Installing ESXi on an Intel NUC11

Most of my personal workloads today run in the cloud, but there are use cases (e.g. this annoying Unifi Bug) where I want a server inside our home network. I recently set up an Intel NUC (specifically, a NUC11PAH with an i5) for this version with the awesome free version of ESXi for provisioning workloads. If you are a VCDX or similar you can probably do this in your sleep, but for the rest of us here are step-by-step instructions.

The main challenge is that the standard ESXi installer currently doesn’t have the necessary networking drivers for the NUC11. This means we have to roll our own offline install image. To do this, you will need a Windows host. While there is a MacOS version of Powershell and PowerCLI, it doesn’t support the functionality to create custom .iso images yet.

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