Installing VMware vSphere 4.1 is a complex process; you'll want to do what you can to make the installation go more smoothly. To make your life a bit easier, while preparing to install vSphere, use this handy checklist to save time and effort:

  • Shared storage: vSphere requires shared storage for functionality such as vMotion and HA. Make sure that each ESX host being deployed in a cluster has access to all the datastores assigned to the ESX cluster.

  • Networking: Connecting vSphere to your network is a lot like connecting an additional network switch. Confirm that the appropriate VLANs are associated with each ESX host's network connections and that VLAN tagging has been enabled accordingly.

  • Hardware compatibility: Check VMware's Hardware Compatibility List on its Web site prior to beginning installation. vSphere is pickier about its underlying hardware than traditional operating systems like Windows and Linux.

  • vSphere licensing: Although vSphere will run for a month or two using the built-in evaluation licenses, it's important to have your permanent licenses handy. Get those licenses installed before you forget and end up with virtual machines that refuse to start.