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VMware is virtual machine software that provides a virtualized set of hardware (a video adapter, a network adapter, and hard disk adapters) to the guest operating system. VMware virtual machines become highly portable between computers, because every host looks nearly identical to the guest. In practice, a system administrator can pause operations on a virtual machine guest, move or copy that guest to another physical computer, and there resume execution exactly at the point of suspension. VMware's enterprise software hypervisors for servers, VMware ESX and VMware ESXi are bare-metal embedded Hypervisors that run directly on server hardware without requiring an additional underlying operating system.

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Expert Comment

by:Lucas Bishop
First an Xserve cluster, now 4 Mac Pros!? What's next, a pallet of iMacs?
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Become a CompTIA Certified Healthcare IT Tech
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Become a CompTIA Certified Healthcare IT Tech

This course will help prep you to earn the CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician certification showing that you have the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in installing, managing, and troubleshooting IT systems in medical and clinical settings.

Andy's VMware vSphere tip#28: Not really a VMware tip. But PASSWORDS are no longer safe, turn on Two Factor Authentication where possible. Change your passwords today, check if you've been pwned! https://haveibeenpwned.com/ So many websites have been hacked in previous years, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Adobe, Last.fm, tumblr, and now Reddit.....

Your password from one of these sites, is now in the PUBLIC DOMAIN, as well as your email address, and telephone number, in spread sheets which are circling the internet!

If you are still using an OLD PASSWORD ANYWHERE change IT NOW.

Use a password manager to help you ensure all your passwords are strong and unique such that a breach of one service doesn't put your other services at risk.

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Andy's VMware vSphere tip#27:  Check NTP servers, if you are using external when installing VCSA 6.5/6.7!
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Andy's VMware vSphere tip#26: VMware vCenter Server stopped responding, cannot login, giving you an error? Check vCenter Server storage space, especially if using the appliance!

If you would like to discuss this post further please post a question to the VMware Topic area.
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Andy's VMware vSphere tip#24: When designing and implementing a vSphere solution (ESXi), make sure that all your network services, have at least two network interfaces (uplinks) in the host, to reduce single points of failure. e.g. two network interfaces per vSwitch for Management Network, vMotion, and Virtual Machine networks.

see an example here

10NICs-with-annotations---.jpg
If you would like to discuss this post further please post a question to the VMware Topic area.
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Andy's VMware vSphere tip#23: Missed my vSphere Tips! Today lets discuss BACKUPS!

After visiting many clients, a high percentage, run BACKUPS, and have backups, but NEVER test a restore!

There is no point in making backups, if you never test restore weekly or monthly to check you can restore a VM, files or folders, and the procedure to do it. In the heat of the moment, when you are facing an emergency, do you really want to be left reading the manuals, on how to restore a VM, or files and folders.

So take some time out, and practice restoring VMs, files and folders using your backup software!

I like to use the phrase a BACKUP IS NOT A BACKUP UNLESS STORED IN THREE (3) PLACES!

Think about it...

Have a Good Weekend.

If you would like to discuss this post further please post a question to the VMware Topic area.
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I've inherited an Apple Mac Xserve Cluster:-

IMG_3197.jpg
and as these are Xserve 3,1 are on the HCL for ESXi 5.5. Therefore I can legally accept the Apple EULA, and install Apple macOS Virtual Machines on them, because they have an Apple badge (Apple hardware).

Program-Manager-000664.jpgApple-Mac-VDI-Master-000665.jpg
If you do not have an Apple badge on your hardware, you are in breach of the Apple EULA. (Please do not ask me, because this cannot be discussed on Experts Exchange)
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LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:Lucas Bishop
Considering the age of those boxes, are you able to install the latest version of MacOS VM? Or do you have to run some legacy version?

I'd think High Sierra would choke at some point during the install. Or since it's installing within a VM, there is no real hardware dependency at all?
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LVL 129

Author Comment

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
The CPU in the hosts are 2.9GHz, 8 Core, Intel® Xeon® Processor X5570. with 96GB RAM.

The benefits of virtualisation, is only the CPU in the Host are passed through to the VM, everything else is virtual, storage is based on flash array - so quick.

So as for High Sierra running the latest and greatest, with no issues, in fact, faster than some Mini Macs! (and with the added benefit, we can tweak adding more RAM and Cores to the VM) than what is available in a physical!

However, we do not have the advantage of added CPU instruction sets, after Nehalem, but most Intel instructions are supported, and we are not using encryption to take advantage of latest Intel CPU instructions.

