we’ll explore how to install ClearOS and configure the latest version ClearOS 7.3 in VMware along with open VM tools.

I’m currently using ClearOS with multiple functionalities also thanks to the apps that can be downloaded for free and automatically installed. Of course there are plenty of apps (some available for purchase as well) covering different areas. In our case for this article I will focus on the apps to a Firewall, Port Forwarding and Web Content Filtering. This is my main gateway for my home lab and also acts as a router between the different networks including the ones I’m using for VM Network, vMotion and Provisiong traffic.

This post is divided in 3 parts where we’ll cover the following:

So let’s get started with the first part about creating a VM to install ClearOS.

How to install ClearOS on VMware ESXi

ClearOS ships with 3 editions: Business, Home and Community. For the purpose of this article we are going to use the Community edition. As soon as we have downloaded the ClearOS ISO we are then ready to create the virtual machine using the Create New Machine Wizard in vCenter or vSphere Web Client.

ClearOS uses a Linux OS based on CentOS so a selection like the one below would be a good fit.

domalab.com Install ClearOS Select Guest OS

Next would be to select the Datastore as to where this virtual machine will be located. Actually to install ClearOS does not require a lot of space but future deployments of apps storing content (eg. Web content filter includes the option to create a cache for downloaded files).

It really depends on different needs. For those who want to know more accurate sizing can consult the information about the minimum system requirements. Of course extra we can add virtual disks later on.

domalab.com Install ClearOS select storage

As I’m looking primarily at a network router with some extra functionalities a 20GB disk would be enough to accommodate my requirements. Let’s make sure we connect to the downloaded ISO and proceed with the next steps.

domalab.com Install ClearOS Customize settings

As soon as we are booting the VM the installation menu appears including the ability to test the media along with additional troubleshooting.

domalab.com Install ClearOS Boot installer

The installer starts.. and for advanced troubleshooting, logging or mere curiosity it is possible to switch to other sessions as well in pure Linux style!

domalab.com Install ClearOS Boot install

We are ready to begin the wizard by selecting the appropriate settings.

domalab.com Install ClearOS install wizard

From this menu we can select different options. Since the Network has not been setup as of yet we’ll start from this one also to make sure the network card is working with the correct driver.

domalab.com Install ClearOS install summary

A network card has been recognised and installed (ens160). We can also add devices for NIC teaming and bonding rather than other configuration including VLANs. Not needed for now and good to know ClearOS supports such configurations.

domalab.com Install ClearOS network adapter config

By clicking on configure we are presented with the following.

domalab.com Install ClearOS network config

Let’s jump toIPv4 Settings to setup a manual IP Address. I prefer to avoid DHCP configurations for Servers and have an easier life with manual IP allocations for them. Also I also recommend to create DNS entries for forward and reverse DNS name resolution.

domalab.com Install ClearOS network IP address

Once done let’s move the slider to “power on” the device.

domalab.com Install ClearOS Network summary

At this point we are ready to decide about the ClearOS disk partitioning. Again this could be a fully automatic or manual process.

domalab.com Install ClearOS disk partition

Once we are happy with the general settings we are now ready to begin the installation

During the installation phase the wizard proposes the root password setup.

As per screenshot below let’s go for a strong password.

A few moment later we can simply login to a Web page to carry on with the rest of the configuration. By default this would be


All we have to to is to provide the credential we have chose earlier and progress with the next article of ClearOS configuration.

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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