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AMD Ryzen with VMware ESXi a Pink Screen of Death
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AMD Ryzen with VMware ESXi a Pink Screen of Death

by Patrick KennedyMarch 5, 2017

Since we already covered Debian based Ubuntu as well as CentOS and how to fix their crashes with Ryzen and get those systems working, we instead changed our attention to VMware ESXi 6.5. The current AMD Ryzen 7 1700 is a low cost 8 core 16 thread option. Especially given the fact that for $329 you get a CPU and heatsink, you can get a $99 motherboard, and add up to 64GB RAM for around $400. That means that with an inexpensive case and PSU for around $900 you can have an 8 core 16 thread system with 64GB of RAM making it one of the best value home server systems around. The question we had was whether VMware ESXi 6.5 would work with AMD Ryzen 7 chips.

Setting Up AMD Ryzen with VMware ESXi 6.5

We took a fairly simple test system and got everything ready to install ESXi. Here is the basic configuration:

We knew the ASUS motherboard’s Realtek NIC was not ideal for VMware so we added the XL710-DA2 40GbE adapter as this setup is going into the DemoEval lab next.

Starting VMware ESXi 6.5 Installation on AMD Ryzen

We started the boot process with the VMware ESXi 6.5 installer ISO over our Lantronix KVM. The results were less than promising:

As you can see, VMware seems to not like the default configuration of the AMD Ryzen. For those wondering, we did try both UEFI and standard BIOS booting, as well as switching the installation media to a USB key with the same result, the dreaded VMware ESXi Pink Screen of Death. This is something we hope will be fixed before the AMD Naples server platform launch. VMware still has a large ecosystem.

The good news is that AMD-V extensions are present on the AMD Ryzen CPUs. Furthermore, virtualization does work using KVM using the newer Linux kernels. We even have AMD Ryzen systems in our Docker Swarm cluster. You can see our CentOS and Ubuntu guides for getting Kernel 4.10.1 installed with Ryzen.

VMware is not known for leading hardware support so this result should be little surprise to most in the industry. We suspect that as the AMD Naples platform is released we will see VMware support Zen virtualization.

About The Author
Patrick Kennedy
Patrick has been running ServeTheHome since 2009 and covers a wide variety of home and small business IT topics. For his day job, Patrick is a management consultant focused in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about basic server building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.
13 Comments
  • Deepesh Rajpal
    March 6, 2017 at 12:30 am

    Hello Patrick,

    Since you installed Linux on Ryzen. It will be a great help for many of us home lab users who wish to upgrade if you can Please check if we install VMware workstation and install ESXi inside it then it also give Purple Screen of Death or not.

    I want to upgrade to Ryzen and want to use it as home lab for Linux and other os and wants to know if there will be any issues with it.

    Thank you

    • March 6, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Hi Deepesh,

      Will see if we can get that scheduled on one of the boxes.

      As far as Linux goes, we have the guides for CentOS and Ubuntu so you can get a KVM-based Linux virtualization setup working easily.

  • Deepesh
    March 6, 2017 at 3:37 am

    I forget to mention that VMware Player is free and I believe we can install Esxi on it. It will be great help if you can help us by checking installing Esxi 6.5 and older versions inside Vmware workstation.

  • Jimmy
    March 6, 2017 at 6:51 am

    Interesting. I had this same question about using the new chips to run a new home lab server but it appears is not yet ready. Ryzen shouldn’t be a problem on something like Proxmox though, right?

  • Deepesh
    March 6, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Thanks I will look forward for the results. Please include Linux on top of VMware player / workstation if possible without kernel upgrade to check older Linux test scenarios for comparability.
    Apologies in advance if I am asking too much.

  • D Patel
    March 7, 2017 at 7:17 am

    I was thinking to get CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1700X for home esxi server. Will Ryzen ever work with older or newer version of esxi ?

  • Peter Watts
    March 7, 2017 at 10:29 am

    What about running VMWare Workstation, any issues running Windows/Linux as a guest?

  • Don
    March 22, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    ESXi 6.5 on Ryzen 1800+ Can confirm pink screen

  • Chris
    March 23, 2017 at 6:11 am

    Any updates on whether a Ryzen 7 CPU can run VMWare Workstation OK with Windows/Linux and potentially ESXi as a VM? This would be a fantastic setup for an ESX home lab and until VMWare get ESXi working on bare metal, it’d be nice to know what the options are using VMWare Workstation as a base initially.
    Many thanks.
    Chris

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