KB ID 0000590
The very fist time I tried this was on ESXi 4.1, if you try and install Windows 8 Server on that platform, you will see the following.
Your computer ran into a problem and needs to restart. If you’d like to know more, you can search online later for this code: HAL_INITIALIZATION_FAILED It’s collecting error info and will restart in: x seconds
Note: You will also see this in VMware player, and VMware workstation 7.
Some internet searching told me that as far as VMware was concerned, I needed to be running VMware Workstation version 8, so I installed Workstation 8 and, accepting the fact I got the same install error that the windows 8 consumer preview gives you, (the fix is the same). It works flawlessly (unless you install the VMware tools).
Running Windows “8” Server in ESXi
I knew that the developer preview worked on ESXi 5, And VMware Workstation 8 uses VMware hardware version 8. So I guessed that it would run under ESXi 5. I set the machine type to “Windows 7 x64”, and it installed it, to my surprise it ran straight away.
And Installing VMware tools went smoothly as well.