Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Differences between VMware ESXi and ESX

VMware ESXi hypervisor is free of charge now but what are the reasons to use it instead of VMware ESX? And what advantages does it have?

The most important advantage is you don't need to pay for it. Furthermore, it supports all VMware Infrastructure features if you buy proper licences - you can vmotion virtual machines, schedule resources, backup them via VCB and so on. If you really want to save more bucks you don't have to pay the support which is required in case of VMware Infrastructure. The new option is to pay per incident.

What are the main differences? As I written here, the ESXi hypervisor is OS independent (it is without service console) and its installation requires only 32MB of disk space. The negative thing is that it lacks VirtualCenter agent, VCB and update manager. These features are included in VMware Infrastructure Foundation edition and higher by default. If you would like to manage ESXi hosts you need to buy agent licences.

It remains last important question. How can we control ESXi hosts remotely if we don't have service console? The ESXi hypervisor doesn't have SSH access by default but supports RCLI or Remote Command Line Interface. The RCLI allows to perform remote command line operations on an ESXi host from your management station. If you still prefer SSH to RCLI you can enable it according this article.

So, are you going to deploy it? If so, you can write me about your experience with the product. I would like to know your story.


Anonymous said...

ESXi also avoids an increasingly important performance issue with the ESX Service Console related to interrupt sharing. See http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/documentLink.do?externalID=1003710.

With no Service Console, ESXi allows all interrupts to be load balanced, giving better I/O throughput for low-end and mid-range servers.

Anonymous said...

I recently evaluated ESXi and was impressed by its functionality but the lack of SNMP was a deal-stopper for me. Without more robust hardware monitoring than what's currently provided by CIM, it would only be good for my crash & burn hosting.

Anonymous said...

SNMP a deal breaker? Why not use a DRAC or iLO type card. They often forward on behalf of the server.