It’s here! The latest version of ESXi

We are proud to announce the release of ESXi 4.1!  With the new version of VMware vSphere 4.1 – whose General Availability was announced earlier today – VMware delivered several substantial improvements to the ESXi hypervisor architecture. VMware ESXi is the industry’s gold standard when it comes to hypervisor architectures thanks to a streamlined code base (less than 100MB) that dramatically improves the security, deployment and configuration, and ongoing administration of the hypervisor. While the ESXi architecture already delivers the same performance and reliability as ESX, it was missing few advanced management features particularly useful in large scale environments. Over the past year since the release of vSphere 4.0, we put a lot of effort in addressing these shortcomings and we believe that with the new capabilities of vSphere 4.1 we achieved our goal.

The table below shows you a high level summary of main features of the last two versions of both ESX and ESXi. As you can see ESXi 4.1 supports nearly all the same advanced management features as ESX 4.1

 ESX 4.1 vs ESXi 4.1 features table

You can find a more detailed description of the new capabilities of the ESXi hypervisor architecture in this KB article. We also have produced a new white paper on Transitioning to ESXi 4.1 .  In upcoming blog posts will provide a more information about each enhancement, so stay tuned.

What are the advantages of the ESXi hypervisor architecture?

ESXi is VMware’s latest generation hypervisor architecture. We designed ESXi to deliver the highest levels of reliability, robustness, performance and security for virtual environments in the industry. The ESXi hypervisor architecture is independent from a general purpose operating system like Windows or Linux, making its code base size less than 5% of that of ESX. Thanks to this unique design the ESXi architecture dramatically improves the security, deployment and configuration, and ongoing administration of the hypervisor while delivering the same level of performance and reliability of ESX.

To learn more about the unique advantages of VMware ESXi take a look at the Why ESXi? section of the VMware ESXi and ESX Info Center

Upgrade to vSphere 4.1 and migrate to ESXi!

As you may have read already read, 4.1 will be the last release of VMware vSphere to offer both the ESX and ESXi architectures. Starting with the next release, it will only be possible to deploy VMware vSphere using the ESXi hypervisor architecture. While VMware will continue to provide technical support for VMware ESX according to the VMware vSphere support policy, existing vSphere customers who run ESX are encouraged to look into migrating to the ESXi architecture when upgrading to vSphere 4.1.

In the Upgrade section of the VMware ESXi and ESX Info Center you can find information about the basic steps for planning your migration. In case you’d like to gain more hands on experience with ESXi you can:

  1. download a vSphere 4.1 evaluation, which lets you use the unrestricted version of ESXi for 60 days for free
  2. Install the free edition of vSphere, the VMware vSphere Hypervisor which is uniquely based on the ESXi architecture.  Note while VMware vSphere Hypervisor doesn’t have any time restriction like vSphere 60-days evaluation, it doesn’t include certain capabilities as outlined in the last section of this paper on transitioning to ESXi (Attend the following hands-on training classes that VMware makes at convenient locations around the world: