I found a nifty trick with ESXi.
If you want to use an NVMe Drive as your main datastore, you can install to it as normal, but the Dell R720 will not boot to it. (at least in my case, using a Kingston A2000 NVMe SSD on an Orico PCIe Adapter card)
The UEFI simply doesnt see it as a drive.
But what you can do is create a 4GB HDD partition on the vFlash SD card, and install ESXi to that.
While smaller than the minimum disk size of 8GB, the installer will run correctly.
You can then reboot the system, and boot off the 4GB vFlash partition.
Somehow ESXi seems to realise what’s going on and switches over to the NVMe drive!
When it boots up, you will find that your datastore resides on the NVMe drive.
3 thoughts on “Booting ESXi on a Dell R720 from an NVMe Drive”
can bios patch drivers for nvme drives/pcie adapter cards into the dell bios to make it recognize those devices pre OS load so they can be used as boot drives. Should be a few guides on google that tell you how to do it, there are a few programs that automate the process somewhat use the ones that don’t popup as infected with ai malware or trojans.
This is working for now, couldn’t find any guides:(
first result in search is not the most efficient way but def works.https://www.tachytelic.net/2020/10/dell-poweredge-install-boot-pci-nvme/
most efficient but harder to do. also the software comes flagged these days as infected with AI heuristics malware / trojans. may not anymore havent tried it in some time.
You follow these instructions to implant nvme drivers into bios.https://linustechtips.com/topic/592133-howto-get-nvme-support-on-older-motherboards/