Sunday, March 24, 2013

ESXi 5 Server on a Thinkpad T420

Well, it looks like I may be getting a new laptop so I'll need to retire my trusty less than one year old Sandy Bridge Thinkpad T420. And that retirement plan is re-purposing it to run as a mobile VMware ESXi 5 Virtualization server. Yep, running ESXi on a Thinkpad. How insane is that!

In fact, it may be one of the best laptops for running ESXi. Why? This particular T420 has
eSATAp, removable drive bay, and cheap 16GB RAM upgrade. RAM is the most important thing with a VM server and this has plenty to run half or so dozen LAMP stacks.

eSATAp uses USB and eSATA in a single connection. This means you can power external 2.5" SATA drives. Or, you can also use an eSATA dock but that defeats the portability factor.

Want more permanent storage? Well, you have three internal drives if you choose to replace the DVD drive with a HDD DriveBay module. You get the internal 2.5 HDD, the mSATA slot, and drivebay.

See, this is exactly what I mean:

What can I say. This Thinkpad will live on and continue to make an important contribution in this one geek's life. I already have a Fuji MX130 running as my home lab ESXi server but I can use the Thinkpad to shuttle VMFS data stores, and do live presentations.


  1. This is exactly what I am doing, however it doesn't see my NIC and won't install. Got any ideas?

  2. I am having exactly the same issue - cannot get the NIC working, only have access to Win10 machines which doesn't let the vmware build customiser work. Any suggestions ?