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Let’s understand what is VMware ESX and ESXi ?

1. Service Console

VMware ESX : A standard Linux environment and a user has access to the VMware ESX Kernel. You can highly customize the environment by installation of agents and drives and even executing scripts.

VMware ESXi : With an aim to make server a computing appliance. It is mainly a firmware than old software like’s. It provides hardware security and reliability. It does not support advanced access envrionment. In this case, to enable any interactions with the agents, VMware provides CIM providers through monitoring and management can be done. VMware also provisions RCLI to allow execution of scripts.

2. Remote CLI

VMware ESX : A host CLI for the VMware ESX to be configured. It also supports RCLI.

VMware ESXi : The service console CLI has been put to RCLI for VMware ESXi. RCLI to understand is a virtual appliance which interacts with VMware ESXi host and to enable host configuration through scripts or commands.

3. Scriptable Installation

VMware ESX : Support utilities such as KickStart

VMware ESXi : It does not support any script installations, but you can install at a later stage using RCLI-based configuration scripts.

4. Boot from SAN :

VMware ESX : It support boot from SAN

VMware ESXi : It does not support boot from SAN. In most cases, VMware ESXi is deployed as embedded hypervisor directly on the server which does not require any local storage and no SAN booting is required.

5. Serial Cable Connectivity

VMware ESX : It support direct-attached serial cable to the VMware ESX host

VMware ESXi : It does not support direct-attached serial cable to VMware ESXi host


VMware ESX : It support SNMP

VMware ESXi : It supports SNMP only when it’s license to VI foundation or other editions.

7. Active Directory Integration

VMware ESX : It supports AD through other agents which are installed on the service console

VMware ESXi : With Virtual Infrastructure license and virtualCenter which allows users to authenticate with AD.

8. HW Instrumentation

VMware ESX : They provide range of HW instrumentation

VMware ESXi : It provides HW instrumentation through CIM providers

9. Software Patches and Updates

VMware ESX : Software patches and upgrades are similar to linux environment.

VMware ESXi : They work as firmware. You have all inclusive patches and upgrades, no dependencies on the previous versions

10. VI Web Access

VMware ESX : Supports VM through VI web access

VMware ESXi : Does not support VI web access

11. Licensing

VMware ESX : VMware ESX is licensed as part of VMware Infrastructure 3 foundation and other editions

VMware ESXi : Can be separately licensed or as part of the editions

12. Jumbo Frames

VMware ESX : iSCSI frames are not supported

VMware ESXi : iSCSI frames are not supported for VMkernel networking interface in ESXi 3.x

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