VMware ESXI 6
This release of vSphere 6.0 includes ESXi 6.0 and vCenter Server 6.0. Read about the new and enhanced features in this release in What’s New in the VMware vSphere 6.0 Platform.
Intel or AMD x64 processor
Disk Storage incl scratch
5.2GB at least
Hardware Compatibility for ESXi
To view a list of processors, storage devices, SAN arrays, and I/O devices that are compatible with vSphere 6.0.
Device Compatibility for ESXi
To determine which devices are compatible with ESXi 6.0. Some devices are deprecated and no longer supported on ESXi 6.0. During the upgrade process, the device driver is installed on the ESXi 6.0 host. The device driver might still function on ESXi 6.0, but the device is not supported on ESXi 6.0. For a list of devices that are deprecated and no longer supported on ESXi 6.0, see KB 2087970.
Virtual Machine Compatibility for ESXi
Virtual machines that are compatible with ESX 3.x and later (hardware version 4) are supported with ESXi 6.0. Virtual machines that are compatible with ESX 2.x and later (hardware version 3) are not supported. To use such virtual machines on ESXi 6.0, upgrade the virtual machine compatibility.
VMware Client ISO
VMware Client Update1 ISO
VMware 6 ESXI ISO
VMware Startup Screen
VMware Boot Menu
Loading ESXI Installer
VMware 6 Instializing
Scanning Available Devices
Select a Disk
Enter Root Password
Installing ESXI 6
Select Custom DNS Suffixes
Custome DNS Suffixes
Apply Changes & Reboot
When using the advanced and extended network capabilities by using the Cisco Nexus 1000v distributed virtual switch the following network-related limitations.
64 ESX/ESXi hosts per VSM (Virtual Supervisor Module)
2048 virtual ethernet interfaces per VMWare vDS (virtual distributed switch)
Maximum of 216 virtual interfaces per ESX/ESXi host
2048 active VLAN’s (one to be used for communication between VEM’s and VSM)
32 physical NIC’s per ESX/ESXi (physical) host
256 port-channels per VMWare vDS (virtual distributed switch)
Maximum of 8 port-channels per ESX/ESXi host
In terms of performance, virtualization imposes a cost in the additional work the CPU has to perform to virtualize the underlying hardware. Instructions that perform this extra work, and other activities that require virtualization, tend to lie in operating system calls. In an unmodified operating system, OS calls introduce the greatest portion of virtualization “overhead”.
Paravirtualization or other virtualization techniques may help with these issues. VMware developed the Virtual Machine Interface for this purpose, and selected operating systems currently support this. A comparison between full virtualization and paravirtualization for the ESX Server shows that in some cases paravirtualization is much faster.
Guest system maximum RAM
Host system maximum RAM
6TB (12TB on certain certified OEM hardware platforms)
Number of hosts in a high availability or Distributed Resource Scheduler cluster
Maximum number of processors per virtual machine
Maximum number of processors per host
Maximum number of virtual CPUs per physical CPU core
Maximum number of virtual machines per host
Maximum number of virtual CPUs per fault tolerant virtual machine
Maximum guest system RAM per fault tolerant virtual machine
VMFS5 maximum volume size
64 TB, but maximum file size is 62TB -512 bytes
VMware ESX 3.0.0 GA (Build 27701)
VMware ESX 3.0.1 GA (Build 32039)
VMware ESX 3.0.2 GA (Build 52542)
VMware ESX 3.0.3 GA (Build 104629)
VMware ESXi 3.5 GA (Build 64607)
VMware ESXi 3.5 Update 1 (Build 82663)
VMware ESXi 3.5 Update 2 (Build 103909)
VMware ESXi 3.5 Update 3 (Build 123629)
VMware ESXi 3.5 Update 4 (Build 153875)
VMware ESXi 3.5 Update 5 (Build 207095)
VMware ESXi 4.0 GA (Build 164009)
VMware ESXi 4.0 Update 1 (Build 208167)
VMware ESXi 4.0 Update 2 (Build 261974)
VMware ESXi 4.0 Update 3 (Build 403554)
VMware ESXi 4.0 Update 4 (Build 523315)
VMware ESXi 4.1 GA (Build 260247)
VMware ESXi 4.1 Update 1 (Build 351620)
VMware ESXi 4.1 Update 2 (Build 502767)
VMware ESXi 4.1 Update 3 (Build 800380)
VMware ESXi 5.0 GA (Build 469512)
VMware ESXi 5.0 Update 1 (Build 623860)
VMware ESXi 5.0 Update 2 (Build 914586)
VMware ESXi 5.0 Update 3 (Build 1311175)
VMware ESXi 5.1 GA (Build 799733)
VMware ESXi 5.1 Update 1 (Build 1065491)
VMware ESXi 5.1 Update 2 (Build 1483097)
VMware ESXi 5.1 Update 3 (Build 2323236)
VMware ESXi 5.5 GA (Build 1331820)
VMware ESXi 5.5 Update 1 (Build 1623387)
VMware ESXi 5.5 Update 2 (Build 2068190)
VMware ESXi 5.5 Update 3 (Build 3029944)
VMware ESXi 6.0 GA (Build 2494585)
VMware ESXi 6.0 Update 1 (Build 3029758)
VMware ESXi 6.0 Update 1a (Build 3073146)
VMware ESXi (formerly ESX) is an enterprise-class, type-1 hypervisor developed by VMware for deploying and serving virtual computers. As a type-1 hypervisor, ESXi is not a software application that one installs in an operating system; instead, it includes and integrates vital OS components, such as a kernel.
