May 11

AutoLab Video Series Part 3 – Building the DC and Hosts

This is the third video in my AutoLab Video Series. In the first video I covered obtaining AutoLab and configuring VMware Workstation. The second video walked through populating the AutoLab build share.

This video covers building the Domain Controller (DC) and ESXi hosts (Host1, Host2, and Host3) using the AutoLab automation. The Domain Controller provides the Active Directory infrastructure, the PXE infrastructure, the DNS services, and the database services for the AutoLab environment. The hosts will become the nested ESXi servers of the AutoLab environment.

The AutoLab automation configures all of the services running on the DC. This give you more time to use the lab for the intended purpose – working with vSphere. The ESXi host install and the base configuration has also been automated, but there is also an option to manually install and configure a host. Building the DC (and configuring all the services) and the installation of ESXi on the 3 hosts took less than 2 hours to finish.

Video Links:
AutoLab – http://www.labguides.com/autolab/

If you are a student and you need a copy of VMware Workstation you can get an Academic discount version of VMware Workstation or VMware Fusion here!

The next video will cover the AutoLab vCenter Server build.

About the author


Hersey Cartwright is an IT professional with extensive experience designing, implementing, managing, and supporting technologies that improve business processes. Hersey is Solutions Architect for SimpliVity covering Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland. He holds the VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX-DV #128) certification. Hersey actively participates in the VMware community and was awarded the VMware vExpert title in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012. He enjoys working with, teaching, and writing about virtualization and other data center technologies. Follow Hersey on Twitter @herseyc


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  1. Garry C

    These are great videos! One question:
    Where did the login box come from for your first login to ESXi Host one? It just automagically appeared…


    1. vHersey


      Glad you enjoy the videos. I had already opened the vSphere Client that was already installed on my local workstation. That is what I used to log in to the host once the build was complete.


  2. Mohammad Yoga R

    Great tutorial!
    I have one problem. When I power on Host1 for install ESXi 5.5 update 1, error happened:
    Error loading /ESXi55/sb.v00
    Fatal error: 6 (Buffer too small)

    I found one solution from google, i need verify md5 checksum. After verify, not matched, so I redownload new ESXi 5.5 update 1. But, when I try power on Host1 again, still same error shown.

    Do you have any suggest or solution for this problem?

    Thank you Hersey!

    1. vHersey


      Thanks for stopping by and glad you are enjoying the videos.

      It is more than likely still an issue with the ISO. Did you verify the md5 checksum on the newly download ISO?

      1. Mohammad Yoga R


        I already verify md5 checksum and matched. But still found fatal error (buffer too small).
        Maybe I will i try change ISO to 5.1. I hope that’s will smooth running.

        Is there any problem beside ISO issue?


      2. Mohammad Yoga R


        I just tried 5.1, found problem when validate DC:
        “matching vcenter & esxi distribution not found. please check build share”


        Is it compatible?

        And another question, is it problem if i extracted Lab_Local to C:\Users\CTI\Documents? Not C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation.


        1. Eric

          Mohammad, i think the problem is with the validate.ps script itself. I believe there is a problem with the following line:

          } else {
          Write-Host “vCenter 5.5 & ESXi 5.5 not found.” -foregroundcolor “cyan”
          $vSphere51 = $false

          It’s checking for 55 but it sets $vSphere51=$false instead of $vSphere55.

  3. Chuck Keith

    Anyone seen the below error when trying to setup host1? Actually, i get the same error for all 3 hosts builds.

    “Error (see log for more info):
    cannot open file
    [Errno 2] No such file or directory: ‘/tardisks/xhcixhc.v00’

    1. Chuck Keith


    2. Ken Michiels

      Chuck Keith. I just got that error. When I clicked Enter to continue, it returned ‘The system was not installed correctly’. Enter again and it started the process again.

  4. Mat

    (How to Install Autolab without DRS on a single ESXi 5.5 host) – hi there, I received a really kickass production server for free, so I was hoping to run with this Autolab setup for my VCP5 studies. The instructions (and my apologies if I missed something) seem to cover the setup that uses DRS (and the deployment functions of vsphere), so I’m wondering if there are instructions or videos on how to do the setup without DRS. There is a reference saying this build is much more work which I am okay with, but I think I must be missing something. Any help or guidance would be awesome, and again, apologies if I have missed something obvious! (I should mention I am using version 2 of the Autolab)

  5. vinnie

    These are great videos. Thanks Hersey
    One question on version 2.6
    Can i use this version to build ESXi6.0?

  6. vinnie

    please advise for this error message during DC build
    Service Tftpd32_svc running.
    Service SQL Server (SQLEXPRESS) not running.
    Service SQLBrowser not running.
    Service VMTools running.
    Check DNS
    DNS OK for dc.lab.local
    DNS OK for vc.lab.local
    DNS OK for vma.lab.local
    DNS OK for nas.lab.local
    DNS OK for host1.lab.local
    DNS OK for host2.lab.local
    DNS OK for vcd.lab.local
    DNS OK for vcd-proxy.lab.local
    DNS OK for vshield.lab.local
    DNS OK for
    DNS OK for
    DNS OK for
    DNS OK for
    DNS OK for
    DNS OK for
    DNS OK for
    DNS OK for
    DNS OK for
    The final result
    * Oh dear, we seem to have a problem
    * Check the build log to see what failed
    Press to exit:

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