Newb needs help installing pfSense in ESXi 4.1



  • I'm having troubles getting pfSense to install in my VM instance.  I setup the VM with defaults and select FreeBSD as type, then when I go to the console it tries to startup, but it doesn't seem to find my DVD.  It goes straight to booting from my NIC card.

    Do I need to setup a DVD somewhere?  I tried using the connect CD/DVD device, but it always reports disconnecting device every time I press it.

    Is there a special ISO I need to install pfSense?  Or a OVA pre-configured file somewhere?

    I tried installing the virtual appliance and tools, but I don't know when/when/how to install it.  I see no options that allow me to load them in.

    I would be forever grateful for any help.
    -=Mark=-



  • download iso image from pfsense.org

    extract image and copy to vm host datastore

    edit pfsense vm properties as follows
    -top of properties page select connect cd/dvd at power on
    -mid properties page select the iso image as the boot device

    boot vm and do the install
    after the install shut down the vm when it says it will reboot and disconnect the cd/dvd or it will just want to do the install  again.



  • I'm a newb to ESXi and just don't know how to accomplish any of these tasks except downloading and extracting iso.

    I went to datastore to copy the image and can't find an option for this feat.  I even added another hard drive and it found it and created a datastore named pfSense, but can't figure out how to load in image.

    the other steps are over my head as well.  I've downloaded a bunch of ESXi PDFs, but they too don't go into much detail on each step.

    Thanks for your help and at least I now have some steps to research and hopefully google will help me along the way.

    -=Mark=-



  • OK, I fiddled around with datastore and got it to load the image file, except it was an IMG file.  I went to the downloads section and seen there are a set of two that are ISO only, and all the others are img.  Is the ISO images for ESXi specifically?  or what is the difference.

    anyway, on boot after creating a WAN and LAN vswitch, it doesn't find the WAN port at all.  I had the Ethernet for both WAN and LAN disconnected and connected WAN when asked for it and got nothing.  Not even a link up or down like I was getting when I was installing pfSense by itself without ESXi so I could make sure everything was configured properly before attempting a VM.

    The vswitches should be fine as I have untangle assigned to them now.  I made sure untangle VM was exited and shut down before I started the pfSense VM.  maybe they are still tied up or something causing some sort of conflict?

    Again, thanks for your help.
    -=Mark=-



  • make sure to use the E1000 as your nic type and connect at power on.

    assign a physical nic to each Vswitch for the wan and lan

    once you get the hang of vm's for pfsense, it is so easy to try new builds out and keep one as a good working backup



  • Yes, they are already set for e1000 and connect at power on.  one nic for WAN and another for LAN, plus one for ESXi's management port.

    It just keep hanging on trying to find the WAN port.  I just remembered I do have WAN and LAN to promiscuous Mode for Untangle.  Will that interfere?

    I also have the ethernet cables for WAN LAN disconnected during setup, and then plug them in when asked to setup WAN.  Is there a different way to do this?

    Is there a way to test WAN and LAN before attempting to installing pfSense.

    also, I don't have the VMWare appliance and tools installed.  are they needed for installation?

    Thanks
    -=Mark=-



  • The hang is normal.  I am running pfsense 2.0 under ESXi and it works fine.  It will hang for a minute or two trying to get a WAN IP and then will proceed.  Also, not trying to bust your chops here, but while I understand there is a learning curve for the ESXi interface, asking about it on the pfsense forum is not likely to be helpful.  I highly recommend one of the Scott Lowe books.  You're asking for trouble by deploying a less common VM (pfsense) while still learning the ESXi basics.  One thing I recommend once you are up: make sure you install the vmware tools for pfsense.  Also I do recommend the e1000 virtual NIC.



  • Thanks for your reply.  I watched some ESX video tutorials and they were most helpful.  Unfortunately after finishing the lessons my whole ESXi went bonkers.  Even my working VMs stopped working properly.  After much troubleshooting and finally losing ESXi completely I was forced to reset ESXi configurations and after reinstalling pfsense from scratch all is working great. as is Untangle.

