Today I upgraded another customer from ESX 4.0 to ESXi 4.1. He attended an Install, Configure Manage course that had me as an instructor just one month ago. I told the class that ESX was being phased out from the next major release. He took notice of that and when planning his upgrade he wanted to change from ESX to ESXi. I have always been very Pro-ESX. But from ESXi 4.1 I would never pick it unless I had some kind of third party application that relied on the service console.
When changing to ESXi here are some common questions I get:
Q: I can’t live without the Service Console. What do I do?
A: Well for most you are probably better off without it. ESXi requires a lot less patches and is more secury. No service console running using memory and cpu resources on your ESXi host.
Q: What about scripting and command line interface?
A: Yes! You have two options here. Use the “vSphere Command Line Interface” or “vSphere PowerCLI”. You can do a lot of scripting. I would recommend everyone to import the “vSphere Management Assistant” virtual machine. It comes bundled with the “vSphere Command Line Interface”
Q: I thought ESXi was free. I want the full VMware experience?
A: ESXi is free if you want to use it as a stand alone host without vCenter. But if you want to use it with all the cool features like vMotion, HA, vCenter, FT, DRS etc. you need to license it. ESXi is using the same licenses as ESX. So if you are running ESX today you already have the licenses for ESXi.