vSphere Hypervisor ESXi - which features would I lose using the free version in my Lab?

Posted on 2015-01-27
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2015-02-01
So I am completely starting over in my home lab and wanted to know if I would be able to test all the features of VMware vSphere with the free vSphere Hypervisor ESXi version.

Beyond that is there a comparison chart?

Lastly, does Hyper-V lack any major features that vSphere Hypervisor ESXi free edition brings?
I will be building primarily Microsoft AD, multiple Exchange versions for testing migrations, SCCM, SCOM etc.

Thank you.
Question by:K B
  • 2

Expert Comment

by:Shahnawaz Ahmed
ID: 40573146
Dear KB,

Please find the link below explain what you will get in free version for testing of ESXi 5.5 & 5.1

Source -1. http://www.vladan.fr/esxi-5-5-free-version-details/
2. http://techhead.co/vmware-vsphere-5-1-hypervisor-free-esxi-5-1-limitations/

ESXi 5.5 Free version – The Features

    Physical RAM restriction removed (ESXi 5.1 was limited to 32Gb per host – it was a hard limit)
    8 vCPU per VM limit (It’s not often that one would need to run at home 8 vCPU VMs).

Virtual Hardware 10 improvements:

    LSI SAS support for Solaris 11
    Enablement for new CPU architectures
    AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) support
    SATA controller supports both virtual disk & CDROM on controller
    ESXi, there is no SCSI CDROM support, only IDE
    Mac OS X has stopped support for IDE, CDROM will require AHCI controller
    Most guest OSes also support AHCI
    Support 30 devices per controller, up to 4 controllers with total of 120 devices

Update: The other restrictions on Free ESXi, like the non writable APIs for having the possibility to use one of the backup software on the market, and do hot backups, are still valid. You can check out How-to Apply VMware Free License to VMware ESXi.
LVL 126

Accepted Solution

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 2000 total points
ID: 40573150
You will *NOT* be able to test all the features of VMware vSphere with the FREE version, *BUT* you can evaluate ALL the features for FREE for 60 days. Most of us now use AutoLab, and "reset" the lab every 60 days, and then you can use ALL the features all the time!

e.g. the free version has no vMotion, DRS, FT, Replication, Backup....

see here for the features included


see my EE Article

HOW TO: What's New in VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.5 (ESXi 5.5)

Why not try AutoLab ?

vSphere 5.0 AutoLab by Alastair Cooke

I would also recommend looking at vSphere 5.0 AutoLabby fellow vExpert - Alastair Cooke
What is the AutoLab?

The AutoLab is a quick easy way to build a vSphere environment for  testing and learning using a single desktop or laptop PC and VMware  Workstation, Fusion or ESXi. The whole lab runs in VMs on that one PC,  even ESXi runs in a VM and can then run it’s own VMs.

 Take a look over at ProfessionalVMware for details of how to get started with building your own vSphere 5 AutoLab.

Lastly, does Hyper-V lack any major features that vSphere Hypervisor ESXi free edition brings?

Hyper-V and VMware vSphere ESXi (free), offer the same level of functionality.

Do not confused Hyper-V Server with Microsoft Server 2012 R2 with the Hyper-V role added, which is not free, and you need to purchase the 2012 license.

Author Comment

by:K B
ID: 40582825
Autolab, great recommendation!!

Cannot wait to use it!

Thanks again!
LVL 126
ID: 40582857
I've got an article here you can follow:-

HOW TO: Set up a lab environment for vSAN using VMware Workstation

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