Install Nutanix CE on ESXi


Nutanix Community Edition or CE for short is available for free download from Nutanix and traditionally would be run on some decent hardware. However, for everyone out there with a home or internal lab it’s valuable to be able to nest Nutanix CE on ESXi. There are several guides out there but it seems that the more recent editions of Nutanix CE have introduced bugs when nesting on ESXi. This requires techies to go to several places to find all of the answers. My goal is to consolidate all of the information that is required to run Nutanix CE on ESXi 6.5 as of today.


ESXi 6.5
Nutanix CE 2018.01.31


  1. Download the Nutanix Community Edition image from
    1. Note: You will need to register to download and activate the image
  2. Extract the image so you have a .img file (i.e. ce-2018.01.31-stable.img)
  3. Rename the .img file to a ce-flat.vmdk
  4. Download the VMDK descriptor file from here.
  5. Rename the descriptor file from ce.txt to ce.vmdk
  6. Enable promiscuous mode on the vSwitch that will be attached to the Nutanix VM

Create the Blank VM

Create a new VM from scratch in ESXi with a minimum of the following specs:

  1. CentOS 5/6/7+ 64-Bit (the version of CentOS doesn’t matter)
  2. 12 vCPUs
    1. Check-off Expose hardware assisted virtualization to the guest OS
  3. 16GB RAM
  4. 500GB SCSI Hard Drive
  5. 200GB SCSI Hard Drive (SSD if possible)

Upload and Attach VMDK

  1. Browse to the folder where the Nutanix VM was created
  2. Upload the ce-flat.vmdk file first
  3. Upload the ce.vmdk file next (it will automatically disappear)
  4. Edit the VM you created and attach the VMDK you just uploaded using the SATA adapter

Boot, Customize and Install

  • Login with root and nutanix/4u
  • Edit /home/install/phx_iso/phoenix/ and find the lines that begin with:
    1. SSD_rdIOPS_thresh
    2. SSD_wrIOPS_thresh
  • Update them both from 5000 to 100 (i.e. SSD_rdIOPS_thresh = 100)



  • Edit /home/install/phx_iso/phoenix/svm_template/kvm/default.xml and find the </features> line
  • Directly before that line add a line that says <pmu state=’off’ />





  • cd to /var/cache/libvirt/qemu/capabilities/
  • Edit the one xml file in the directory
  • Browse to the bottom and delete the following line
  • Change the first machine name line from 7.3.0 to 7.2.0



  • Reboot the VM
  • Login with the install user to begin the installation
  • Viola!


Step by step how to install Nutanix CE nested on VMware ESXi

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