How to Enable Support for Nested 64bit VMs in vSphere ESXi 5.x and ESXi 6.x

With the release of the latest vSphere 6.x, its a challenge to run VM with a 64-bit configuration and by default if you install ESXi6.x on top of your ESXi6.x running in physical machine can only support 32-bit virtual machines. In this short article we can enable one liner command to add in our configuration to able to support 64-bit such as the Windows 2008 R2 64-bit and Windows 2012 R2 64-bit. This is very helpful for those planning to learn the features of the VMware technology and great to studying certification.

Step 1: Assuming that you already installed your latest copy of vSphere ESXi 6.x in your physical machine now you need to enable the ssh feature in your ESXi6

Configuration -> Software -> Security Profile -> Services -> Properties

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Step 2: Now ssh to your Physical Machine running vsphere  ESXi6 and append to the last line the vhv.enable = “TRUE”.

Adding vhv.allow = “TRUE” works if your physical host is ESXi 5.0 and below
Adding vhv.enable = “TRUE” is needed if your physical host is ESXi 5.1. and ESXi 6 later

For vSphere ESXi 6 and later edit the file in /etc/vmware/config using vi or alternatively you can run this command inside your terminal

echo ‘vhv.enable = “TRUE”‘ >> /etc/vmware/config

vhv.enable = “TRUE”

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For vSphere ESXi 5.0 and below edit the file in /etc/vmware/config using vi or alternatively you can run this command inside your terminal

echo ‘vhv.allow = “TRUE”‘ >> /etc/vmware/config

vhv.allow= “TRUE”

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Then to verify your configuration if its applied use the command below

cat /etc/vmware/config

Note: That this configuration does not require reboot and this will be applied immediately after you save. And you can create the VM guest now to install the Windows 2008R2 64-bit

Step 3: Install your latest vSphere ESXi 6.x

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Select Other -> Version -> VMware ESXi 6.x

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Step 4: Now proceed to create guest VM and this will be the hardware configuration
Guest Operating System: Windows
Version: Microsoft Windows Server R2 (64-bit)
Hardware Version: 10

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And then that’s it its done you have a running Windows 2008 R2 64-bit now and can install other appliances running in 64-bit without any issues.

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