So for servers that went end of life 7-9 years ago, not bad really...
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Andy's VMware vSphere tip#22: Snapshot issue! Remember a quick method, is just to CLONE out the original VM to a new VM (the CLONE)... The new VM will not have any Snapshots attached. CLONE is a function of vCenter Server. Then once you have checked your new server works, delete the original, and if you need to use the old MAC Address, no it down, of the old VM, and replace it on the new!

If you would like to discuss this post further please post a question to the VMware Topic area.
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Andy's VMware vSphere tip#21: End of Support Life for vSphere 5.5, which includes vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.5 and vCenter Server 5.5.

The official VMware KB is here...

https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/51491

I've seen many posts recently, Experts jumping in and posting, ESXi 5.5 is not supported after September 2018, which is a true statement, but it does not really help the Member posting a question, as to what the issue is today they are experiencing.

also... that is not really a hard and fast rule, Support for ESXi 5.5 CAN be extended if you purchase support.

"In the event you are unable to upgrade before the End of General Support (EOGS) and are active on Support and Subscription, you have the option to purchase extended support in one year increments for up to two years beyond the EOGS date. Visit VMware Extended Support for more information."  

"Technical Guidance for vSphere 5.5 is available until September 19, 2020 primarily through the self-help portal"

e.g. all the firmware, security and critical update patches, software will still be available for download, all VMware Kbs, and VMware Communities information will still be available.

What does this mean to you and your organization ?

1. Unless you are covered by a valid support and subscription, and purchased extended support, you will not be able to make a telephone support, or email support, or online support request for vSphere 5.5.

2. If you Support and Subscription has expired - not …
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Andy's VMware vSphere tip#20: Created your 100 Daily VMware vSphere Daily Checks yet ? Our Sysops, when they start a shift monitoring VMware vSphere clusters, go through a checklist of 100 things to check, when they come on shift before they attend to anything else like putting the kettle on for a cuppa! I'll start you off...

You may think that 100 checks to perform, is time consuming, but it takes a Sysop approx 1 hour, to go through all checks, and sign them off.

1. Connected to vCenter Server without issue ?
2. Any alerts present at the Datacentre ?
3. Any alerts present at the Cluster ?
4. All hosts responding and online ?
5. Any alerts present per host ?

....

If you would like to discuss this post further please post a question to the VMware Topic area.

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Acronis True Image 2019 just released!
LVL 1
Acronis True Image 2019 just released!

Create a reliable backup. Make sure you always have dependable copies of your data so you can restore your entire system or individual files.

Andy's VMware vSphere tip#19: vSphere Clients :- need to find and download the older legacy C#, thick client for ESXi 5.5 to 6.0 - download from here

https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2089791

Please remember that the vSphere Client is no longer supported and developed, and you would be advised to start management using the vSphere Web Client available via vCenter Server or Host Client.

6.5 and .6.7 can only be managed by Web Client (Host Client).

If you would like to discuss this post further please post a question to the VMware Topic area.
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Andy's VMware vSphere tip#18: Rather than burning your VMware ESXi Hypervisor installation ISO to a CDROM/DVDROM, "burn" it to a USB flash drive, for quicker installation! (and if you execute from RAM even quicker!)

OEM-DELL-ESXi.jpg
You can use Rufus or YUMI to do this.

https://rufus.akeo.ie/

https://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-multiboot-usb-creator/

We actually have a number of flash drives, and USB external hard disks we use for different installations, for different vendor OEM ESXi, e.g. separate devices for Dell, HPE, Lenovo/IBM, and Fujitsu.

and also different releases, e.g. 5.x, 6.x, 7.x!

We also add to these flash drives, on the release of new ESXi versions, and we keep all the legacy versions, just in case there is a need to repair and installation!

HOW TO: Fix the Error loading /s.v00 Fatal error: 33 (Inconsistent data) in the VMware vSphere Hypervisor

If you would like to discuss this post further please post a question to the VMware Topic area.
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Andy's VMware vSphere tip#17: Datastore storage: Leave at least 20-30% FREE!

If you create many VMs per datastore, and try to use all the storage space, this is a bad idea, you ideally need to reserve at least 20-30% per datastore based on total storage, to allow for Memory SWAP files - When a VM is powered on, it creates a swap file on the datatore (where the vmx configuration file is stored by default), which is equal to the memory assigned to the VM.

Also snapshots need additional storage space.

