ESX3i, Enterprise Virtualization and Should it be Installed on an Atari

Well the Atari part is because of a post on PlanetVM, but seriously though the question is should ESX3i be installed on non-HCL machines? Here are my 2 cents (or agurot in local currency).. Yes and no.. Decisive don’t you think?


  • It gives people the chance to test out what ESX can do. The capabilities, the features, limitations and benefits.
  • It is free, so why not use it.
  • It can run off of a USB stick, so it will run on pretty much anything…
  • It does work when installing it on all sorts of hardware. I have personally installed it on all kinds of desktop computers HP and IBM.
  • It will increase exposure for VMware and in turn their market share when people learn that the product is the best thing since bread and butter.
  • Because by nature technical people like a challenge, so installing on non-supported hardware, is challenging, and seeing the amount of posts, sites and blogs that are busy with this means that people like the challenge.
  • It makes a wonderful platform for POC, testing or just playing around.
  • If I can install Hyper-V on any hardware I would like, then why not ESX?


  • IT IS NOT SUPPORTED BY VMWARE!!! - Let me elaborate on this one. ESX abides to a strict HCL. Sometime I personally think that it is too strict, and that is only because of lack sufficient testing on other hardware. But that means that VMware has employees that their job is to sit and install ESX on each platform and see that it works properly. There is a lot of hardware out there, and it changes constantly so the HCL is a game of keeping up with the never ending amount hardware that is released each year.

  • Even if you can install it on your old ZX Spectrum , does not mean that you should. I mean the software was meant to perform at a certain level. So installing it on something like this - it kind of defeats the purpose.

  • Most of the features available do not come with the free product. (write with RCLI [ OK temporarily it does - oops!! ], HA, DRS, VMotion and that kind of Jazz)

  • When someone fails to install it they come to the forum, bad-mouth, complain and waste most of our time with silly questions to which most them the answer will be..

    This hardware is not supported on the HCL so ……..

  • The forums are becoming high traffic with all kinds of stupid questions (and for the life of me I cannot find the post in the forum that talks about it, when I do I will update the link)

So what is is the conclusion? I would say a Yes actually. Go for it, get it working. Get to know the product, and you will see that it is well worth your while. But…. remember you are working on unsupported hardware, so there is only a limit to how much support you will get from your peers, you will not receive any support from VMware at all.