Historically, the adoption rate on major server releases is slow. With Windows Server 2016 about to hit one year in the release cycle, more organizations are gearing up to deploy the operating system in their environments. That being the case, it seemed appropriate to walk through an install of Microsoft Windows Server 2016 as the guest OS in a vSphere 6.5 environment.

NOTE – Server 2016 is fully supported from ESXi 5.5 and up, as per the VMware Compatibility Guide.

Create New Windows Server 2016 Virtual Machine

From the vSphere Web Client, right-click the designated host or cluster, and select New Virtual Machine.

New Virtual Machine

The New Virtual Machine Wizard will begin. First, select the creation type. For this tutorial, we chose to Create a new virtual machine.

Create New VM

Enter the virtual machine name and select the target folder location.

VM Name

Next, select the ESXi host or cluster to run the virtual machine.

VM Compute

Select the datastore to store the virtual machine files.

VM Storage

For compatibility, select ESXi 6.5 and later.

VM Compatibility

For the Guest OS Family and Version, select Windows and Microsoft Windows Server 2016 (64-bit), respectively.

VM Operating System

Next, configure the virtual machine hardware as necessary. For this tutorial, the install will utilize a Server 2016 ISO located on a local datastore. To connect the file, select Datasore ISO File from the CD/DVD drop down. Click the Browse button to locate the ISO file.

Configure VM

Select the Server 2016 ISO from the datastore.

Server 2016 ISO

Lastly, check the Connect at Power On check box to ensure the VM boots into the server installer.

Customize VM

Review the configuration and select Finish to deploy the virtual machine.

VM Finish

After deployed, Power On the virtual machine.

VM Power On

Open the virtual machine’s console to begin setting up Windows.

Open Console

Install Windows Server 2016

From the Windows Setup screen, select the pertinent language, time, and keyboard.

Setup Windows 2016

Next, click Install Now.

Install Windows Server 2016

Select the operating system to install. The Desktop Experience option includes the standard GUI.

Windows 2016 GUI

Read the notices and terms. Accept to continue.

Windows 2016 EULA

Select Custom for the installation type. This option is for new installs.

Server 2016 Custom Install

Choose the drive to install Windows. Click Next to begin the installation.

Server 2016 Storage

The installation of Windows will now begin.

Install Windows Server 2016

Finally, set the password for the administrator account and click Finish.

Set Server 2016 Admin Password

Windows Server Guest OS Install – VMware Documentation

If you are looking to upgrade your VMware environment to 6.5, check out this tutorial.