What is the difference between Vmware Esxi Free 4 and 5?

Posted on 2011-10-04
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I have a PowerEdge R710 server with 96gig of memory and 2 processors. I want to run Vmware 4 or 5 free version but not sure if it will be able to use all the resources or not. Does anyone know the differences in the two?

Question by:aando
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Assisted Solution

coolsport00 earned 2000 total points
ID: 36912390
With v5, you'd be over by quite a bit (max 32GB), but v4.1 you'd be ok.

Here's more on vSphere 5:

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Accepted Solution

coolsport00 earned 2000 total points
ID: 36912394
VMware doesn't have a comparison sheet between the 2 versions really. Honestly, unless you plan on using more advanced features, which only come with purchased version of vSphere, stick with 4.1 is my recommendation.
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ID: 36912430
What’s New in vSphere 5.0

What’s New in vSphere 5.0
Visualize your virtual and backup environments

Create well-organized and polished visualizations of your virtual and backup environments when planning VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V or Veeam deployments. It helps you to gain better visibility and valuable business insights.

LVL 124
ID: 36912436
These are the 140 New features in vSphere 5.0

Here we go:

    Storage DRS
    Storage I/O Control for NFS
    ESXi Firewall
    VMFS Scalability and Performance enhancements
    2TB+ pass-through RDM support
    vCenter inventory extensibility
    Storage APIs -- VAAI T10 Compliancy
    Storage APIs -- VAAI Offloads for NAS
    Storage APIs -- VAAI Thin Provisioning
    Storage APIs -- Storage Awareness/Discovery
    Storage APIs -- Data Protection compatible with MN
    APD, Permanent APD Survivability Enablement
    Snapshot enhancements
    Storage vMotion scalability improvements
    iSCSI Enablement: iSCSI UI Support
    iSCSI Enablement: Stateless Support
    Multi-queue Storage IO adapters
    Increase NFSv3 Max Share Count to 256
    SATA 3.0
    Software FCoE initiator support
    Enhanced logging support
    Enhanced Storage metrics
    Profile-Driven Storage
    Storage vMotion support for snapshots
    vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA)
    SSD Detection and Enablement
    vSphere Replication
    vSphere Data Recovery 2.0
    VADP enhancements
    vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) Enhancements
    vCO -- Library extension and consolidation
    vCO -- Scalability
    Network I/O Control (NIOC) Phase 2
    NIOC -- User Defined Resource Pools
    NIOC -- HBR traffic type
    NIOC -- 802.1p tagging
    Network Traffic Stats for iOPS
    Improvement to UDP and Multicast traffic types
    New networking drivers for server enablement
    vDS support for Port mirror, LLDP and NetFlow V5
    vDS Manage Port Group UI enhancement
    Hot-Insert/Remove of Filters
    Enhanced vMotion Compatibility
    Storage vMotion support for Linked Clones
    vMotion scalability (dual-NIC & longer latency support)
    vNetwork API enhancements
    vNetwork Opaque Channel
    Support for 8 10GbE Physical NIC ports per host
    Add Host Resources MIB to SNMP offering
    Metro vMotion
    Host Profile for DRS to support Stateless ESX
    HA interop with agent VMs
    DRS/DPM interop with agent VMs
    DRS enhancements for Maintenance Mode
    Enhanced processor support for FT
    vSphere 5.0 HA aka "FDM / Fault Domain Manager"
    vSphere HA - Heartbeat Datastores
    vSphere HA - Support for partitions of management network
    vSphere HA - Default isolation response changed
    vSphere HA - New Status information in UI
    vSphere HA - IPv6 support
    vSphere HA - Application Awareness API publicly available
    Extensions to create special icons for VMs
    ESX Agent Management
    Solution Management Plugin
    Next-Gen vSphere Client
    Host Profiles Enhancements
    vCenter enhancements for stateless ESXi
    vCenter Server Appliance
    vCenter: Support for FileManager and VirtualDiskManager APIs
    Virtual Hardware - Smartcard support for vSphere
    Virtual Hardware Version 8
    Virtual HW v8 -- 1TB VM RAM
    Virtual HW v8 -- 32-way Virtual SMP
    Virtual Hw v8 -- Client-Connected USB Devices
    Virtual HW v8 -- EFI Virtual BIOS
    Virtual HW v8 -- HD Audio
    Virtual Hw v8 -- Multi-core Virtual CPU Support UI
    Virtual HW v8 -- New virtual E1000 NIC
    Virtual HW v8 -- UI and other support
    Virtual HW v8 -- USB 3.0 device support
    Virtual HW v8 -- VMCI device enhancements
    Virtual HW v8 -- xHCI
    Support SMP for Mac OS X guest OS
    Universal Passthrough (VMdirect path with vMotion support)
    Guest Management Operations (VIX API)
    Guest OS Support -- Mac OS X Server
    VM Serial Port to Host Serial Port Redirection (Serial Port Pass-Through)
    VMware Tools Portability
    VMRC Concurrent Connections enhancements
    Scalability: 512 VMs per host
    ESXCLI enhancements
    Support SAN and hw-iSCSI boot
    Hardware -- Interlagos Processor Enablement
    Hardware -- SandyBridge-DT Processor Enablement
    Hardware -- SandyBridge-EN Processor Enablement
    Hardware -- SandyBridge-EP Processor Enablement
    Hardware -- Valencia Processor Enablement
    Hardware -- Westmere-EX Processor Enablement
    Platform -- CIM Enhancements
    Platform -- ESX i18n support
    Host Power Management Enhancements
    Improved CPU scheduler
    Improved scalability of CPU (NUMA) scheduler
    Memory scheduler improvements to support 32-way VCPU's
    Swap to host cache
    API enhancements to configure VM boot order
    VMX swap
    Support for ESXi On Apple XServe
    Redirect DCUI to host serial port for remote monitoring and management
    UEFI BIOS Boot for ESXi hosts
    Scalability -- 160 CPU Threads (logical PCPUs) per host
    Scalability -- 2 TB RAM per host
    Scalability -- 2048 VCPUs per host
    Scalability -- 2048 virtual disks per host
    Scalability -- 2048 VMs per VMFS volume
    Scalability -- 512 VMs per host
    Stateless -- Host Profile Engine and Host Profile Completeness
    Stateless -- Image Builder
    Stateless -- Auto Deploy
    Stateless -- Networking Host Profile Plugin
    Stateless -- VIB Packaging Enhancement
    Stateless -- VMkernel network core dump
    Host profiles enhancements for storage configuration
    Enhanced driver support for ESXi
    Intel TXT Support
    Memsched policy enhancements w.r.t. Java balloon
    Native Driver Autoload support
    Root password entry screen in interactive installer
    vCenter Dump Collector
    vCenter Syslog Collector
    VMware Update Manager (VUM) enhancements
    VUM -- Virtual Appliance enhancements
    VUM -- vApp Support
    VUM -- Depot management enhancements
    vCLI enhancements
    PowerCLI enhancements
    VProbes -- ESX Platform Observability
LVL 124
ID: 36912447
If you are not going to purchase a license, you are better off with the no vRAM TAX of ESXi 4.1 U1.

