Forgive the corny humor…
The free ESXi Hypervisor is no more (well at least not by that name).
VMware vSphere Hypervisor FAQs
What is the difference between VMware ESXi and VMware vSphere Hypervisor?
VMware vSphere Hypervisor is the new name for what was formerly known as VMware ESXi Single Server or free ESXi (often abbreviated to simply “VMware ESXi”). VMware vSphere Hypervisor is the free edition of the vSphere production line. It is licensed to only unlock the hypervisor functionality of vSphere, but it can be seamlessly upgraded to more advanced offerings of VMware vSphere. VMware vSphere is available in multiple editions including several options specifically designed for small businesses.
How is the free VMware vSphere Hypervisor different than paid editions of VMware vSphere? How can I upgrade?
VMware vSphere Hypervisor is available at no cost in order to help companies of all sizes experience the basic benefits of virtualization. Granting free access to vSphere’s basic hypervisor functionality enables IT professionals to become familiar with the technology and prove its value in their own companies.
VMware vSphere Hypervisor can be seamlessly upgraded to more advanced editions of vSphere. Simply upgrade the free license to the desired upgraded vSphere license to take advantage of advanced vSphere functionally including centralized management, live migration of virtual machines, automatic load balancing, business continuity, power management, and back up and restore capabilities for virtual machines. VMware vSphere is available in multiple editions including two kits specifically designed for small businesses. A reason for moving to a paid kit or edition is that you could take advantage of the vSphere management server, called VMware vCenter Server, to enable centralized management.
What tools can I use to manage my free VMware vSphere Hypervisor license?
VMware recommends using the free VMware vSphere Client to manage VMware vSphere Hypervisor. You can use the vSphere Client to log into each vSphere Hypervisor host individually to manage it via the Graphical UI. You may also query the VMware vSphere Hypervisor host with the vSphere Command-Line Interface (vCLI). Note that the free VMware vSphere Hypervisor does not allow any configuration changes through the vCLI. You can also upgrade to more advanced editions of VMware vSphere to centrally manage your hosts with VMware vCenter Server.
Can I get support for VMware vSphere Hypervisor?
There are several free and paid support options for customers who use VMware vSphere Hypervisor. Please visit support for more details.
Can I run virtual machines created by Microsoft Virtual Server, Microsoft Virtual PC, or VMware Server on VMware vSphere Hypervisor?
Yes. You can use the free VMware vCenter Converter to import virtual machines that were created using VMware Server, Microsoft Virtual Server, or Microsoft Virtual PC version 7 or higher. VMware vCenter Converter also supports conversions from sources such as physical machines and certain 3rd party disk image formats. View the VMware vCenter Converter FAQs for further details.
What is the difference between VMware vSphere Hypervisor and VMware Server?
Both VMware vSphere Hypervisor and VMware Server are available for free. However, VMware vSphere Hypervisor is the recommended free solution for customers looking to get started with VMware virtualization. vSphere Hypervisor is an enterprise-class virtualization solution that offers the bare-metal architecture for near-native performance, features like memory overcommit to increase consolidation ratios and a cluster file system for managing virtual machine files on shared storage. VMware Server, on the other hand, installs as an application on Windows or Linux, relying on the operating system for resource management. This limits the performance and scalability. Virtual machines created using VMware Server can run on VMware vSphere Hypervisor, in some cases they must first be converted using the free VMware Converter.
Can I buy VMware vSphere Hypervisor preinstalled on servers?
VMware vSphere Hypervisor is the industry’s first hypervisor to be embedded in server hardware. Several VMware OEM partners and various system builders have already ship server units with the embedded vSphere Hypervisor .View the hardware compatibility list for a full list of the server models that have VMware vSphere Hypervisor preinstalled.
How do I use VMware vCenter Server to manage my VMware vSphere Hypervisor hosts?
VMware vCenter Server provides centralized management for VMware vSphere Hypervisor hosts and their virtual machines. To manage a VMware vSphere Hypervisor host with vCenter Server, you must have a vCenter Server Agent license, which is included in all paid editions of VMware vSphere.
What are the Hardware requirements for VMware vSphere Hypervisor?
The hardware requirements for the VMware vSphere Hypervisor can be found in our hardware compatibility list and setup guide.
What Operating Systems can I run on VMware vSphere Hypervisor?
VMware offers the broadest operating system support as compared to any other virtualization vendor. Visit the guest operating system compatibility guide for a full list of supported guest operating systems.