HCL: Systems Compatibility Guide for ESX Server 2.x
VMware ESX Server has an architecture that delivers high performance I/O for PCI- based SCSI, RAID, Fibre Channel, Ethernet, and Gigabit Ethernet adapters, as well as internal RAID controllers. These high performance devices are accessed directly through device drivers in the ESX Server machine and not through a host operating system as with VMware Workstation and GSX Server products.
VMware ESX Server is tested for compatibility with a variety of major guest operating systems running in virtual machines. Additionally, VMware ESX Server is tested for compatibility with currently shipping platforms from the major server makers in pre-release testing. Our goal is to support a variety of storage and network adapters used as standard options for these platforms as they come to market.