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On a previous post, I’ve write on how build custom ESXi ISO with 3rd part tools. Those tools are not mentioned by VMware so probably are not supported. But you need a custom ISO in order to install ESXi on a host where the network drivers are missing (storage could be not an issue if you install it on a USB/Flash card).

The other solutions are use a vendor related custom ISO or the embedded version that probably already include the right drivers.

But in order to build your custom ISO you could use the same framework designed for the AutoDeploy solution. The advantages if that you study and understand better this part, that could be useful for the VCAP-DCA exam (for example).

The main tool is the ImageBuilder that could arrange an ISO with the following components:


Usually you need more drivers, but could be useful also to add other VIBs.

Image Builder is a set of command-line utilities (based on VMware vSphere PowerCLI) that are used to create and manage image profiles.An image profile is a group of VIBs that are used to create an ESXi image. The architecture is based on the concept of software depot (logical group of VIBs and image profiles) and software channel (used to group different types of VIBs at a software depot):


First set of Power-CLI commands are common:

set-executionpolicy unrestricted
connect-viserver vCenter_FQDN

After that, you have to add your offline bundle VIB files and verify each package:


Now you can work with the image profile by cloning it and modify with your new packages:

new-esximageprofile -cloneprofile original_profile_name -name "profile_name"
add-esxsoftwarepackage -imageprofile "profile_name" -softwarepackage package_name
export-esximageprofile -imageprofile "profile_name" -filepath c:depotesxi-profile_name.iso -exporttoiso –force

Andrea MauroAbout Andrea Mauro (2942 Posts)

Virtualization, Cloud and Storage Architect. Tech Field delegate. VMUG IT Co-Founder and board member. VMware VMTN Moderator and vExpert 2010-18. Dell TechCenter Rockstar 2014-15. Microsoft MVP 2014-16. Veeam Vanguard 2015-18. Nutanix NTC 2014-18. PernixPro 2014-16. Several certifications including: VCDX-DCV, VCP-DCV/DT/Cloud, VCAP-DCA/DCD/CIA/CID/DTA/DTD, MCSA, MCSE, MCITP, CCA, NPP.