One of my friend asked me to post something about VMware ESX Server. Thanks Bhanu, because of you everyone who doesn’t know about ESX, will now gain some knowledge.
ESX Server is a Hypervisor developed by VMware. It has its own kernel. It’s operating system is called service console, which is redhat linux based. Service console is used to manage the ESX server. ESX server enables us to manage the underlying hardware in better way. It will be installed directly on the bare metal. At this stage it acts as Virtualization layer. As you read in the Virtualization Basics post it allows to divide the entire hardware into respective set of pieces and these pieces are allocated to virtual machines. So it allows very flexible management of hardware to utilize it up to the fullest. ESX server operating system has its own set of commands which differs from UNIX. Remember only the service console was implemented based on Redhat not the kernel or anything. Service console useful to boot the Kernel.
Using ESX server we can virtualize everything and present them to the virtual machines. When we perform an action in the virtual machine which is running with Windows/Linux/Solaris, that action will not be sent directly to the hardware. It goes through virtualization layer, i.e VMware Kernel. VMware Kernel handles all the requests from all the virtual machines which are running on it and pass them to hardware. So the entire hardware on a physical server will be used at any given point of time. Benefit to our money. In this way we can manage the entire hardware in a very efficient way.
ESX server comes in two versions (not editions)…
1. ESX Server – Contains Service Console OS, comes all the enterprise level futures like HA,VMotion,DRS which gives highest support for the Virtualization. Now the current version of ESX server is 4.0
2. ESXi Server – Doesn’t contain service console OS, comes in a 32MB foot print. Now a days the same will be coming shipped with Servers. You can store it on a microchip or a usb drive and you can install it easily. It doesn’t support any enterprise futures like VMotion, HA, DRS etc.
ESX servers entirely differs from VMware Workstation, VMware Server, Microsoft Virtual PC, Microsoft & Virtual Server Software’s. All these are applications, which needs an underlying operating system running. But ESX server doesn’t need any OS, it can be directly installed on bare metal.
VMware products comes in a suite of Applications called VMware Infrastructure 3, now it is vSphere 4. This suite includes Virtual Center, Virtual Infrastructure Client, VMware Update Manager, VMware Converter, VMware Consolidated Backup & SQL Express Edition to support Virtual Center.
Virtual Center Used to Manage ESX servers in a clustered environment, Centralized Administration of multiple ESX server clusters.
VI Client used to connect to a Single ESX server or to a Virtual Center. It is a GUI mode of Service Console you can say.
VMware Update Manager used to update the ESX servers and Virtual machines running on them
VMware Converter used to convert the Physical machines to Virtual Machines, Virtual Machines which are configured in other virtual environments (Microsoft Hyper-V or Citrix Xenserver) to ESX virtual machines.
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