VMware ESXi FAQs

vSphere ESXi is a bare-metal hypervisor that installs directly on top of your physical server and partitions it into multiple virtual machines.

What type of hardware is required to run vSphere with the ESXi architecture?

The ESXi hypervisor architecture is certified on over 1,000 server systems and can run off certified USB keys on certain models. In general, new hardware systems supported by ESX will also be supported by ESXi, but please search the hardware compatibility lists for information about a specific hardware system.

What operating systems can I run on vSphere with the ESXi architecture?

VMware offers the broadest operating system support of any virtualization vendor. Please search the guest operating system compatibility list for a full list of supported guest operating systems.

Can I run virtual machines created by Microsoft Virtual Server, Microsoft Virtual PC or VMware Server on VMware vSphere?

Yes. You can use the free VMware vCenter Converter to import virtual machines that were created using VMware vCenter Server, Microsoft Virtual Server or Microsoft Virtual PC version 7 or higher. vCenter Converter also supports conversions from sources such as physical machines and certain third-party disk image formats.

How can I evaluate VMware vSphere?

The simplest way to evaluate vSphere is to download and install the free VMware vSphere Hypervisor Edition. Alternatively you can leverage the vSphere evaluations.

How can I patch my vSphere host when using vSphere ESXi?

VMware vSphere Update Manager will update hosts running ESXi. An update utility is also provided for environments where vSphere Update Manager is not present.

Note: vSphere Update Manager is not available for the free vSphere Hypervisor.

Does vSphere maintain log files or integrate with syslog when using the ESXi architecture?

Yes, using the ESXi architecture you can generate log files. You can configure vSphere hosts to send logs to a file on a datastore as well as to a syslog server. For more information see the ESXi Management page.

What is the ESXi Shell?

The ESXi Shell is a command-line based interface for diagnosis and repair of a vSphere host running ESXi. The ESXi Shell can be enabled and disabled through the DCUI or through vCenter Server, and can also be accessed remotely via SSH. For more information, see the ESXi Management page.

Is SSH supported on ESXi?

Yes. SSH access to the ESXi Shell is supported.

How do I run esxtop on a vSphere host?

"esxtop" can be run directly within the ESXi Shell or by using the vCLI command "resxtop".

How do I monitor the hardware on vSphere host when using the ESXi hypervisor architecture?

vSphere supports both CIM APIs and SNMP v2/v3 for enabling hardware monitoring without installing agents. Hardware can be monitored via the vCenter console and via the major hardware monitoring tools from OEM vendors. See the ESXi Management page for more details.

How do I upgrade to ESXi or the latest version of vSphere?

Please visit the vSphere Upgrade Center.