How to install Photon on a Physical Bare Metal Server ;; -)

Ok, not exactly but pretty close! So you downloaded the Photon ISO and you have been playing around with it in virtual and or cloud environments but now you want to install Photon on a Physical server? Well you could possibly use the source code to build your own distro of Photon with the correct drivers for your hardware and install Photon but that would take some time. (Honestly, I don’t know for sure, I have not tried it myself) In this guide I will show you a workaround to turn a physical server into a Photon Server.


First, download and install the free ESXi hypervisor on your physical server

Now download the latest Photon ISO from here

Open the vSphere client and connect to your ESXi host. Create a new virtual machine using all the available local storage. Keep in mind you will need to leave some space for the swap file if you did not create a seprate datastore for them.

Edit the virtual machine and max out the CPU and Memory to that of the Physical Host

Now power on the Photon VM and open a console to it then attach the ISO image and send a CTRL+ALT+Delete to the guest to reboot into the ISO installer. Accept the agreement and see that you have all the available storage.

Choose your installation

Once installed you can edit /etc/ssh/ssh_config to allow root login and reboot the Photon OS. If you want to set a static IP, host name and DNS servers, see this guide here


Remember sharing is caring!

2 Replies to “How to install Photon on a Physical Bare Metal Server ;; -)”

  1. Hi — I think Photon is a nice piece of software put out by VMWARE as a response to CoreOS.
    I have tried both extensively and I must say CoreOS is a more mature OS.
    Obviously if one had the baremetal server it makes no sense to introduce an unnecessary layer (and licensing cost) by adding vphere (ESXi) then hosting Photon on top of that… Instead, install CoreOS directly on the baremetal… In reality, this practice goes against the entire VMWARE Visualization model but the performance gains are mind boggling..

    I run a CoreOS cluster on 5 baremetal machines and use DCHQ ( to do the orchestration and docker management.. works like a charm!!! No Virtualization software required..

    Sys Admin since 1999

Leave a Reply to Rodrigo Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.