My plan here is not to reinvent the wheel, William Lam has provided lot’s of detail on what’s needed / how to, including a new post on getting Pi OS running! + you will also find the resources you need over at the Flings page.

See below some photos, my experience and my “upgrades” to the Pi 4b 8G which is now running my vSAN Witness.

NOTE!! You can’t use the Pi’s SD cards as storage for a Datastore / vSAN, so just use the smallest / cheapest MicroSD card to run the UEFI boot loader from.

I did end up using a MicroSD as storage in ESXi by using a cheap MicroSD to USB adapter.

!!!!SOLID AS A ROCK!!!!!

My previous vSAN witness was a Virtual ESXi host running on VMware Workstation, the hardware… an old ASUS U36SD laptop…


U36SD | Laptops | ASUS Global


It resembles Frankenstein more than anything but hey beggars can’t be chooser’s… I had to strip it apart due to overheating as the thing is about 10 years old. (Thanks to the ESXionARM running my witness, the laptop is now free for me to use as a dodgy standalone NSX-V Edge)

The install process is very simple, I just followed the documentation in the PDF below.

I did end up adding a heatsink directly on the Pi’s CPU, like below.

10Pcs Gdstime 25x25x10mm 25mm 10mm Black Aluminum Cooler Radiator Heat Sink  Heatsink for Stepper Drive MOSFET VRM Vram IC Chips|Fans & Cooling| -  AliExpress

Then I had to sandwich some thin metal plates between it and the heatsink / fan from an old AMD ATI Radeon HD6450 for some active cooling. AMD ATI Radeon HD6450 ati-102-c26405 1 GB visualización DVI  Puerto PCI-E tarjeta de vídeo 03173 K: Computers & Accessories

And then cable tied it all together.

The great thing about this solution was it was free (salvage parts to the rescue!) But the icing on the top was the fact I just plugged the fan straight into the Pi’s Header’s 5V and GND!

Anyway, I hope I gave you some ideas to hobble your own ESXIonARM solution together!