Cougar281
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Enthusiast

ESXi 5.5 Free Hypervisor Web Console

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I just downloaded the free version of ESXi 5.5 to start evaluating it relative to 5.1. From reading, VMware is moving to a web console only, with the native client only for 'emergency access' to the host (Why is everyone going to web consoles? they tend to be more problematic than native consoles...).

With the free version, how are you supposed to get the Web Console? There's a reference under the vSphere client download saying: 'Note: vSphere Web Client can be installed using the vCenter Server installer', but that's not available to download when you register for the free version. So if you have the free version, what's the right way to get the web client and what are you supposed to install it on? If the web console is now going to be required to access newer features of the Hypervisor, maybe VMware should consider providing the vCenter appliance with the free version, with the paid features disabled, of course.

104 Replies
allanregistos
Contributor
Contributor

Hi,

I've installed vSphere Hypervisor 5.5 thinking that I can manage it freely, as VMware advertised the free product in their website:

Built-in Management Tool

Create and provision your virtual machines easily and within minutes.

How could I create if there is no way I can manage this 'FREE' after 60 days? I tried the vSphere  CLI, but I cannot find a way to manage a VM, and theres an ..apps/ directory, but I can't just make it work.
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ancoleman
Contributor
Contributor

You can still use the vSphere 5.5 client (C++) to manage your ESXi 5.5 host. You just will not have the ability to use the newest features added. However, most features that were added arent even available to ESXi free anyway.... So really you not losing out. Now if you want to use the latest virtual hardware (10 i think) you would need the Web Client which is only available via vCenter at the moment.

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allanregistos
Contributor
Contributor

ancoleman wrote:

You can still use the vSphere 5.5 client (C++) to manage your ESXi 5.5 host. You just will not have the ability to use the newest features added. However, most features that were added arent even available to ESXi free anyway.... So really you not losing out. Now if you want to use the latest virtual hardware (10 i think) you would need the Web Client which is only available via vCenter at the moment.

Thank you, ancoleman... You mean, the vSphere 5.5 client at least will work after 60 days...  Two of the reasons why I will be using the free hypervisor is that Vmware first provided us a very friendly conversion tool. I've managed to convert the ancient two Win NT machines and saved them from their aging hardware many years ago.  Second, there is no easy way to convert these machines to become xen guests, I've tried but failed. With vSphere, OVF import works perfect.  Now I am looking at XenServer, since these are production servers.

Thanks again.

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Gabrie1
Commander
Commander

Please rethink your XenServer strategy very thoroughly. Already have two customers asking me to help them migrate away from XenServer to VMware. Yes, there is extra cost compared to running XenServer, but I think it is worth every penny. Have you looked at the small business bundles VMware offers?

If you still want to go with XenServer, do step in a service pack lower then available and do test some upgrades before going live. I have seen admins cry going from XenServer 5.5 to 6.

http://www.GabesVirtualWorld.com
allanregistos
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks there, Gabrie. I cannot still figure this out to use Free vSphere in a production server, since most of you here was using it in labs.  I have vSphere 5.5 running now on IBM System x3100 M4 server (32Gb), this is an entry-level IBM server.  Tried Xenserver but it won't boot after install even using SATA compatibility mode.  So I am left with pure CentOS or (Ubuntu 12.04 server?) then add KVM later. The problem is my ancient two Windows NT machines. These two guests can only be run using a VMware product.  If the alternative provided us with a conversion tool, this should not be a problem, KVM's conversion tool last I tried is a pain, VMware here so far is superior in terms of converting Physical or Virtual machines. Haven't tried Hyper-V's conversion tool.

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Gabrie1
Commander
Commander

To manage the free ESXi just make a connection to the server on https://hostname. You should see a link to download the vSphere client on that page. Once you downloaded the vSphere Client (runs only on Windows) you can install the client and connect to the host using the root account. Be careful not to upgrade your VMs to vSphere 5.5 hardware level !!! Max 5.1 hardware level.

http://www.GabesVirtualWorld.com
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athompson88
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

So is vmware's position that going forward the free hypervisor will only (in any practical sense) support v5.1 hardware and earlier?

