It Is Time to Upgrade to vSphere 6.0!

VMware ESXi is the industry-leading, purpose-built bare-metal hypervisor. ESXi installs directly onto your physical server enabling it to be partitioned into multiple logical servers referred to as virtual machines.

Customers can use ESXi for free with vSphere Hypervisor or as part of a paid vSphere edition.

vSphere ESXi Hypervisor Features

Improved Reliability and Security

The ESXi bare-metal hypervisor’s management functionality is built into the VMkernel, reducing the footprint to 150 MB. This gives it a very small attack surface for malware and over-the-network threats, improving reliability and security.

Streamlined Deployment and Configuration

With few configuration options and simple deployment and configuration, the ESXi architecture makes it easy to maintain a consistent virtual infrastructure.

Reduced Management Overhead

vSphere ESXi uses an agentless approach to hardware monitoring and system management with an API-based partner integration model. Management tasks are on remote command lines with the vSphere Command Line Interface (vCLI) and Power CLI, which uses Windows PowerShell cmdlets and scripts for automated management.

Simplified Hypervisor Patching and Updating

Fewer patches mean smaller maintenance windows and fewer scheduled maintenance windows.

Technical Details

Improved Security

Improved role-based access and control eliminates the dependency on a shared root account. Users and groups can be assigned full administrative privileges. There's no need to share access or a common super user account in order to perform administrative tasks.

Extensive Logging and Auditing

vSphere ESXi logs all user activity from both the Shell and the Direct Console User Interface under the user's account. This logging ensures user accountability and makes it easy to audit user activity.


VMware vSphere live migration allows you to move an entire virtual machine from one physical server to another, without downtime. Customers can migrate live virtual machines across clusters, distributed switches, vCenters and over long distances of up to 100 ms RTT.

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Virtual Machine Capabilities

Virtual machines running on vSphere ESXi come with support for the following features and capabilities:

  • Virtual machines can support up to 128 virtual CPUs.
  • Virtual machines can support up to 4 TB of RAM.
  • New xHCI controller supports USB 3.0 devices.
  • New Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) supports up to 120 devices per virtual machine.
  • Maximum VMDK size is 62 TB.
  • Guest OS Storage Reclamation returns disk space to the storage pool when it's de-allocated from within the guest OS.
  • Improve CPU virtualization by exposing more information about the host CPU architecture to virtual machines. This improved CPU exposure allows for better debugging, tuning and troubleshooting of operating systems and applications within the virtual machine.
  • Increased CPU efficiency through support of Large Receive Offload (LRO) that aggregates incoming TCP packets into a larger single packet.
Active Directory Integration

You can join vSphere ESXi hosts to your Active Directory domain. Once added, Active Directory handles user authentication and removes the need to create local user accounts on each host.

Centralized Management of Host Image and Configuration via Auto Deploy

Combining the features of host profiles, Image Builder and PXE, VMware vSphere Auto Deploy simplifies host installation and upgrade. The Auto Deploy library centrally stores all vSphere host images. Administrators can automatically provision new hosts based on user-defined rules and host rebuilds are as simple as a reboot.

Stateless Firewall

vSphere ESXi features a service-oriented and stateless firewall, which you can configure using the vSphere client or at the command line with ESXCLI. The firewall engine allows administrators to define port rules for services. Additionally, you can specify IP ranges or individual IP addresses that can connect to host services.

Upgrade to vSphere 6.0 — Take Advantage of Unique Benefits

vSphere 6.0 raises the bar once again by providing many industry-first features such as Long Distance vMotion and Multi-processor Fault Tolerance. These features align with the demands of next-generation applications, and deliver increased scale, improved reliability and cost efficiencies for your business.

Thanks to its ultra-thin architecture with less than 150MB of disk footprint, vSphere ESXi delivers industry-leading performance and scalability with benefits including:

  • Improved Reliability and Security: Based on the ESXi architecture with fewer lines of code and independence from a general purpose OS, vSphere drastically reduces the risk of bugs or security vulnerabilities and makes it easier to secure your hypervisor layer.
  • Streamlined Deployment and Configuration: With its small footprint the ESXi architecture has far fewer configuration items, greatly simplifying deployment and configuration and making it easier to maintain consistency.
  • Higher Management Efficiency: The API-based, partner integration model of the ESXi architecture eliminates the need to install and manage third-party management agents on the vSphere host. You can automate routine tasks by leveraging remote command line scripting environments such as vCLI or PowerCLI.
  • Simplified Hypervisor Patching and Updating: Due to its smaller size and fewer components, ESXi requires far fewer patches, shortening service windows and reducing security vulnerabilities.

Learn more about the upgrade process and compare versions at the vSphere Upgrade Center.