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Decision Time: ESX vs ESXi

I am really excited for the upcoming product from VMware. In my opinion, this is a good time to make a final decision on ESX vs. ESXi. For current VI3 environments, ESXi has most of the functionality of ESX and all of the licensed features are available. This KnowledgeBase article has a good breakdown of the differences as they exist today. For anything that you can’t do on ESXi directly, chances are you can do it either via the Remote Command Line or VI Toolkit.

At this point in the technology, I'm pro-ESXi. To start with, the lack of a full console operating system does make the host more efficient. ESXi has a learning curve compared to ESX, but based on where we have come in virtualization thus far, that should be an easy obstacle to overcome. Didn’t ESX seem a little daunting compared to a simple physical server a few years ago?

One reason to go ESXi is its long-term viability. With ESXi now being released in tandem with ESX, one has to wonder if both products will be around for the long haul. It's safe to assume that only one of the products will be around for the long haul, and VMware makes a strong case for ESXi in this FAQ. ESXi is clearly recommended for all scenarios. We also get occasional nuggets from moderator post entries on VMware Communities to the same result. But for base vSphere release, both ESX and ESXi will be available and fully supported.

ESXi is my choice for vSphere’s hypervisor, in part because of its importance for our cloud framework. What's your take on ESX vs. ESXi? E-mail me your thoughts on the matter or share them below.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 05/06/2009 at 12:47 PM


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