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Is VMware ESXi (particularyly) versions 4 and 3.5 a free product (where I can simply activate it using the VMWare activation key I was emailed) or is it simply a demo or evaluation license key

Is VMware ESXi (particularly) versions 4 and 3.5 a free product (where I can simply activate it using the VMware activation key I was emailed) or is it simply a demo or evaluation copy (license key) that will need to be purchased after a certain amount of time (like after a month)?

I am trying to figure these things out before I actually download and install these products in a production work environment.

I have looked at VMware’s website, documentation, and at the email that contains the license key, but it doesn't mention anything about this.
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5 Solutions
 
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Yes, they are free.  You register for a key and they have no expiration.
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nutwooCommented:
VMware ESXi is a full version and will not expire. Most corp use this in non-production to save costs.

The i version is missing vmaware support and features like v-motion that the paid version offers.
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coolsport00Commented:
You shouldn't have been emailed the key you get the key at the download page when you download esxi. But, if it's esx you are talking about you trial it for 60 days. If you don't enter  the key for esxi, it will also expire after 60 days even though it's free.

~coolsport00
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Danny McDanielClinical Systems AnalystCommented:
the nice thing is that should you decide you want to use your "free" hosts within vCenter, you don't have to re-install...just re-license them with the new key(s) and the extra features are unlocked/enabled provided you meet the other requirements for the feature you want (like vCenter Server for vMotion or HA or DRS, etc...)
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rvivek_2002Commented:
Waht is the version you downloaded.

Up to ver 4 ESXi installable version was free (There is a licensed version which comes embdded with server hardware)

Vspgere 4.1 onwards.

there are two different (downloadable and ) installbe version
1.VMware vSphere Hypervisor TM (ESXi) which is free

2.  ESXi 4.1
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