After version 4.1, VMware renamed ESX to ESXi. ESXi replaces Service Console (a rudimentary operating system) with a more closely integrated OS.
VMware ESXi is a smaller footprint version of ESX that does not include the ESX Service Console. It is available without the need to purchase a vCenter license as a free download from VMware with some features disabled.
VMware ESXi was originally a compact version of VMware ESX that allowed for a smaller 32 MB disk footprint on the Host. With a simple configuration console for mostly network configuration and remote based VMware Infrastructure Client Interface, this allows for more resources to be dedicated to the Guest environments.
There are two variations of ESXi, VMware ESXi Installable and VMware ESXi Embedded Edition. The same installation media will install to either one or the other of these installation modes depending on the size of the target media. It has the ability to upgrade to VMware Infrastructure 3 or VMware vSphere 4.0 ESXi.
ESX uses a Linux kernel to load additional code: often referred to by VMware, Inc. as the “vmkernel”. The dependencies between the “vmkernel” and the Linux part of the ESX server have changed drastically over different major versions of the software. The VMware FAQ states: “ESX Server also incorporates a service console based on a Linux 2.4 kernel that is used to boot the ESX Server virtualization layer”. The Linux kernel runs before any other software on an ESX host. On ESX versions 1 and 2, no VMkernel processes run on the system during the boot process. After the Linux kernel has loaded, the S90vmware script loads the vmkernel. VMware Inc states that vmkernel does not derive from Linux, but acknowledges that it has adapted certain device-drivers from Linux device drivers. The Linux kernel continues running, under the control of the vmkernel, providing functions including the proc file system used by the ESX and an environment to run support applications. ESX version 3 loads the VMkernel from the Linux initrd, thus much earlier in the boot-sequence than in previous ESX versions.
In ESX (and not ESXi), the Service Console is a vestigial general purpose operating system most significantly used as bootstrap for the VMware kernel, vmkernel, and secondarily used as a management interface. Both of these Console Operating System functions are being deprecated from version 5.0, as VMware migrates exclusively to the ESXi model, current version being ESXi. The Service Console, for all intents and purposes, is the operating system used to interact with VMware ESX and the virtual machines that run on the server.
Interface to Hardware
The vmkernel handles CPU and memory directly, using scan-before-execution (SBE) to handle special or privileged CPU instructions and the SRAT (system resource allocation table) to track allocated memory.
Access to other hardware (such as network or storage devices) takes place using modules. At least some of the modules derive from modules used in the Linux kernel. To access these modules, an additional module called vmklinux implements the Linux module interface. According to the README file, “This module contains the Linux emulation layer used by the vmkernel.”
The vmkernel uses the device drivers
ESX runs on bare metal (without running an operating system) unlike other VMware products. It includes its own kernel: A Linux kernel is started first, and is then used to load a variety of specialized virtualization components, including ESX, which is otherwise known as the vmkernel component. The Linux kernel is the primary virtual machine; it is invoked by the service console. At normal run-time, the vmkernel is running on the bare computer, and the Linux-based service console runs as the first virtual machine. VMWare dropped development of ESX at version 4.1, and now uses ESXi, which does not include a Linux kernel.
The vmkernel is a microkernel with three interfaces: hardware, guest systems, and the service console (Console OS).