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Debian Minimal Server

Install a minimal Debian server virtual machine


  • Download the 64-bit PC netinst iso file from
  • In ESXi:
    • Upload the iso to the iso folder in the datastore
    • Create/Register VM:
      • Create a new virtual machine
      • Name the VM, and choose Linux and Debian GNU/Linux 10 (64-bit)
      • Specify the desired Target Datastore
      • Customise:
        • CPU:
          • Use the full amount of cores per socket to end up with one socket
          • Enable Expose hardware assisted virtualization to the guest OS
        • If using NVMe storage for the datastore:
          • Add other device > NVMe controller
          • Hard Disk 1 > Controller location > NVMe controller 0
          • Remove SCSI controller 0
        • Select other appropriate VM settings depending on desired applications
      • Confirm settings and Finish
    • If autostart is desired for this machine go to Host > Manage > System > Autostart:
      • Click on the current VM
      • Enable
      • Use Start earlier and Start later to set the desired order
    • Go to Virtual Machines on the sidebar and click on the current VM
      • Power on the VM
      • Go through the Debian setup process
        • In software selection, selecting only the SSH server and Standard system utilities
    • Give the VM a static IP address from your router using the generated MAC address (found under Hardware Configuration > Network adapter 1) and desired hostname
    • Reboot the VM
    • Using an SSH client, connect to the hostname set above, then run:
# Login with root details that were set earlier
# Update packages:
apt update
apt upgrade
# Install VMWare tools
apt install open-vm-tools
# Change the SSH port to 50001:
sed -i "s/#Port 22/Port 50001/" /etc/ssh/sshd_config
  • Shutdown the VM
  • Edit VM note to be the following:
Minimal server installation of Debian 10

50001/tcp SSH
  • Save a snapshot called Base Install


  • If desired, Log in to ESXi, navigate to the docker VM and create new snapshot
  • Using an SSH client, connect to <hostname>:50001 then run:
# Run the following with sudo if not logged in as root
apt update
apt upgrade
reboot  # If desired/needed
esxi/debian_minimal_server.txt · Last modified: 2020/12/22 08:35 by derek