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So we're running VMWare Server running on Windows Server 2008 which we administer via the web interface. However it turns out the machine we're running it on has serious hardware limitations, most importantly it's restricted to 4gb of ram.

We've since inherited a much more powerful server. The problem being the new server is an Apple (intel based) server running, I believe, Snow Leopard Server.

My question is, can I run VMWare ESXi on Xserve, or an equivalent?

I'm done some hardcore Googling and the best that I can find is that it's not supported, but it might work, but there are no guarantees (this has been stated many times on the VMWare forums by the VMWare support staff). But all these search results are years old, so I can't find any recent answers regarding this.

I'm aware I can run each VM in an instance of Fusion, but this is undesirable and there is now remote web based administration interface as far as I know.

Has anyone accomplished this?

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Is it a G5 or Intel xServe? –  SpacemanSpiff Jan 30 '11 at 0:32
    
Intel xServer I believe –  xzyfer Jan 30 '11 at 0:36
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That makes no sense, you're not running ESX or ESX on top of Windows, that's not how it works - can you 100% confirm what version of OSX are you running, that'll tell us what xserve you have - it just won't run at all on a PowerPC version whereas it'll be massively unsupported/unstable on an intel version - either way it's a bad idea. –  Chopper3 Jan 30 '11 at 1:06
    
Ok, I've just confirmed what I can. Firstly the Apple server is definitely Intel based, that's as far as I can confirm for the moment. On the Windows server we are running VMWare Server. –  xzyfer Jan 30 '11 at 1:12
    
I have updated the question as so. My apologies. –  xzyfer Jan 30 '11 at 1:16
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4 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The VMWare you have running on Windows 2008 is probably the VMWare Server 1.0 or 2.0 host-based product. ESXi runs directly on the server hardware without a host operating system.

As for the Apple Xserve, attempting to run ESXi may not be worth it. A quick check on Google seems to indicate that it is not possible.

However, Parallels has a bare-metal hypervisor that runs on the Xserve hardware.
http://www.parallels.com/products/server/mac/audience/it-xserves-linux/

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I don't own a Xserve so my answer is not definitive but if you do get it to run ESXi are you sure that you want to run an unsupported/possibly not complete support. Is worth saving that money now only to have to spend it later if something breaks? If it is than I would try but you really have to look at cost savings now vs the risk you run into an issue later.

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if you were to have an intel based xserve and run a clean install of windows server 2008 on it than you would be able to run ESXi natively where as if you were to use VMware Fusion you would be running a virtual machine and losing almost any power advantage of the new server.

I just finished building an Xsan for our Promotions department that integrates into 2 Isilon's via a StorNext Server for News and a VMFS server for Production.

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There seems to be some support for running VMware Fusion on OS X Server.

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I'm aware I can run fusion, but I would then have to run each vm in an instance on fusion as afik there's no remote web management interface for it. –  xzyfer Jan 30 '11 at 1:08
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How about running VNC (Apple Remote Dekstop?) on OS X Server for remote management? –  Keith Stokes Jan 30 '11 at 1:20
    
It just seems a little impractical, and the staff who are incharge of VM management are Windows users who would freak out if they were faced with an Apple OS. –  xzyfer Jan 30 '11 at 6:16
    
Get better staff or at least train the one you have. If you move to ESXi they will have to learn a new interface anyway. –  Keith Stokes Jan 30 '11 at 7:43
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