JarryG, wouldn't you say that a 32GB RAM limit is less of an issue than not being able to control the hypervisor at all? After all, you can plan around the former, but the latter makes the product essentially unusable.
If VMware doesn't want people jumping ship to Xen or Hyper-V, then they at least need to provide a functional product. Otherwise, why provide anything at all? Why not just go back to the pre-Hyper-V days, when there was no competition and ESX was a paid-only product?
32GB is not problem for me, but maybe you remember, ESXi 4.1 (free) hypervisor was limited to 8GB physical RAM on server. And *that* was really too little for serious work. Community (using free version) was deeply dissapointed and some really moved to other hypervisor.
Now I do not have problem, because even if I sum vRAM of all my VMs up, it is just 26GB. I could reserve 100% vRAM for all my VMs and there would be still enough for hypervisor. So 32GB is not issue for me, but missing possibility to edit vm-settings in 5.5 native client is.
But anyway I found support for my HW was suddenly dropped in 5.5 (barely 1 year old Intel server-board!!!), so I'm going to stay with 5.1...
Was support dropped in the sense that it now shows up on this list and no longer works in ESXi 5.5, or does your board simply no longer appear on the HCL?
If it's the latter case, my understanding is that everything needs to be recertified for 5.5, and new devices are being added to the HCL on a regular basis. It may simply be a matter of time, especially if your hardware is new enough to still be in production.
My mobo is not on that list, but according to HCL is supported only up to 5.1U1. That's strange. Server-HW should be generally supported at least for 2-3 years after being discontinued...
From an enterprise perspective, it's not all that strange.
From an optimistic point of view, testing takes time and enterprises generally don't demand to upgrade on day 1 anyway, so just because your board isn't on the HCL today doesn't mean that it won't be on the HCL 3 months from now. IBM for instance has slowly but steadily been adding their servers to the ESXi 5.5 HCL over the past month and a half - many systems that were not on the HCL back in September are now officially supported.
On the other hand, it's possible that Intel has simply dropped ESXi support for your board, especially if they don't sell it anymore. It all depends on how the hardware vendor views the platform and how much of an impact they expect the customer backlash will have.
I think it is not that simple. First of all, I'm talking about VMware-support (or more exactly, how is this hardware supported to be used by VMware's product), not Intel-support. ESXi installation image must already have motherboard-drivers (VMware can not rely on users creating customised-image). And when talking about it, this HW was supported right when 5.1 came out. I did not have to wait with 5.0->5.1 migration (but maybe you are right, it still might become supported sometimes in the future).
And one more thing: with all do respect, HCL is NOT very reliable source. My motherboard is on the list (compatible with vSphere up to and including 5.1U1), and yet only one of two on-board NICs is supported (no driver for the other one). And this restriction is not listed in HCL...
What they are trying to say is that VMware releases the code to for example Intel and Intel then has to do the testing and certify the hardware for the HCL. And you're right that sometimes (often) hardware from older version still keeps on running with newer versions but you don't have a guarantee it will work. I have an old EMC CX3 storage to which I have ESXi 5.5 attached. Very very unsupported but running fine. But I know the risks.
I tried the VSAN beta with a mainboard and RAID controller that are not on the HCL. Seemed to work for some time and then suddenly I ran into issues and lost a test VM. Again, I knew the risk of doing this without certified hardware.
Concerning your mainboard, where the nics on the HCL too?
The free hypervisor often is a starting point for virtualization, especially for small and mid-size companies. I've seen many customers who converted discharged server hardware into hypervisors as a first step. Once they've experienced the benetifs of virtualization, many of them upgrade to paid versions.
I've been working with VMware products for many years and vSphere is my favourite enterprise virtualisation platform (even more since I evaluated Hyper-V 2012 R2. It's free, but it really... err.. I didn't like it!).
I my opinion, the main disadvantage of ESXi free Edition is that PowerCLI is read-only. I know several customers who chose Hyper-V only because of the missing scripting abilities of ESXi. These customers are gone and will not come back. This restriction is a bad idea, and it will not help VMware to make more money! And if I could script ESXi free, I even could close the gap and write a client to manage hardware version 10...
