Difference in free ESXi and licensed ESXi

Posted on 2011-05-10
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi, what's the difference in between free ESXi 4.1 and licensed version?
I am using 3.5 due to 32 bits processor on server, and what's the difference in ESXi 4.1 and 3.5 (what are the changes). Thanks
Question by:joyjohn
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LVL 124
ID: 35730467

VMware vSphere Hypervisor is the new name for ESXi.

The free download is available from here


you need to register to download for free.

The latest versions is ESX 4.1 U1

Here are the documents


Getting Started Guide


Please make sure you server is on the Hardware Compatibility List




and you use a 64 bit server and enable Intel Virtualisation Tecnology also called Intel-VT.

compare the differences between ESX and ESXi (the replacement for ESX)

LVL 124

Accepted Solution

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 1200 total points
ID: 35730476
How is the free VMware vSphere Hypervisor different than paid editions of VMware vSphere? How can I upgrade?

    VMware vSphere Hypervisor is available at no cost in order to help companies of all sizes experience the basic benefits of virtualization. Granting free access to vSphere’s basic hypervisor functionality enables IT professionals to become familiar with the technology and prove its value in their own companies.

    VMware vSphere Hypervisor can be seamlessly upgraded to more advanced editions of vSphere. Simply upgrade the free license to the desired upgraded vSphere license to take advantage of advanced vSphere functionally including centralized management, live migration of virtual machines, automatic load balancing, business continuity, power management, and back up and restore capabilities for virtual machines. VMware vSphere is available in multiple editions including two kits specifically designed for small businesses. A reason for moving to a paid kit or edition is that you could take advantage of the vSphere management server, called VMware vCenter Server, to enable centralized management.

see also here


Author Comment

ID: 35730552
is there any restriction selecting no. of CPU and cores? is this related to 3.5 and 4.1?
if not using the licensed version of VMware vSphere what's the best way for backup. for instance 1 pyysical server has 3 VM and like to restore data, take snapshots, or if server crashed need to get up and running as quickly as possible.
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LVL 124
ID: 35730569
With the free license 6 Cores which is also the same as the Non-Enterprise License which is 12 Cores.

You want to backup with the Unlicensed Free version?
LVL 124
ID: 35730576
VMware vSphere licenses come with two different entitlements on number of cores allowed per Processor:

   1. Software Licenses with six(6) cores per Processor restriction: vSphere Essentials, vSphere Essentials Plus, vSphere Standard and vSphere Enterprise
   2. Software Licenses with twelve(12) cores per Processor restriction: vSphere Advanced and vSphere Enterprise Plus

The FREE versions is the same as 1. above.

Author Comment

ID: 35730670
Thanks hanccocka for all info. For example if i have 2 Quad core processor on physical server and like to build 3 VM servers what's the best options? (16GB RAM), is 3 VMware server too much for this spec?

You want to backup with the Unlicensed Free version?
Yes, please
LVL 124
ID: 35730728
But Dual Quads, total of eight cores - fine.

3 VMware Servers should just be okay, but memory is a little low, depending on how much memory you allocare you should be okay.

Backups is really another question - your options are limited with the Free version.


Free (download) alternatives for backing up VMs

1. ghettoVCB

http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-8760 ((Will work on FREE ESXi, no licensed required.)

(can be performed whilst the virtual machine is live or powered on)

2. Scripts and NFS backup

http://communities.vmware.com/message/1029047 (Will work on FREE ESXi, no licensed required.)
(can be performed whilst the virtual machine is live or powered on)

3. VMware Converter Standalone 4.3


VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.x Documentation


VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.3 User Guide


With VMware Converter you can convert and copy a Virtual Machine to another datastore, this advantage is you can do this whilst the virtual machine is Online or Powered-Up.

4. Veeam FastSCP (http://www.veeam.com/vmware-esxi-fastscp.html)

Fast Virtual Machine / File Transfer. Faster than WinSCP and other SCP-based tools as it uses full network capacity. The Veeam FastSCP engine also features traffic compression and empty block removal for best file copy performance.

You can use FastSCP to connect to the ESX/ESXi server, and download the entire virtual machine folder/directory to the current workstation or server, where yov've connected from. You must ensure that the virtual machines are powered off to complete this operation.

5. Datastore browser

The datastore browser is included in the vSphere GUI Client, and enables you access to the datastore, virtual machines are stored on. You can simple use the cut and paste, or download/upload options to backup and restore virtual machines. Again to copy a virtual machine, the virtual machine must be powered off.


Author Comment

ID: 35730808
Thanks. so while creating VM server do i just need to select no. of CPU or there's settings to select the Core? Is no. of core = no. of vCPU
LVL 124
ID: 35730825
1 vCPU = 1 core on the physical processor.

(vCPU = virtual CPU)

(we are going a bit off topic and question now!)

Author Comment

ID: 35730875
thanks, now i am about to close this question. sorry.
ok, back to topic question, is there any difference between 3.5 and 4.1 with regards to selecting selecting CPU? thanks
LVL 40

Assisted Solution

coolsport00 earned 800 total points
ID: 35734290
There is no difference between 3.5 and 4.1 with regards to selecting CPUs. The CPU scheduler in vSphere (4.x) was enhanced for greater performance though. BTW...1 vCPU doesn't necessarily wholey equal 1 core as you can have about 4 VMs (or more depending on the VM's OS and the apps on it, all of which config'd with 1 vCPU) per core. So, 1 vCPU doesn't necessarily = 1 core. You can see VMware's CPU Scheduler Whitepaper. May be more on CPUs than you want :)

So, how is vSphere Hypervisor different than licensed ESXi? Easy...the license :) All functions are available in free as in purchased as "hanccocka" suggests above, but it's the license that determines if a feature (or feature set) is enabled or not. To see the feature difference between vSphere Hypervisor and all the licensed Editions of ESXi, see the first link here:

then this one (VMware took vSphere Hypervisor out of this cumulated Edition link a couple months back because, I assume, they are just really wanting you to spend your $$):

LVL 124
ID: 35734301
didnt see that post.

answer to question no.

1 vcpu = 1 core for 20ms then it could be a different core!
LVL 124
ID: 35734309
no difference in selecting cpus.
LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 35734316
Correct. I guess the best answer may be that 1 vCPU = ...well, 1 vCPU :)  The vSphere CPU scheduler really determines on what logical CPU (or core) the vCPU is assigned.


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