    Now to figure out how to get the two to work together.

    Thanks again
    -=Mark=-



  • I had one minor issue upon installing pfSense 1.2.3 on ESXi.  It said there was a NIC mismatch and listed my NICs as em0 and em1.  Is this normal behavior in a virtual machine?  or is there a misconfiguration on my part?

    Picture of error:




  • that's normal behaviour of pfsense, on first setup, it prompts you to setup the interfaces. In this case 'mismatch' means 'not configured'.



  • That's what I assumed since it worked in the end.  Just strange I never received that mismatch message or the nic listings when installing pfsense on my spare pc about a dozen times trying to figure out the program.  Maybe ESXi environment freaked out pfsense and made it recheck for nics?

    Glad there was no major issues.

    Thanks
    -=Mark=-
    ps, I never did get auto-config to work and had to manually chose the nics.



  • @thermo:

    that's normal behaviour of pfsense, on first setup, it prompts you to setup the interfaces. In this case 'mismatch' means 'not configured'.

    Hi I'm struggling with this too. I'm running pfsense vs 1.2.3 (latest I think) I have 3 ports on the host. One for management of the host and it has a couple of guests running.
    The other two ports are configured for the firewall WAN and LAN connected to a virtual switch for each port. So 3 nics 3 virtual switches.
    When I install pfsesne it all goes reasonably well only it doesn't seem to recognise the NICs. I get a mismatch, and it wont let me configure the nics.
    If I follow the wizard it just errors and says no interfaces present. It just isn't seeing them. I have tried configuring the two FW nics as E1000 and several other options, but same result, on one of the other options I think it saw the nics but still would not let me configure.
    Im OK on pfsense and have configured this version before no problems. Any clues?



  • @abnz

    Get pfsense 2.0 , its much better then 1.2.3, also make sure your network interfaces are set to E1000 in your VM settings.



  • @abnz:

    @thermo:

    that's normal behaviour of pfsense, on first setup, it prompts you to setup the interfaces. In this case 'mismatch' means 'not configured'.

    Hi I'm struggling with this too. I'm running pfsense vs 1.2.3 (latest I think) I have 3 ports on the host. One for management of the host and it has a couple of guests running.
    The other two ports are configured for the firewall WAN and LAN connected to a virtual switch for each port. So 3 nics 3 virtual switches.
    When I install pfsesne it all goes reasonably well only it doesn't seem to recognise the NICs. I get a mismatch, and it wont let me configure the nics.
    If I follow the wizard it just errors and says no interfaces present. It just isn't seeing them. I have tried configuring the two FW nics as E1000 and several other options, but same result, on one of the other options I think it saw the nics but still would not let me configure.
    Im OK on pfsense and have configured this version before no problems. Any clues?

    I get this error every time I setup pfsense with ESXi.  I figured out it is an issue with my modem.  It locks itself to the PCs MAC address and ESXi changes it, so you have to unplug the modem and plug it in again for it to sync up with the virtual MAC address.

    The easy way is to unplug all Ethernet cables on the PC and plug in the one setup asks for and it finds them quicker.  Otherwise it turns into a guessing game and whether or not the modem is synced up or you have the right port selected.

    hopefully this does the trick for you.
    -=Mark=-



  • Regarding ESXi install, VMware doesn't allow you to connect to a CD or DVD drive while the power is off and once you turn the power on it fails to find a boot device.

    You can go to the configurations page and under the advanced settings set it to auto-reboot every 10seconds if it fails to boot the first time (at least you can do this in ESXi 5.0). Power the VM on and then connect the media device (USB, CD, DVD, etc.) and then wait the 10sec and it'll reboot, find the drive and you are good to go!

    Hopefully this will help in the future if someone searches for this.



  • I did this just the other day and in my vSphere I do have an option "connected on power on"


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