VMware is one of the sector leaders of virtualization solutions and VMware ESXi is a well-known form 1 hypervisor that is very respected by that specialists. An ext and an ext people and also companies are deploying ESXi servers in their environments for running virtual machines. One ESXi hypervisor is listed as a component of VMware vSphere which, in turn, come with different licensing choices for every edition. Each VMware vSphere edition has its very own price however VMware additionally provides a totally free version that ESXi. Today’s blog article explores features of totally free VMware ESXi and restrictions and also limitations the await you if you usage this version of an ESXi hypervisor.

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Applying a complimentary VMware ESXi license

You have the right to download an ESXi installer ISO photo from VMware website, for which you"ll require to have a VMware account. The installer document of a particular version (for example, 6.7) of one ESXi hypervisor is the very same for all editions. A different collection of features and also capabilities is identified after using the appropriate license. After installing ESXi, a full-featured 60 work evaluation duration is started. You have the right to use all features easily accessible for the enterprise Plus edition during the 60-day testimonial period. If you apply your license before the evaluation duration expires, you deserve to only usage features enabled by her license. If 60 days have actually passed and no patent was applied, then all progressed features space locked, running VMs proceed to run but you cannot begin powered turn off VMs. ESXi hosts associated to vCenter Server space disconnected in this case. You"ll need to use a patent (free or paid) to make your ESXi server work again.

Where can you acquire a complimentary license key? as soon as you have actually registered on VMware website, you have the right to request a complimentary license an essential for ESXi. Friend can acquire the an essential on the patent & Download tab the the vSphere Hypervisor Download facility page.


When you have actually downloaded the installer and also received ESXi complimentary license key, you have the right to install the ESXi server according to the procedure described in this blog post. Once you have installed one ESXi server, open your web browser and also enter the IP address of her ESXi organize to open VMware host Client. Enter root as the user name and also the password you specified during ESXi installation to log in in. In the left pane (Host Navigator) choose Host > Manage and also then pick the Licensing tab.


As you have the right to see in the screenshot above, a host is to run in the review mode. In the current example ESXi was installed on the 18th of January and the expiration day is the 19th the March. A complete list of features available for the 60-day evaluation period is displayed on this web page in the features section. The license an essential is presented as 25 zeros in this case.

Let’s apply a free VMware ESXi patent key. Click Assign License and also enter your vital (25 symbols). Click the Check License button, and if your license key is valid, click Assign license.


Now your license type has readjusted from the Evaluation setting to VMware vSphere 6 Hypervisor. The “Up to 8-way online SMP” cable is shown in the features column. SMP means Symmetric Multi-Processing – a feature that defines the number of cores that the host deserve to schedule a VM to usage at once (8 cores/virtual processors in situation of making use of a cost-free license). The expiration date is readjusted to Never.


How to examine Features easily accessible With a free VMware License

The an initial visual distinction you may notification is presented in the screenshots above. If you desire to see more detailed license info, usage a console. In this instance PuTTY is provided to access the ESXi console remotely via SSH. Make sure that SSH access is permitted in ESXi settings. Get in the following command to watch your license and available features:

vim-cmd vimsvc/license --show

In the screenshot listed below you have the right to see the calculation of this command because that ESXi running in the free mode and also for ESXi running in the testimonial mode. A perform of accessible features is much longer for the ESXi server the is running in the review mode.


The perform of limitations for free VMware ESXi

Now let’s have a closer look at at restrictions when utilizing an ESXi server version 6.7 through a complimentary license. Depending on your environment, some restrictions may be unnoticeable because that you when others deserve to be critical:

No official VMware support Max 8 vCPU per Each VM cannot Be regulated with vCenter vStorage API Is Not easily accessible

No main VMware Support

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There is no commercial technological support noted by VMware for totally free ESXi. You can ask the VMware community for support, and also with any kind of luck, you can discover a equipment for addressing your issue. If commercial VMware technical support works 24x7 and usually offers answers in brief order, aid in resolving worries by the VMware ar may take it somewhat an ext time. VMware commercial support also provides software application upgrades.

