I have spent some time with looking for more details about VMware ESXi compared to VMware ESX. I summarized the main differences in this article but I think it's not complete. There have to be more features missing in ESXi because of service console removal. So, what next did I discover?
- ESXi is supported on smaller set of certified hardware because it is standalone system and it doesn't depend on RHEL service console which provides drivers for other hardware.
- You can manage ESXi with RCLI on Linux or Windows platform but Virtual Infrastructure client is more comfortable and easier to use. Further, if you deployed ESXi without Virtual Infrastructure licence, RCLI will have read-only access only. The drawback of VI client is that it is available for Windows platform. The solution may exist in using Wine emulator but the installation isn't as straightforward as on Windows plartform. The Wine application database contains this entry about VI client installation but I haven't tried it yet.
- You can manage your ESX server directly via serial cable but ESXi is missing this feature.
- ESXi kernel is missing jumbo frames support in TCP/IP stack which allows to send larger frames out onto physical network. It can help to achieve higher throughput with NFS or iSCSI protocols.
- ESXi doesn't support NetQueue technology which is boosting 10G Ethernet performance.
- Finally, VMware in cooperation with Mellanox Technologies supports Infiniband host channel adapters on ESX. ESXi is missing it.
The previous six points are related to the technical aspects of ESX and ESXi hypervisor. These points aren't complete as well but they are quite important for common deployment of VMware technologies. If you know about something else, please share it at my blog. For further information, check these links: