Am feeling a touch confused and overwhemled. From what I gather even though ESXi is free I will only be able to manage my VMs (create or power on etc) for 60 days unless I buy a licence for vSphere. This is somewhat frustrating. As I am looking for a home lab to practice for various certs I was hoping to also practice using vmware stuff to do so. Have I got the wrong end of the stick? Is there a free built in web interface like there was with VMServer or is the only option vSphere (which is massively out of my price range)?

Looking forward to your responses and hoping that I have just missed something obvious!



EDIT: I see, I had misconstrued the evaluation warning as being for the vSphere software when it was actually for the ESXi bit. Thank you very much for making me a much happier IT chappie! Thanks again for all the input


You can manage your ESXi VMs and hosts indefinitely with the "free" license of vSphere ESXi using the included vSphere client.

What you're not getting, for free, is the "vCenter Server" product, which allows centralized management of multiple ESX and ESXi instances from a single console.

Insofar as "practicing for certs" (assuming you're looking for a VMware certification), you're going to want to use the trial edition of the full-blown ESX product anyway, because you're going to want to practice using some of the more advanced featuers.

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    +1 Should be fine for your "lab" systems – Dave M May 12 '10 at 19:03
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    +1 The free stuff is also fine for some production deployments, though if you're studying for certs you definitely want the 60-day trial for HA & other stuff. (Play with the free stuff until you're comfortable, then get the 60-day full-monty license & get yourself ready for the test) – voretaq7 May 12 '10 at 19:07
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    ESXi is perfectly fine in production environments, there are only minor differences in functionality for the most part. ESXi can be used in a cluster (with HA\DRS\vMotion\FT etc) but to use those features beyond the 60 eval period you need to pay for both vCenter and the CPU licenses for each managed vSphere Hypervisor host (whether those are running ESXi or ESX). The perpetual license for ESXi as a standalone hypervisor, not managed by vCenter, doesn't cost anything and can still be managed using the vSphere client. – Helvick May 12 '10 at 20:44

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