It Is Time to Upgrade to vSphere 5.5!
VMware ESXi™ is the industry-leading, purpose-built bare-metal hypervisor. ESXi does not rely on a general purpose OS as it 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.
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.
Live virtual machine migration allows you to combine vMotion and VMware vSphere® Storage vMotion® into a single operation. For small virtual infrastructure implementations, combined vMotion migration means that the entire virtual machine (memory, CPU and disk) moves from one host to another. In larger environments, enhanced vMotion means that you can live-migrate entire virtual machines from one cluster to another, even if those clusters don't share storage.
Virtual Machine Capabilties
Virtual machines running on vSphere ESXi come with support for the following features and capabilities:
- Virtual machines can now support up to 64 virtual CPUs.
- Virtual machines can support up to 1 TB of RAM.
- New Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) supports up to 120 devices per virtual machine.
- Maximum VMDK size increased to 62 TB.
- Guest OS Storage Reclamation returns disk space to the storage pool when it's de-allocated from within the guest OS.
- Improved 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.
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.
vSphere ESXi now features a service-oriented and stateless firewall, which you can configure using the vSphere client or at the command line with ESXCLI. The new firewall engine eliminates the use of IPTABLES and allows administrators to define port rules for services. Additionally, you can specify IP ranges or individual IP addresses that can connect to host services.
Migrating to vSphere 5.5 — Take Advantage of Unique Benefits
Thanks to its ultra-thin architecture with less than 150MB of disk footprint, vSphere 5.5 delivers the same industry-leading performance and scalability as prior vSphere releases with several additional benefits:
Improved Reliability and Security - Based on the new ESXi architecture with fewer lines of code and independence from a general purpose OS, vSphere 5.5 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.