vSphere, which many consider to be the flagship product of VMware, is virtualization software with the vCenter management software and its ESXi hypervisor. vSphere is available in three different licenses: vSphere Standard, vSphere Enterprise Plus, and vSphere Platinum. Each comes with a different cost and set of features. The current version for vSphere is 6.7, which includes some of the following components.
Have a spare physical server lying around that can be repurposed? Voila, you now have an ESXi Type 1 Hypervisor. This type of hypervisor runs directly on a physical server and doesn’t need an operating system. This is a perfect use case if you have an older physical server lying around that meets the minimum requirements. The disadvantages to this setup include higher costs, a rack server, higher power consumption, and lack of mobility.
What if you don’t have a physical server at your disposal? Your alternative is an ESXi Type 2 Hypervisor because it doesn’t run on a physical server but requires an operating system. A great example is my test lab, which consists of a laptop with the minimum requirements. The laptop includes Windows 10 Pro as its host operating system, but I have my lab running in a virtual image via VMware Workstation. The advantages to this setup include minimal costs, lower power consumption, and mobility.
To provide some perspective, the laptop specifications are listed below:
- Lenovo ThinkPad with Windows 10 Pro as the host operating system
- Three hard drives: (1) 140GB as the primary partition and (2) 465GB hard drives to act as my datastores (DS1 and DS2 respectively) with 32GB RAM
- One VMware ESXi Host (v6.7, build number 13006603)
- Four virtual machines (thin provisioned)
- Linux Cinnamon 19.1 (10GB hard drive, 2GB RAM, one vCPU)
- Windows 10 Pro 1903 (50GB hard drive, 8GB RAM, two vCPUs)
- Windows Server 2012 R2 (60GB hard drive, 8GB RAM, two vCPUs)
- Pi-Hole (20GB hard drive, 1GB RAM, one vCPU)
With the introduction of vSphere 6.7, significant improvements were created over its predecessor vSphere 6.5. Some of these improvements and innovations include:
- Simple and efficient management at scale
- Two times faster than v6.5
- Three times less memory consumption
- New APIs improve deployment and management of the vCenter Appliance
- Single reboot and vSphere Quick Boot reduce upgrade and patching times
- Comprehensive built-in security for the hypervisor and guest OS also secures data across the hybrid cloud
- Integrates with vSAN, NSX, and vRealize Suite
- Supports mission-critical applications, big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning
- Any workloads can be run, including hybrid, public, and private clouds
- Seamless hybrid cloud experience with a single pane of glass to manage multiple vSphere environments on different versions between an on-premises data center and any vCenter public, like VMware on AWS