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Gabrie1
Commander
Commander

There is no official word from VMware on this. Maybe it is just a bug.

http://www.GabesVirtualWorld.com
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jkopp
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

That's a good question.  One can only speculate.  Currently, in the sense that you can't edit the hardware, your above statement is correct.  It will run v10 hardware, but you can't make changes to it (without editing the VMX directly...or downgrading, changing and then upgrading again).  I would hope VMWare will make this disappear like they recently did with the 32GB limiation in the free version and vRAM licensing for the paying customers.  Until that happens, users of the free edition will need to work around this issue or familiarize themselves with alternative free products.  I like VMWare.  I understand, they need to reinvent revenue streams, but to me it seems they enjoy shooting themselves in the foot.  Once users are comfortable with alternative products, I suspect they'd be more apt to switch.

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Linjo
Leadership
Leadership

@jkopp I work for VMware but have no insight on the future plans here or if its a bug etc.

Could you not simply use the normal vSphere client and not upgrade the hardware version to 10? Then it should be as 5.1...

Best regards, Linjo Please follow me on twitter: @viewgeek If you find this information useful, please award points for "correct" or "helpful".
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Schenkewitz
Contributor
Contributor

The Problem is you can only create new VMs with HW Version 4, 7 or 8 - NOT Version 9. And if you're going to upgrade your HW Version 8 VM it goes straight to HW Version 10. With the free vSphere ESXi 5.5 you cannot create or upgrade VMs to HW Version 9 (ESXi 5.1). You are forced to use HW Version 8 (ESXi 5.0) and can edit your VM settings or HW Version 10 (ESXi 5.5) and can't edit your VM settings.

Only with vCenter Webclient you can upgrade your VMs from HW V8 to HW V9...

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jkopp
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

@Linjo.  From my experience, this is a fully functioal product as long as the users know not to upgrade their hardware to v10.  One does have the ability to use the vSphere thick client to create virtual machines with v8 hardware (I believe compatible with ESXi 5.0).  People's angst happen after they upgrade (or attach) a VM with v10 hardware and then are unalbe to manage/change the hardware settings for those VMs.  I agree with you, that as long as the hardware isn't v10, there should not be a problem.  I have posted, much earlier in this thread, a way to upgrade to v9 or even downgrading from v10 to an earleir verion if one is in a bind (as always use your normal caution when changing the guest hardware).  I personally don't mind this ESXi 5.5 limitation with the free product and appreciate that they've removed the 32GB RAM limitation which existed in the free 5.0 hypervisor.

I've *just* upgraded my vSphere/vCenter to 5.5 and am only now seriously playing with the ESXi 5.5 hypervisors...so my breadth of knowledge on this topic isn't as wide as I'd like it to be.

This is not a bug.  I thought the warning message was fairly straight forward when I tested this out.  Maybe they should have been clearer about needing to purchase vSphere to have access to the web client?

Thanks for your post!

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sergeadam
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

This goes beyond the free version. Even if you purchase a Standard license, in a single host environment you would not need vCenter. You still could not make use of any of the hardware-10 features.

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allanregistos
Contributor
Contributor

Linjo wrote:

@jkopp I work for VMware but have no insight on the future plans here or if its a bug etc.

Could you not simply use the normal vSphere client and not upgrade the hardware version to 10? Then it should be as 5.1...

Just to add my opinion regarding the alternatives of VMware.  First, I am stuck with VMware, not only because VMware only is the most stable, but because of OS backward compatibility, VMware still honors Windows NT and supports most of OSes out there if not all.  Sometimes, we cannot re-create an OS from scratch like in my situation.  I think I can persuade my boss to buy a license later on to manage VMs if I can justify the cost.  If I will be creating VMs from scratch, XenServer is my first choice.

@Gabrie Is the VMware Small business essentials costs $1,500? In our currency that would be Php 66,000.00. We bought an IBM server lastly for Php91,500.00. That's 74% of the cost of our hardware investment.

FOUND IT:

http://store.vmware.com/store/vmware/en_US/pd/ThemeID.2485600/productID.282883900

What happens after 1 year or 3 years, does the vCenter Operations Manager Foundation will stop working when not renewed?

(VMware vSphere Essentials Plus Kit appears to be very expensive).


Thanks..


