When we are about to understand the differences between VMware ESXi Free and VMware vSphere Essentials, it is crucial to note how the different functionality relates to the current server setup.
To clarify this, in this first part of a series of blogs in two parts, I will explain these differences in more detail to give you a better idea of how licensing levels best suit you.
Yes, it is free, and see it for yourself: VMware ESXi free.
As stated in the title of this section, there is no better differentiator than the price itself.
VMware ESXi Free is practically the same as VMware Paid Hypervisor. The main difference is in the license key, which turns the on and off part of the functionality, so it is just a piece of software, and there is no need to download anything extra.
If you want to switch from the free version to the paid version, all you have to do is buy and enter the license key, and you can use all the features.
The free version is usually distributed on a single server. This means that each server is managed independently, and you do not get the benefits of a single glass administration interface panel. If you want to do something on the server, you must log in directly to the server.
And, if you want to transfer a virtual machine from one physical server to another, it's a bit of a hassle! You have to turn it off and copy it over the net, and it takes a long time. But with some features not available unless you pay for them, you may lose.
You can not use any VMware-specific backup solution. The best solution for VMware backup is from Altaro, known as the Altaro VM backup.
With the free version, you get the same availability for virtual machines as the physical server. If the physical server fails and the disk or power supply fails, all virtual machines also fail, and you must repair the physical host and then turn them on again. As you can see, this is a really great start.
For evaluation purposes, you get 60 days from the full hypervisor. Just as you bought the highest edition, Enterprise Plus, you get all the features. And after 60 days, the evaluation is over, and you have the opportunity to buy the product.