ESXi 5.0 free version is 32GB, and even if you had licencsed Essentials at $500, you are then only entitled to 32GB per CPU.
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Expert Comment

ID: 36913522
Also, keep in mind that altho @hanccocka listed all those neat features, they are not usable in vSphere Hypervisor (free) edition, beit in v4 or v5. They are part of the architecture...the features are there, but are only enabled by the license you install. VMware took away the 'comparison' matrix they had between vSphere Hypervisor and their low-end edition hypervisors (Essentials/Essentials Plus), that showed the resource differences between the editions...really like that chart/matrix too! :( That move, my guess, is to force you into a purchase.

These are the best actual 'comparison' info links I could find:
http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/esxi-and-esx/compare.html (2 far right columns). I guess the main thing to know is resource limitations -> with 4.1, if I recall, the limitation on RAM is at 256GB & a single socket, 6-core CPU; v.5 has a total vRAM of 32GB for the whole server (not per socket CPU like other Editions), but you can have numerous processors.

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ID: 36913561
Got to keep our Sales Revenue Up! and sing the praises of VMware vSphere 5.0!
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Expert Comment

ID: 36913590
@hanccocka - By all means! ;) Hope things are indeed going well...
LVL 42

Expert Comment

ID: 36918283
Or you can install Hyper-V Server for free, use all of your RAM and CPUs for free, add a second server and do clustering for free, take advantage of backup APIs for free, upgrade to future versions for free, etc., etc. ;)

Or use Citrix Xen Server, which also does all that for free, but generally seems to be missing from the SMB and Enterprise market.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 36925812
Not what I wanted to hear but was the answer I was looking for.

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