This article describes how you can inject Dell OMSA VIB (and other things) in the ESXi install ISO.

This can be a quite complex and time-consuming task, but i found some really good information from William Lam who has been exploring the VMware autodeploy appliance which was supposed to be a part of the vSphere 4.1 GA. Unfortunately it was dropped. It is now available as a FLING under technical preview licens at VMware Labs. There are quite many other useful things you can find there as well.

Important! This is today not supported by VMware so you use it on your own risk.

Download and setup the autodeploy appliance and then you are ready to go.

Use your tool of choise (fastSCP, WinSCP, etc) to copy over the ESXi.iso and the VIB´s you want to inject to the autodeploy appliance.

Files i used:

OMSA VIB available at support.dell.com – OM-SrvAdmin-Dell-Web-6.4.0-1266.VIB-ESX41i_A00.7.zip
Dell customized ESXi 4.1 (Build 260247) available on support.dell.com and vmware.com - VMware-VMvisor-installer-4.1-260247-x86_64_Dell_Cusomized_A01.iso
(The Dell specific customization of this build is a VIB which contains URL updates pointing to Dell support on the DCUI screen for OEM customers)

Now you need to mount the iso and extract the imagedd.bz2 from the install iso.

mount -o loop /pathtoiso /mnt/iso

bunzip2 -c /mnt /iso/imaged.bz2 > imagedd (extracts imagedd in working directory)

In the autodeploy appliance there is a utility called vibddi which is very interesting. You can do a lot of stuff with it. Inject VIB´s, license files, change kernel parameters etc. in this case we will inject the Dell OpenManage VIB for ESXi.

To start we can query the original imagedd to see what’s in it.

sudo vibddi -i imagedd -q

imagedd -q

Next step is to inject the OMSA vib

sudo vibddi -i imagedd -o OM-SrvAdmin-Dell-Web-6.4.0-1266.VIB-ESX41i_A00.7.zip -n

vibddi -i imageadd

Now you can verify that OMSA was injected

sudo vibddi -i imagedd -q

check for OMSA

So far everything is ok.

Now we need to compress the new imagedd file and build a new iso containing the compressed imagedd file.

bzip2 /pathtonewdiskimage/imagedd

Now we need to copy the content of the original ESXi iso (VMware-VMvisor-Installer-4.1-260247-x86_64_Dell-Customized_A01.iso) to a temporary directory.

cp -r /mnt/iso / /tmp

Now, replace imagedd.bz2 with the one you have customized.

cp imagedd.bz2 /tmp/iso/imagedd.bz2

When that is done, the final step is to create a bootable iso from this directory.

cd /tmp/iso && mkisofs -o /tmp/custom_esxi41.iso -b isolinux.bin -c boot.catalog -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table ./

If everything want well you now have an ESXi installer which includes the OpenManage Agent. What you need to do when the install is done is to configure SNMP.

Whitepaper on configuring SNMP on ESXi is available here.
More info on systems managebility of VMware ESXi on dell Servers can be found here.

Enjoy!