VMware ESX vs. ESXi Comparison

What’s new in VMware ESXi?


If you are planning to upgrade VMWare Server ESX to ESXi and don’t know how you can benefit from doing so, our VMware Experts will help to upgrade, configure and tune your VMware environment to better meet your datacenter needs.

VMware ESXi Key Features

  • Record-setting performance with up to 8,900 database transactions per second, 200,000 I/O operations per second, and up to 16,000 Exchange mailboxes on a single physical host
  • Up to eight-way virtual SMP (symmetric multiprocessing), enabling the virtualization of multiprocessor workloads
  • Memory overcommittment and deduplication, allowing higher consolidation ratios
  • Broadest OS support of any hypervisor, enabling IT to virtualize numerous versions of Windows®, Linux®, Solaris®, NetWare®, and other operating systems.
  • Built-in high availability through NIC teaming and HBA multipathing to protect against hardware component failures
  • Up to 64 logical processing cores, 256 virtual CPUs, and 1TB RAM per host, enabling higher consolidation ratios

The following is a feature comparison table between VMware ESX and ESXi so you can make an informed decision before upgrading your virtual machine server.

VMware ESX vs ESXi Comparison Table


Capability VMware ESX VMware ESXi
Service Console Service Console is a standard Linux environment through which a user has privileged access to the VMware ESX kernel. This Linux-based privileged access allows you to highly customize your environment by installing agents and drivers and executing scripts and other Linux-environment code. VMware ESXi is designed to make the server a computing appliance. Accordingly, VMware ESXi behaves more like firmware than traditional software. To provide hardware-like security and reliability, VMware ESXi does not support a privileged access environment like the Service Console of VMware ESX. To enable interaction with agents, VMware has provisioned CIM Providers through which monitoring and management tasks – traditionally done through Service Console agents – can be performed. VMware has provisioned RCLI to allow the execution of scripts.
Remote CLI VMware ESX Service Console has a host CLI command through which VMware ESX can be configured. ESX 3.5 Update 2 supports RCLI. VMware ESX Service Console CLI has been ported to a Remote CLI (RCLI) for VMware ESXi. RCLI is a virtual appliance that interacts with VMware ESXi hosts to enable host configuration through scripts or specific commands.


  • RCLI is limited to read-only access for the free version of VMware ESXi. To enable full functionality of RCLI on a VMware ESXi host, the host must be licensed with VI Foundation, VI Standard, or VI Enterprise.
  • The VMware Infrastructure toolkit for Windows and the Perl toolkit access ESXi through the same API as RCLI. Similarly, these toolkits are limited to read-only access for the free version of VMware ESXi. When the host is upgraded to VI Foundation, VI Standard, or VI Enterprise, these toolkits have write-access and provide a scriptable method for managing ESXi hosts.
  • The following Service Console CLI commands have not been implemented in RCLI:
    • ESXcfg-info
    • ESXcfg-resgrp
    • ESXcfg-swiscsi

Scriptable InstallationVMware ESX supports scriptable installations through utilities like KickStart.VMware ESXi Installable does not support scriptable installations in the manner ESX does, at this time. VMware ESXi does provide support for post installation configuration script using RCLI-based configuration scripts.Boot from SANVMware ESX supports boot from SAN. Booting from SAN requires one dedicated LUN per server.VMware ESXi may be deployed as an embedded hypervisor or installed on a hard disk.

In most enterprise settings, VMware ESXi is deployed as an embedded hypervisor directly on the server. This operational model does not require any local storage and no SAN booting is required because the hypervisor image is directly on the server.

The installable version of VMware ESXi does not support booting from SAN.

Serial Cable ConnectivityVMware ESX supports interaction through direct-attached serial cable to the VMware ESX host.VMware ESXi does not support interaction through direct-attached serial cable to the VMware ESXi host at this time.SNMPVMware ESX supports SNMP.VMware ESXi supports SNMP when licensed to a VI Foundation, VI Standard, or VI Enterprise edition. The free version of VMware ESXi does not support SNMP.Active Directory IntegrationVMware ESX supports Active Directory integration through third-party agents installed on the Service Console.VMware ESXi with a Virtual Infrastructure license and in conjunction with VirtualCenter allows users to be authenticated via Active Directory. In this configuration, users can log in directly to an ESXi host and authenticate using a local username and password.

The free version of VMware ESXi does not support Active Directory integration at this time.

HW InstrumentationService Console agents provide a range of HW instrumentation on VMware ESX.VMware ESXi provides HW instrumentation through CIM Providers. Standards-based CIM Providers are distributed with all versions of VMware ESXi. VMware partners may inject their own proprietary CIM Providers in customized versions of VMware ESXi. To obtain a customized version of VMware ESXi, you typically have to purchase a server with embedded VMware ESXi through a server vendor.

At this time, HP also offers its customized VMware ESXi Installable on www.vmware.com. Dell, IBM, and FSC will soon offer their customized version of VMware ESXi on www.vmware.com.

Remote console applications like Dell DRAC, HP iLO, IBM RSA, and FSC iRMC S2 are supported with ESXi.

Note: COS agents have a longer lineage than CIM Providers and are therefore more mature. VMware is actively working with its 250+ partners to close the CIM Provider–Service Console agent gap.