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allanregistos
Contributor
Contributor

I have made a conclusion that the free vSphere Hypervisor is not for everyone who are interested in Virtualization, even though it is the most user friendly available on the market.  After playing with vSphere Hypervisor for a while now, and searching for alternatives, these are my observations:

1. vSphere Hypervisor is only good for resellers or partners of VMware.

2. vSphere Hypervisor is only for system administrators who wants to get familiar with VMware tools (Lab only)

3. vSphere Hypervisor is for the people who love to evaluate VMware solutions

I think and believe now that the hypervisor should not be advertised as a Free Product. It is as good as a Trial-only product.

The free hypervisor is not even suited for home use, because there is no way you can manage it after the evaluation period of the GUI client.  To be usable, we need to have the Essentials kit(No advance features) for $560 / 1year and $666.66 / 3years . Even more so, it cannot be used in production servers. vSphere Hypervisor was designed to be unusable in these scenarios, unless you need to pay for $5000 and up.

I have decided to use CentOS and ovirt instead, for my hardware is not supported by  XenServer.

Regards...

Allan

Message was edited by: allanregistos (Added CentOS line)

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JarryG
Expert
Expert

Come on man, be fair in your judgement! ESXi-hypervisor still *IS* free product, and you *CAN* manage it with native client. The only big problem is "mousetrap" VMware created: once you upgrade VM-hardware to the version 10, you can no longer edit it with native client.

And there is one more small problem: with ESXi-hypervisor 5.1 you can create (and edit!) VM of the version 09. With 5.5 only up to version 08 (if despite of big warning you upgrade VM to the version 10, it is no more editable with native client). Strange, because in this aspect 5.1->5.5 hypervisor upgrade looks more like "downgrade".

But you can still stay with ESXi 5.1U1 if you like. And it is honest to say 5.5-hypervisor brought also some positive things (i.e. no more 32GB limit).

_____________________________________________ If you found my answer useful please do *not* mark it as "correct" or "helpful". It is hard to pretend being noob with all those points! 😉
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Gabrie1
Commander
Commander

Statement from VMware PR departement:

Yes, this is a known issue.  Unfortunately, it will continue to be an issue until we provide a version of the web client that can be used to manage hosts directly. 

See http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1010675

Here's an excerpt from the KB:

Note: In a vSphere 5.5 environment, you must use the vSphere Web Client to upgrade the virtual hardware to version 10. However, when the virtual machine is using hardware version 10, you cannot edit the settings of the virtual machine if you connect directly to an ESXi host with the vSphere Client. You must use the vSphere Web Client or connect to vCenter Server with the vSphere Client. If you connect directly to an ESXi host using the vSphere Client and attempt to edit virtual machine settings, you see the error:
You cannot use the vSphere client to edit the settings of virtual machines of version 10 or higher. Use the vSphere Web Client to edit the settings of this virtual machine.
http://www.GabesVirtualWorld.com
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athompson88
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Thanks for the info from the PR department. It is good to confirm that it is on the radar, and they are at least moving in the direction of providing a web-client that can manage hosts directly.

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jkopp
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

@allanregistos

I have to assume that your conclusions were drawn from using the product without applying a software license.  VMWare will provide you with a free software license that bascially removes all advanced features.  All that's left is 8-way virtual SMP.  This means after applying my license, I can still create and mange guests with up to 8 logical processors and as much RAM as I'd like to assign (no more 32GB maximum) and can edit the hardware via the GUI client provided I don't upgrade the guest harware to v10.  I'm going to attempt to sway your decisions, but I totally disagree with your conclusion and ask that you give it another look. Smiley Happy

ThomasFranke
Contributor
Contributor

@allanregistos


I totally disagree! I've seen customers of all sizes running production servers on ESXi free where features like vMotion and HA are not needed, e.g. for terminal servers. The removal of the 32GB RAM restriction makes it even more interesting now. The free version also does a great job for small companies that start using virtualization and for test environments (that can be production environments from the hypervisor perspective).


We all are aware now of the HW10 issue so it's something we can manage. And ESXi still is the best hypervisor available.

Read my PowerShell and PowerCLI Blog - Professional automation projects for Windows and VMware: http://www.thomas-franke.net/
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