VMware shipped ESX Server 1.0 way back in 2001. While the word “Server” was lost over time, another bigger thing was not: the Console Operating System (a.k.a. Service Console or COS), a Linux instance that facilitated local management operations. While this administrative environment had an important role early on when centralized management with vCenter Server wasn’t as common as today, it also introduced overhead and made our platform less secure and robust as it could have been without it.
To address this issue, in 2007 we introduced our next-generation COS-less hypervisor architecture, VMware ESXi, which provided the same virtualization capabilities and performance as ESX with improved reliability and security (see ESXi and ESX Info Center for more details). Since its first release, we have gradually enhanced ESXi with the objective of enabling customers to perform the same advanced management tasks they performed with ESX. The great news is that thanks to the most recent improvements included in vSphere 4.1 we solved the last few remaining gaps (see It’s here! The latest version of ESXi for more details).
With the release of VMware vSphere 4.1, we announced that 4.1 will be the last vSphere version to support both the ESX and ESXi hypervisor architectures. Going forward customers will be able to deploy vSphere only using ESXi. Although the infrastructure management tasks once performed by the Service Console are now handled by tasks running under the VMkernel, some ESX users may still depend on the custom scripts, third-party products, or operational procedures that use the Service Console. This means that upgrading to vSphere 4.1 is the perfect time to start planning on migrating to the ESXi architecture and eventually break all dependencies on the Service Console once and for all. Here is a quick summary of what you should look into:
- Replace COS-based hardware monitoring with CIM-based tools
- Replace COS-based backup technologies with products that use the vStorage APIs
- Replace COS-based scripts using the VMware Management Assistant, the vCLI, or vSphere PowerCLI
For more information on these changes, VMware Customer Education is offering two recently released training courses. VMware vSphere: Transition to ESXi is a two-day instructor-led course that offers a broad survey of what is required to break these dependencies. VMware vSphere: Automation using vSphere PowerCLI is a two-day instructor-led course that teaches scripters about the extremely powerful PowerCLI scripting environment. VMotion a VM with a one-liner? You can in PowerCLI.
Enrollment in these courses is available now.
VMware vSphere: Transition to ESXi:
VMware vSphere: Automation with vSphere PowerCLI: