VMware Server configuration question

Christopher A. Williams chriswfedora at cawllc.com
Fri May 7 04:25:45 UTC 2010

On Thu, 2010-05-06 at 15:19 -0500, Robert G. (Doc) Savage wrote:
> On Thu, 2010-05-06 at 12:20 -0600, Christopher A. Williams wrote:
> > We ran into this quite a while back and decided to stop trying to fight
> > the battle.
> > 
> > ...So we switched everything over to ESXi Free Edition and haven't
> > looked back since. Runs great - in fact quite a bit better than VMware
> > Server at this point. Most likely this is because it's much more
> Chris,
> Time for me to waive the Ignorance flag... I'm not familiar with ESXi
> Free Edition, but I'm downloading it now. Can you give me an off-list
> summary of how it differs from Server? Have you successfully installed
> it under F13beta?


ESXi Free Edition is the free version of VMware ESX/ESXi Server - the
same one that comes in their flagship vSphere 4. It does have several
features that are disabled compared to the full version of ESXi though,
but is still very solid as an entry level platform.

The main difference between ESXi and VMware Server is that ESXi is a
Type 1 hypervisor that runs on the bare metal (basically it is its own
OS) whereas VMware Server is a Type 2 Hypervisor that runs on top of a
host OS. AS an aside, you can reasonably argue that KVM is a Type 1
hypervisor, but I've seem people argue that it isn't.

So that does mean that running ESXi is a replacement for both VMware
Server and for Fedora as the host OS for virtualizing things. You would
then run VMs (hopefully Fedora being one of them) as guests.

ESXi is managed mainly via the vSphere Client which, unfortunately, is
currently only available for Windows. A linux version of it is said to
be under development, and there have been betas released before. You
also can manage it via a Remote Command Line Interface (available for
both Windows and Linux), and a "Power CLI" currently only available for
Windows Powershell.

I manage my servers by running the vSphere Client in a Windows VM hosted
by VMware Workstation on my Fedora powered workstation. You could use
any desktop virtualization product to do that just as easily, so don't
feel like you need VMware Workstation. I have coworkers doing the same
using VirtualBox, for example. I tend to connect to the VMs running on
it via RDP for Windows VMs and SSH with X forwarding for Linux VMs.

The main advantage of ESXi over VMware Server is going to be
performance. A Type 1 hypervisor is designed to do 1 thing very well
compared to a general purpose OS, which will be much broader and less
specialized. The main disadvantage is that you need to manage it from
some other system using one or more of the tools I mentioned, as well as
that it can only be used as a virtualization platform.

Since our servers are dedicated virtualization hosts, this isn't a
problem for me.

Hope that helps!



"You see things as they are and ask, 'Why?'
I dream things as they never were and ask, 'Why not?'"

-- George Bernard Shaw

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