Let me preface this post by saying, this is not a supported way to get vSphere / ESXi 7.0+ running on legacy hardware. Please only perform these actions if you are comfortable with the steps below, and know that you will not be entitled to support for VMware.
For my example in this article, I am using an IBM M3 X3550 Series server. While this approach might also work for other vendor hardware, you may need to make some slight modifications to the process, but it should still work.
TL;DR – You basically need to do two things, 1. Install ESXi onto a USB drive, instead of local hard drives, and 2. Implement the allowLegacyCPU=true mode in the boot.cfg.
Here are the list of things you need:
1. The VMware vSphere ISO to use for the installation. I used this one I downloaded from VMware “VMware-VMvisor-Installer-7.0.0-15843807.x86_64.iso”
2. A 16Gb or larger USB flash drive….