Software Patches and UpdatesVMware ESX software patches and upgrades behave like traditional Linux based patches and upgrades. The installation of a software patch or upgrade may require multiple system boots as the patch or upgrade may have dependencies on previous patches or upgrades.VMware ESXi patches and updates behave like firmware patches and updates. Any given patch or update is all-inclusive of previous patches and updates. That is, installing patch version “n” includes all updates included in patch versions n-1, n-2, and so forth.VI Web AccessVMware ESX supports managing your virtual machines through VI Web Access. You can use the VI Web Access to connect directly to the ESX host or to the VMware Infrastructure Client.VMware ESXi does not support web access at this time.LicensingVMware ESX hosts can be licensed as part of a VMware Infrastructure 3 Foundation, Standard, or Enterprise suite.VMware ESXi hosts can be individually licensed (for free) or licensed as part of a VMware Infrastructure 3 Foundation, Standard, or Enterprise suite.

Individually licensed ESXi hosts offer a subset of management capabilities (see SNMP and Remote CLI).


EXSi Edtions


ESXi – Free License

(ESX not available without VI)

VI Foundation

(with ESX or ESXi)

VI Standard

(with ESX or ESXi)

VI Enterprise

(with ESX or ESXi)

Core hypervisor functionality Yes Yes Yes Yes
Virtual SMP Yes Yes Yes Yes
VMFS Yes Yes Yes Yes
VirtualCenter Agent Yes Yes Yes
Update Manager Yes Yes Yes
Consolidated Backup Yes Yes Yes
High Availability Yes Yes
VMotion Yes
Storage VMotion Yes




  1. Great write-up, I am normal visitor of one’s blog, maintain up the excellent operate, and It is going to be a regular visitor for a long time.

  2. Aw, this was a very nice post. In concept I wish to put in writing like this additionally ?taking time and actual effort to make an excellent article?but what can I say?I procrastinate alot and on no account appear to get something done.

  3. I together with my pals were actually following the good tricks found on your web site and then immediately I had an awful feeling I never thanked the website owner for those strategies. These people became for that reason thrilled to learn all of them and now have extremely been loving these things. Appreciate your getting well thoughtful and for deciding upon certain excellent resources millions of individuals are really wanting to discover. Our honest apologies for not expressing appreciation to sooner.

  4. My husband and i have been very excited that Jordan could deal with his investigations while using the precious recommendations he acquired while using the weblog. It’s not at all simplistic to simply be freely giving helpful hints other folks could have been selling. And we also recognize we need the blog owner to thank for this. These illustrations you’ve made, the easy web site navigation, the relationships you aid to instill – it’s got everything unbelievable, and it is assisting our son and our family do think the theme is fun, which is certainly tremendously pressing. Many thanks for all!

  5. An fascinating dialogue is price comment. I feel that it’s best to write more on this topic, it may not be a taboo topic but typically persons are not sufficient to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  6. A lot of thanks for all of your efforts on this web page. My mom loves engaging in internet research and it is easy to understand why. We learn all of the dynamic method you convey practical thoughts on your web site and as well attract participation from other individuals on the issue then my girl is without question learning a whole lot. Take advantage of the rest of the new year. You have been doing a powerful job.

  7. I must express appreciation to the writer for rescuing me from such a matter. After surfing around throughout the online world and coming across notions which were not pleasant, I thought my life was done. Existing minus the answers to the problems you’ve solved by way of your good site is a critical case, as well as those that would have in a negative way damaged my entire career if I had not come across your web blog. Your actual skills and kindness in maneuvering all areas was crucial. I’m not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t discovered such a thing like this. I’m able to at this point look forward to my future. Thanks a lot very much for the impressive and effective guide. I won’t hesitate to recommend your web site to any individual who ought to have care on this situation.

  8. I together with my guys appeared to be checking out the great guides located on your web page and all of the sudden got an awful suspicion I had not expressed respect to the website owner for those secrets. Those people had been totally joyful to learn all of them and already have undoubtedly been loving them. I appreciate you for actually being simply helpful and then for picking varieties of high-quality subjects millions of individuals are really eager to be aware of. My sincere apologies for not saying thanks to earlier.

  9. Can I simply say what a aid to find someone who actually knows what theyre speaking about on the internet. You definitely know how you can convey a problem to gentle and make it important. Extra people need to learn this and understand this facet of the story. I cant believe youre no more widespread because you undoubtedly have the gift.

  10. I just wanted to post a small word so as to appreciate you for all of the amazing recommendations you are writing at this website. My prolonged internet look up has now been compensated with pleasant insight to share with my classmates and friends. I ‘d assume that we website visitors are really blessed to dwell in a good website with many awesome individuals with great solutions. I feel quite grateful to have come across your web pages and look forward to some more fun moments reading here. Thanks a lot once again for everything.

  11. I and also my guys have already been analyzing the best guidelines from your web site while quickly I got a terrible suspicion I never thanked the web site owner for those secrets. The boys became so excited to study all of them and have in effect absolutely been tapping into these things. We appreciate you indeed being considerably helpful and for utilizing this form of superb subject matter most people are really needing to be informed on. Our own honest regret for not saying thanks to you sooner.

  12. A powerful share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing just a little evaluation on this. And he in fact purchased me breakfast because I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! However yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love studying extra on this topic. If potential, as you grow to be expertise, would you mind updating your weblog with extra details? It’s highly helpful for me. Large thumb up for this weblog post!

  13. My wife and i felt absolutely cheerful that Edward managed to do his investigation through the precious recommendations he received out of your site. It’s not at all simplistic just to possibly be handing out tips that other folks may have been making money from. And now we understand we have the website owner to appreciate for that. The most important explanations you made, the straightforward site navigation, the relationships you aid to instill – it is all excellent, and it’s making our son and the family believe that this idea is interesting, and that is quite serious. Thanks for the whole thing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

WordPress Theme