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VMware release ESXi - for free!

29 November 2011

VMware ESXi revolutionised the virtualisation solutions market when it was first introduced. The benefits of an embedded hypervisor which could support multiple virtual machines simultaneously meant a real solution from the desktop to the data centre. This technology is now available at no cost to help companies of all sizes experience the benefits of virtualisation.

VMware ESXi offers a highly integrated service and isolated function blocks within the system to communicate more effectively. The need for real-time performance is also addressed as well as providing a resource-constrained target environment and with the industry’s smallest footprint and OS independence, ESXi sets the bar for security and reliability. It’s no wonder the leading server manufacturers have all embedded VMware ESXi.

The fact that this software is now freely available offers a more flexible service to organisations looking for a virtualisation solution. Even start-up and SME businesses can take advantage of this technology from the offset, enabling them to run a much smoother I.T. operation.

Gartner Vice President Distinguished Analyst Tom Bittman believes the hypervisor itself is really just a foundation. He says, “The business model and real value in virtualization is evolving toward a virtualized infrastructure and the management and automation tools leveraging the hypervisor.” Raghu Raghuram, Vice President of Products and Solutions at VMware echoes these thoughts, “ESXi is mature enough and easy enough to use that it can be the entry point into virtualization for those companies just taking their first steps with the technology” he says.

The performance improvements in virtualisation software mean there are no longer any hurdles to 100% virtualisation and the move by VMware to make ESXi freely available removes the financial hurdles as well.

There are some drawbacks of the free version however, specifically when upgrading from ESXi 4 to ESXi 5, including the lack of access to the more robust vSphere Update Manager (which makes upgrading very easy). There have also been complaints about the meagre 8-GB vRAM allotment for the free version of ESXi. There are also some constraints as to the hardware the free version can run on. VMware has a hardware-compatibility list that you should adhere to when buying or building a virtualization host server if you plan to use ESXi; if VMware ESXi doesn't have a driver for certain hardware in the host system, it may function poorly or not at all.

To learn more about VMware ESXi, including how to install, configure and manage the software a professional course offered by Total Training Solutions is advised. Browse our course directory then call 0800 612 1299 or email info@tts-uk.com to book your place.

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