You can set alarms to warn you of storage (datastore) space issues.

If you would like to discuss this post further please post a question to the VMware Topic area.
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Andy's VMware vSphere tip#16: Difficult P2V, difficult Shrink! Sometimes old software is best, we had a client today, which had over provision a virtual machine disk, but had made a mistake, and it was using up their datastore, but what ever software they tried "VMware Converter", file level cloning failed, to read a disk sector, which it kept complaining about a disk error, but chkdsk and surface scans stated the disk had now errors, the virtual machine disk refused to defragment, and conventional third party utilities could not shrink the OS partition to complete any of the following tricks in these articles

HOW TO: Shrink or Reduce a VMware Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) using VMware vCenter Converter Standalone v5.5.2

HOW TO: Shrink a VMware Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) in 15 minutes

BUT, old software is often best, years ago (1995), we purchased the General Hardware-Oriented System Transfer software on disk, or often called GHOST!

Add a new disk virtual disk of the correct size, and complete a Disk to Disk CLONE with partition re-size to shrink to 40GB - SIMPLES!

(other third party products available but most failed due to a disk fault!)

2018-06-04-21_38_40-.png
If you would like to discuss this post further please post a question to the VMware Topic area.
0
(double tips today, because too busy yesterday!)

Andy's VMware vSphere tip#15: VMware HCL - It's important to check it... it will also disclose firmware/BIOS which have been used in certifying servers for use with ESXi, and also driver versions for FC and iSCSI HBAs, and also firmware in flash cards.

Check the VMware Hardware Compatability Lists HCL here

The VMware Hardware Compatibility List is the detailed lists showing actual vendor devices that are either physically tested or are similar to the devices tested by VMware or VMware partners. Items on the list are tested with VMware products and are known to operate correctly.Devices which are not on the list may function, but will not be supported by VMware.

http://www.vmware.com/go/hcl

If you would like to discuss this post further please post a question to the VMware Topic area.
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Andy's VMware vSphere tip#14: Deploy the vCenter Appliance (VCSA), it has been debated in VMware circles for many years, whether to use a physical or virtual server to host vCenter Server for Windows, a virtual server is supported by VMware, as a vCenter Server. But now the vCenter Appliance (VCSA) has the same features as vCenter Server for Windows, we think it makes sense to deploy VCSA (which is a virtual appliance), it saves a Windows license, the OS does not have to be patched monthly. Many VMware Admins seem to be put off by using vCenter Server virutally, but vCenter Server is only a management server, if it is not available, Virtual Machines don't just stop! You can still connect directly to each ESXi host and manage a host if need be! There are many benefits to hosting a virtual vCenter Server, Backup and Restore, DR is easier, Higher Availability if using VMware HA, in the event a host fails, all the VMs including vCenter Server (VCSA) will be re-started on a host. There is also vCenter High Availability (HA) - (VCSA-HA).

HOW TO: Deploy and Install the VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 (VCSA 6.5)

So deploy VCSA today.

If you would like to discuss this post further please post a question to the VMware Topic area.
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Andy's VMware vSphere tip#13: vSphere PERFORMANCE - Don't forget vCenter Server can provide you many metrics to check your overall performance, CPU, Memory, Disk I/O and Networking statistics can be generated and reported on...

but there are a few additional Capacity Tools we use on a daily basis to manage many VMware vSphere clusters and datacentres, and these are also available as FREE trials, these tools not only show health, current performance, capacity but also can predict what resources you have left in your cluster, and what wasted resources can be reclaimed!

First I've got to mention VMware's own VMware™ vRealize Operations Manager® or what we call vROPs

https://www.vmware.com/uk/products/vrealize-operations.html

2018-06-01-10_20_36-Capacity-Overvie.png
and

Sumerian Capacity Planner - https://capacity-planner.sumerian.com/register.aspx

2018-06-01-10_26_06-Capacity-Planner.png
Both available for FREE trials, if you get stuck with a performance issue, and need an additional help.

If you would like to discuss this post further please post a question to the VMware Topic area.
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Andy's VMware vSphere tip#12:BACKUP Not matter how simple, or quick you think a change will be to a production machine, in service, First STOP! Ensure you have a Full Backup or CLONE (not a Snapshot) before you proceed changing any VMware Virtual Machine in production, and should any change fail, you can quickly rollback to the working VM. e.g. today a simple change to defragment a VM, which was causing performance issues, caused the NTFS file system to become corrupted, and the VM failed to boot with a BSOD.

