ESXi -- still the best combination of value and compatibility in hypervisors
September 27, 2019

ESXi -- still the best combination of value and compatibility in hypervisors

Patrick Plaisance | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with VMware ESXi

We use VMware ESXi at small client sites that have a surplus of legacy hardware and don't have the budget for cloud-based virtual machines, or fully licensed VMware products (vSphere). We generally make use of it to run multiple light-duty VMs on older server hardware to maximize its usefulness before EOL.
  • It's free!
  • Hardware compatibility is very good. If the version direct from VMware has issues with your server-class hardware, most likely the OEM has a version of ESXi with their drivers.
  • Web management client in newer versions is excellent.
  • Relatively easy setup.
  • While ESXi is "free," if you are running Windows Servers as VMs, there's very little reason to use ESXi instead of using the Hyper-V license that comes with your Windows Server license and has less limitations.
  • Arbitrary vCPU, etc limitations.
  • While setup is relatively easy, if you run into an issue, the documentation is pretty bad and usually solutions can be found on random blogs.
  • CLI isn't well documented.
  • Extended life of legacy server hardware by repurposing former physical servers to host multiple guest OSes with ESXi.
While all of the above hypervisors have their pros and cons, ESXi has the advantages of being free, well supported by the community, easy to setup, easy to use, and good hardware support.
While it's hard to fault a company for not providing support to a free product, documentation for ESXi is very poor. Typically issues are resolved by finding a random blog post by someone with the same issue you've encountered (often with dozens of comments by others with the same issue thanking the author for sharing the resolution and wondering why VMware doesn't have any info on the issue).

Do you think VMware ESXi delivers good value for the price?


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Did VMware ESXi live up to sales and marketing promises?


Did implementation of VMware ESXi go as expected?


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If you have some legacy server hardware and a tight budget, and want to run non-Windows server OS's, or workstation OS's, ESXi is a snap to set up. Great as a host for Ubuntu VMs for Unifi controllers, NVRs, etc. If hosting Windows server guests, you're better off using Hyper-V that's included with your Windows Server licenses.

VMware ESXi Feature Ratings

Virtual machine automated provisioning
Management console
Live virtual machine backup
Live virtual machine migration
Hypervisor-level security