Max 8 vCPU per Each VM

If you develop a VM with an ext than 8 online processors (for example, a VM through 9 online one-core processors or a VM through 5 digital two-core processors), the VM is most likely to failure to begin on complimentary ESXi, mirroring the error “There are inadequate licenses to finish this operation”. At the very same time, v the evaluation or companies Plus editions friend can produce a VM v up come 128 vCPUs (virtual main Processors Units) assigned to that VM. The 8 vCPU restriction may not cause far-ranging disadvantages, uneven the following two restrictions.

Cannot Be controlled with vCenter

The cost-free version of one ESXi server cannot be controlled with vCenter – a centralized server for managing hosts and virtual machines. If you shot to add an ESXi organize with a complimentary license come vCenter Server, you have the right to expect to get the error: “License not accessible to do the operation”. Hence, you can not migrate equipments from one complimentary ESXi host to another and also use clustering features, because vCenter Server is forced to carry out these operations. This is a significant disadvantage if you space planning to usage multiple ESXi hosts.

vStorage API Is not Available

VMware gives a data protection framework that is dubbed vStorage API (Application regimen Interface) because that enabling centralized backup the virtual equipments on a host level. VStorage APIs permits third-party applications to do VM backup much more efficiently as well as offload CPU, network, and storage. ESXi Server free Edition doesn’t enable applications to connect with that ESXi server via vStorage APIs, hence, VMs cannot be backed up native the complimentary version that ESXi ~ above a hold level. Your back-up application should display screen an error message in this case. You deserve to only carry out a legacy back-up of VMs to run on the totally free version that ESXi organize that requires the agent installation top top the guest operation system. This blog write-up explains why legacy back-up is no recommended because that backing up online machines.

Features That space not limited for totally free VMware ESXi

Now that we’ve gone through the disadvantages and limitations, let’s evaluation the non-limited functions and benefits of complimentary ESXi.

Unlimited physical CPUs every Host

A cost-free ESXi license allows you to usage an unlimited number of physical processors for an ESXi organize (VMware vSphere Hypervisor). In old version of ESXi a complimentary license is minimal to using an ext than 2 physical processors. The processor is virtualized but not emulated in case of hardware virtualization and is one of its main components.

Unlimited Cores every CPU

Cores per physical CPU are not limited with the free ESXi license. This feature enables you to utilize hardware CPU performance rationally. One CPU core deserve to be offered as one virtual processor or one online processor main point for a digital machine.

Unlimited physics Memory

Similarly to physics CPUs and processor cores, physical storage is not limited for one ESXi server that has a cost-free license. In addition to unlimited CPUs and CPU cores, this feature permits you to deploy a powerful physical server that consists of 4, 6 or much more multicore CPUs with large amount that RAM, install ESXi, use a free license, and also deploy many VMs (max. 8 vCPUs every VM).

No Expiration Date

Get a complimentary ESXi patent once, and also feel for sure in the knowledge that it never expires. This way that you can use ESXi server free version as lengthy as girlfriend want. If you need to apply a advertising license, you deserve to do that at any kind of time there is no re-installing her ESXi server. Simply open the licensing choices in your VMware host client of VMware vSphere customer and get in a brand-new license.

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VMware gives a loyal licensing policy. You can start diving into the wonderful people of hardware virtualization with cost-free VMware ESXi, additionally called VMware vSphere Hypervisor, follow to the VMware licensing terms. Cost-free VMware ESXi have the right to be taken into consideration a nice equipment for small companies such as little shops and self-employed people, as well as for trial and error or discovering purposes. The ability to use countless hardware sources (CPUs, CPU cores, RAM) enables you to run a high number of VMs ~ above the totally free ESXi host with the limitation of 8 online processors every VM (one physical processor core can be supplied as a digital CPU). The main disadvantages of using complimentary VMware ESXi room the i can not qualify to usage vStorage APIs and, as a result, usage native back-up applications for performing host-level VM backup, as well as lack of accessibility to central management v VMware vCenter Server. Despite the limitations, using complimentary ESXi in a production setting is no prohibited through the license agreement. Read an ext in the blog post about VMware vSphere editions and licensing.