Running nested VMware ESXi 7.0 host under KVM hypervisor

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  • hardware support for VT-x
  • enabled nested virtualization for KVM

Use below command to create KVM virtual machine containing VMware ESXi:

virt-install --virt-type=kvm --name=vmware-esxi7 \
--ram 4096 --vcpus=4 \
--virt-type=kvm --hvm \
--cdrom /home/pawel/ISO/VMware/VMware-VMvisor-Installer-7.0U3d-19482537.x86_64.iso \
--network network:default,model=vmxnet3 \
--graphics vnc --video qxl \
--disk pool=default,size=32,sparse=true,bus=sata,format=qcow2 \
--boot cdrom,hd --noautoconsole --force \
--cpu host-passthrough --os-variant linux2020

Key difference comparing to ESXi 6.7 and older KVM versions:

  • use VMXNET3 network interface (E1000 network interface is not supported under ESXi 7.0)
  • use SATA disk bus controller instead of IDE (IDE controller is not supported in newer KVM versions under Q35 hardware)