Background:

Based on William Lam’s guide. Link :https://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2020/10/how-to-run-raspberry-pi-os-as-a-vm-on-esxi-arm.html
DietPi DietPi is a Debian based Linux image. It is designed for low compute Single Board PCs. It optimized for miniture RAM and CPU resources. I highly recommend you check it out. https://dietpi.com/
ESXi on ARM ESXI on ARM is a VMware Fling built to run on 64-Bit computers. One of the most popular is the Raspberry Pi 4. Blog Post: https://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2020/10/announcing-the-esxi-arm-fling.html


Let us get started

Before you begin you will need to grab the image. As of this writing I recommend using the 32-Bit image of DietPi. These same steps should apply to 64-bit verison as well.


The first step we need to do is use a Debian based machine to use QEMU Utilities. This can be on any machine but for these steps I used a Debian machine. SSH into the machine and run the below commands.

    sudo apt-get -y install qemu unzip wget qemu-utils p7zip p7zip-full
    wget https://dietpi.com/downloads/images/testing/DietPi_RPi-ARMv8-Buster.7z
    7z x DietPi_RPi-ARMv8-Buster.7z
    rm DietPi_RPi-ARMv8-Buster.7z
    qemu-img convert -f raw DietPi_RPi-ARMv8-Buster.img -O vmdk DietPi_RPi-ARMv8-Buster.vmdk

Now we need to move the file to our VMware ESXi datastore. You can choose different ways to do this but I chose to SCP to my local machine, then to upload it. As such:

scp dietpi@192.168.0.112:/home/DietPi_RPi-ARMv6-Buster.vmdk_ /Users/andrew

Once the files is on a datastore, SSH into any ESXi host and then run the vmfstools on the vmdk. As such:

    vmkfstools -i /vmfs/volumes/NAS-02-HD/DietPi_RPi-ARMv8-Buster.vmdk_ -d thin Dietpi-arm64.vmdk

Now you can delete the old vmdk. Then go into VCenter (or ESXi) and create new VM on the Raspberry Pi. Make sure you set the VM as a ESXi 7 Hardware level and as a Debian 10 VM. That is all for part 1. Part 2 is coming soon. Let me know if you have any questions or feedback.