I felt it was important to reply just to add that I was one that switched from vsphere because PowerCli limitations. The 32gb RAM limit in 5.1 and now the client issues in 5.5 doesn't help. When designing a lab to test private cloud for automated VM demand and other resource management tasks. It isn't worth the time for evals to rebuild it or the money to pay for licenses in lab and staging. I will say its a great product for free and very stable.
If VMWare truly wants to end the thick client, they'll have to provide a free way to administer the VM Host via the web.
I have to use the thick client to migrate my virtualized vSphere servers between dissimilar hardware (power down vSphere, remove from inventory on one host and add to inventory on the other, power back up)...because I can't v-Motion between dissimilar CPUs.
I'm fine if they want to get rid of the thick client (I don't like the idea because I'm not comfortable with the web client yet...), but they've got to have a way to manage VMs directly on the hosts because of the above issue. Right?! I'm not worried and see this as a temporary bump in the road.
This is, in a word, horrible.
VMware - I wish someone from the company would address this. It would be nice to even have acknowledgement of the issue; surely they are aware of it.
I had to Google my problems in order to find this forum.
We have a few hosts on 5.0. Everything runs great.
I had been using Veeam 6.5 to Live Migrate VM's back and forth between hosts, as well as offsite full snapshots.
This was all free product.
One of my vendors requires VMware 5.1 for one of their Virtual Appliances. Ok. So I Veeam across all my workloads and have one box empty of VMs. We run the 5.5 ISO installer (There seems to not be any type of vSphere Client option for Host upgrades. Citrix has this with their free product. Why is this missing?) After the install, runs, magically I don't have a network card. That NIC worked in 4.x and 5.0. Now? Who knows. So I order an Intel card for $30. It comes in the mail, I install, and run the installer again.
Good news - if can Upgrade my install. Hooray! So I let that run, and reboot, and it comes up.
I am looking forward to this new Web Client I'm hearing so much about. So I punch the IP into Chrome. Hmm. Standard splash page. I read through it all the links. Looks just like normal 4.x verbiage. I see the link to the 5.5 vSphere Client, so I download and install.
Punch in the IP and log into my 5.5. I hit the Datastores and poke around for a minute. All looks OK.
I log into my Veeam machine, since upgraded to Veeam 7.0, and refresh inventory. Servers all show OK. New 5.5 box shows empty. Great! Let's start migrating workloads back in.
ERROR - License not supported!
Well that's strange. I don't remember seeing any type of yearly key like I did with 4.x. I log into my VMware account and start poking around. I see my key. I hit the Resources tab on the Client for the Host. Keys match. I see I have 50 days left on my trial. Which is weird because the free product is a yearly refresh cycle.
So.. I start Googling, and now I'm here.
I'm taking full snapshots to disk of my VM's via Veeam. I will try to upload them to the new 5.5 box. If that doesn't work, then I'm wiping the box and going Hyper-V.
We really don't enjoy these kid's games. I would think about the Essentials License a little more positively if I didn't think VMware would pull the rug out from under me again in a year.
Thank god I Live Migrated my VMs to a 5.0 box that's working perfectly.
I would have been better off spending the $600 on a new kit that I could load Hyper-V on, then use Veeam to Live Migrate and test.
I'll review the Essentials Kit benefits. I could probably make use of 6 CPU slots. But it says 3 servers. What happens if I want six single CPU machines? I already have three machines for free that I can Live Migrate all day long with Veeam 6.5 and 7. What's my benefit?
I see that it's a yearly $560. With Microsoft giving away Hyper V 2012.. VMware may have just giving me a nice new empty box to trial Hyper-V on. Either that or dig up my Vmware 5.0 installer and drop the box back down. If I can't move my VMs from 5.0.0 469512 to 5.5.0 1331820 then this is worth less than free, because now it's a liability.
I moved my last client across to ESXi last week from virtualbox, then we converted them to a version 10 machine and could not manage it.
So we just reconverted to an older format.
Thing is this signals two things web only and pay only.
I am now migrating my stuff to an obvious open source solution, clients to follow.
Vmware is excellent, but not all my customer can afford it.
I also don't want to do their silly exams.
"...I am now migrating my stuff to an obvious open source solution..."
I'm not migrating yet, but I have just built one whitebox for known open-source hypervisor, and I'm getting familiar with it. I want to be prepared for the worst case, if VMware shuts down vSphere native client completely in some later version, without any substitution (and thus effectively abandons free ESXi hypervisor). Better be ready, than sorry...