Simply, rolled back with a CLONE, that was taken before the change!

Good IT Practice...Don't look like a cowboy to your peers! IT has a bad enough reputation as it is!

If you would like to discuss this post further please post a question to the VMware Topic area.

1

Expert Comment

by:tkgj11
I just want to restart Vcenter
0
Andy's VMware vSphere tip#11: DNS (Domain Name System) - this has really go nothing to do with VMware vSphere BUT your VMware vSphere Infrastructure is ONLY as GOOD as your WORKING DNS (servers) for your organisation.  So please ensure you get into the habit, of understanding DNS, what it does, and ensure you have at least two working DNS servers, BEFORE you start implementing VMware vSphere. and DO NOT USE IP Addresses for ESXi servers, vCenter Servers, or any other VMware component. Use hostnames, and fully qualified domain names (FQDN) for everything in your  VMware vSphere environment, and this means pen and paper before you start implementing and writing down names of servers and IP Addresses, and then entering A Records for those in your DNS servers., and then check you can resolve those IP Addresses to hostnames, fqdn, and hostames and fqdn to IP Addresses.

Otherwise your installations WILL FAIL!

VMware vSphere is dependant on GOOD working DNS (this can be hosted on Windows, Linux, Unix)

Please see here

https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.0/com.vmware.vsphere.upgrade.doc/GUID-1DD8E69C-4551-4C18-8698-7BFE01BEA8B7.html

If you would like to discuss this post further please post a question to the VMware Topic area.
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OWASP Proactive Controls
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OWASP Proactive Controls

Learn the most important control and control categories that every architect and developer should include in their projects.

Andy's VMware vSphere tip#10: Backup your ESXi configuration, I'm not referring to your VMs, which should be backed up anyway.  But the configuration of the ESXi server, e.g. vSwitches, Time Settings, Advanced settings, firewall settings, network teaming policies.... so they can be easily restored in the event of server failure.

Don't waste time, trying to backup and clone usb thumb drives or SD cards, you are wasting your time, and it does not work! and please use good quality USB thumb drives or SD cards, from SanDisk, Kingston, Lexmark, and not $1 thumb drives from Walmart!

You can use the following commands in the vSphere vCLI to backup

vicfg-cfgbackup --server=ESXi_host_IP_address --username=root -s output_file_name

and to restore

vicfg-cfgbackup --server=ESXi_host_IP_address --username=root -l backup_file
see here for further details

https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2042141

Please post a question to the VMware Topic area, if you would like to discuss this further.
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Andy's VMware vSphere tip#9: Use Templates. It surprises us, that many organisations waste time, cranking the handle, installing operating systems manually, by connecting an ISO, and doing next, next, next, reboot finish!

WHY!

Let vCenter Server do the heavy lifting for you, and spend some development time, creating Golden Masters for Windows 2012 R2, Windows 2016, Ubuntu 16.x etc - keep them patched and updated, create Many OS Customisations, and then when you get a service Request for a VM - sit back and Deploy from Template, which then Auto Renames the VM, Auto Joins domain, and is ready for hand over to the next team!

and you can sit back and take the pressure off.

If you have a SAN with VAAI enabled, deployment of templates will be very quick. (another TIP, do not have templates and VMs on the same datastore, create a datastore for storage of templates and datastore for isos).

https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.5/com.vmware.vsphere.vm_admin.doc/GUID-8254CD05-CC06-491D-BA56-A773A32A8130.html

Please post a question to the VMware Topic area, if you would like to discuss this further.
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Andy's VMware vSphere tip#8: Spectre and Meltdown....Have you patched your server yet? It's almost 5 months since this Security Flaw was found in Intel CPUs, and we are still finding many VMs, and Hosts in the wild which are still not patched!

Remember this actually requires a little bit of work... To successfully patch against Spectre and Meltdown, you must:-

1. Update the BIOS and Firmware, and maybe CPU microcode in the Host ESXi Server. Some BIOS updates update the microcode for you. Check with your Server Vendor, some server vendor have been very slow to release new BIOS/Firmware/Microcode updates, and some servers may be now end of life, as server vendor may not release new code.

