A while back I created a document to help SEs (and others) install a Data ONTAP simulator on their laptop for customer demos. The goal was to make it as easy as possible. It was originally written for 8.0 7-mode, so it needed a refresh and a focus on cluster-mode. I have added a few extra aspects to this version and consider making a separate document on creating, configuring and using Vservers.
This is a first draft, so please send any comments or suggestions so I can make it better.
Very good and easy to follow. Does VMware player allow more than one VM to run at a time now? I haven't used it in a long time but it was only one VM so the cluster-mode setup would be a single node only (still works for learning but nice to have 2 nodes in the cluster).
Also, did you notice that 8.1.1 doesn't have the makedisks.main program anymore? I was able to use it in 8.1 but not the latest 8.1.1 that posted. I posted a discussion but didn't see a response. Another nice thing would be if we could download the image.tgz file for the VSIM (different that the fas one but still q code for the vsim) then we can software update or system image update and not have to reconfigure our VSIMs from scratch whenever a new one posts... NetApp employees get access but no one else to those files. Hopefully they post on the VSIM page one day to give the option to upgrade.
The latest install doc on Support has a section for installing to esx. Use it to configure the network and load the vm's, then use my document to configure. I was successful on my esx host, but did not create a document.
I just want to add a note that on the Lenovo Laptops (T420) you need to go into the Security section of the BIOS to enable VT. So you need to take an extra step after step 6 but before step 7 in the documentation on configuring the BIOS.
Configure -> Security -> Virtualization ( I enabled both options)
My primary audience is partners (and sometimes, but rarely customers). I have only worked with the public, pre-compiled, vsims so I can't help you much. If you have access to "The Brewery" you will find some great resources there.