2. Update vCenter Server to 6.5 U1g, 6.0 U3e or 5.5 U3h.

3. Update the ESXi Build to the latest versions

ESXi 6.5: ESXi650-201803401-BG* and ESXi650-201803402-BG**
ESXi 6.0: ESXi600-201803401-BG* and ESXi600-201803402-BG**
ESXi 5.5: ESXi550-201803401-BG* and ESXi550-201803402-BG**

4. Update VMware Tools and all virtual machine hardware versions to 11.

5. Update Guest VM with latest updates.

6. You can then sit back, you are patched!

https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/52085

https://blogs.vmware.com/services-education-insights/feed-items/meltdown-and-spectre-vmware-patches#

https://blogs.vmware.com/feed-items/vmware-releases-patches-for-meltdown-and-spectre-bug/

If you need to discuss this further please, post a question to the VMware topic area.
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Andy's VMware vSphere tip#7: SNAPSHOTS (Hyper-V calls them Checkpoints!) Believe it or not one of EE most asked questions in the VMware Topic area, at least one question a week is asked in the VMware Topic, and the response by many VMware Administrators, is "my datastore has filled up, my VM has stopped working, and says retry or abort - I've checked and there are no snapshots reported in Snapshot Manager!"

I'll tell you it It lies to you.... quickly check VM Folder on the datastore, if you see a file -0000x.vmdk - the likelihood is you have a snapshot!

and guess what I wrote an EE Article here

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/VMWare/A_10300.html

If you use a backup product which is vSphere aware, it will use the Storage API - Snapshot method to backup your VMs, and most often leaves the VM running on a snapshot, and you are not aware.

CHECK DAILY FOR SNAPSHOTS as part of your VMware Daily Admin either manually, write a script, set a vCenter Server Alarm.

or use Snapwatcher by Opvizor - see here https://try.opvizor.com/snapwatcher/

Catch your VM snapshots before they catch YOU!

If you find yourself with a snapshot issue, out of your depth STOP! do not ignore it Ask for help on EE in the VMware Topic area, it's serious, and corruption can occur if not dealt with promptly and correctly.

Have a Good Weekend...

Andy
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Andy's VMware vSphere tip#6: [InstallationError] [Errno 28] No space left on device - updating from 6.5 U1 to 6.5 U2 (possible other versions as well!)

We were updating HPE Proliant Servers Generation 8 [G8], and it would appear as of writing HPE have still not released a Gen8 ESXi 6.5 U2 Image! So we had to use 6.5 U1 and updated to U2. [Please note always use the OEM version of ESXi for vendor servers, e.g. HPE, Dell, IBM/Lenovo, Fujitsu etc]

This might lead you to this VMware Kb - https://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1007638

But it does not appear to be anything to do with space on the device, and when you investigate there is plenty of storage space.

Here's a quick workaround..

 Install the vib manually, see here

1. cd /tmp

2. wget http://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/esx/vmw/vib20/tools-light/VMware_locker_tools-light_6.5.0-1.47.8285314.vib

3. esxcli software vib install -f -v /tmp/VMware_locker_tools-light_6.5.0-1.47.8285314.vib

Complete 6.5 U2 upgrade as normal.

4. esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.5.0-20180502001-standard -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml

Done...
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Andy's VMware vSphere tip#5: Best Practice and Security Hardening ? HOW... easy as 1...2...3...

How about using some Automated VMware expertise, like having a VMware Consultant on hand, every minute of the day to ensure your VMware vSphere environment, is following best practices and security hardening guidelines to protect your environment, also has the ability to monitor VMware vSphere Hypervisor logs in real time for VMware KBs. We've been using and following this small startup for a few years now. Let me introduce you to Runecast Analyzer.

2018-05-24-10_41_44-Runecast-_-Web-c.png
https://www.runecast.biz/

Download a 14 Day Trial and take it for a spin.

We would not recommend it, if we didn't use it!

So there is no no excuse to quickly scan your environment for FREE, and see what you need to change!

PS Tell them Andy sent you.....you may get a discount!!!
0

Expert Comment

by:Alba Richi
Very interesting, thank you!
0
LVL 129

Author Comment

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
No problems follow me for more tips!
1

VMware

34K

Solutions

17K

Contributors

VMware is virtual machine software that provides a virtualized set of hardware (a video adapter, a network adapter, and hard disk adapters) to the guest operating system. VMware virtual machines become highly portable between computers, because every host looks nearly identical to the guest. In practice, a system administrator can pause operations on a virtual machine guest, move or copy that guest to another physical computer, and there resume execution exactly at the point of suspension. VMware's enterprise software hypervisors for servers, VMware ESX and VMware ESXi are bare-metal embedded Hypervisors that run directly on server hardware without requiring an additional underlying operating system.