Table of Contents

Reading Time: 4 minutes

How to Install ESXi?

Before we plan to install ESXi, we have to know what VMware ESXi is. VMware ESXi is a next-generation hypervisor, providing a new basis for virtual infrastructure. This innovative architecture works independently of any general-purpose operating system, offering improved security, increased security, and simplified management.

Compact architecture is developed to integrate directly into optimized virtualization server hardware, enabling fast installation, configuration, and deployment.

Functionally, the ESXi is equivalent to the ESX 3, offering the same levels of performance and scalability. However, based on Linux, the service console is removed, reducing the footprint of less than 32 MB of memory.

Functional on the service, the console is being replaced with new remote command-line interfaces regarding system management standards.

ESXi Free

Regarding VMware vSphere as a whole, VMware ESXi or VMware vSphere Hypervisor is critical. People often ask me, "Is ESXi free?" The correct answer is "Yes!" Let's take a look at the free version of ESXi's requirements and features and some use cases.

VMware vSphere Hypervisor gives you a simple and easy way to get started with virtualization at no cost. vSphere Hypervisor provides only the necessary virtualization capabilities, allowing clients to virtualize servers and run applications on virtual machines within minutes.

vSphere Hypervisor is not able to connect to the vCenter server and therefore cannot be managed centrally.

After installing the VMware vSphere client on the control station, you can access the hypervisor via the vSphere client, start creating VMs from scratch or perform P2V conversion using the standalone VMware Converter tool.

VMware ESXi Free Requirements

If you install the free version of VMware ESXi, you will need a server that meets the exact requirements of any paid version of ESXi.

From ESXi 6.7, your physical server will need at least one processor with a minimum of two cores, at least 4 GB of RAM, memory, and network connectivity. It will be a pretty installation, but it will activate ESXi, and it works for you.

The fact is that ESXi is free, but you still need a license!

Once you install ESXi, you will still need a license, even though it is free!

Installing ESXi

VMware ESXi is based on a hypervisor architecture that runs directly on the hardware.


Download the ESXi server

Get the software from the ESXi download page:

Here are the various download options available. Select "ESXi 4.0 Update 1 Installable (CD ISO) Binary (.iso)" and burn a CD.


VMware VMvisor boot menu

After inserting the ESXi CD and restarting the server, it will display a boot menu with an option to start the "ESXi Installer".


Loading VMware ESXi Installer

While the installer loads all the required modules, it will display the server configuration information at the top.


New ESXi installation

Since this is a new ESXi installation, select "Install" when the next screen appears.


Accept VMware EULA

Read and accept EULA by pressing F11.


Select a drive to install VMware ESXi

VMware ESXi 4.0.0 Installer will display all available disk groups. Select the disk where you want/need to install ESXi. It is recommended to select Disk0.


Confirm ESXi installation

Confirm that you are set to launch the installation process.


Ongoing installation

The installation process takes a few minutes. While ESXi is being installed, it will display a progress bar.


The ESXi installation is complete

You will receive the following message about the completed installation prompting you to restart the server.


ESXi Home screen

Once ESXi is installed, you will get a screen to configure the system by pressing F2.


And we are done. VMware ESXi is being installed!

Management Model for ESXi

The ESXi architecture brings with it a new management model. This model's basic principles are: calculating infrastructure based on stateless, interchangeable devices; centralized management, including administration and policy; communicating with the system using well-defined and standardized APIs instead of unstructured interactive sessions that are difficult to lock and review.


State Information

Several configuration files fully describe the condition of the ESXi system. These files control such functions as virtual networking and storage configuration, SSL keys, server network settings, and inform local users' information; these configuration files are located in the file system in memory. They are also periodically copied to permanent storage.


Common Information Model

The Common Information Model (CIM) is an open standard that defines how computer resources can be represented and driven. CIM provides a framework for agents based on standards monitoring hardware resources for ESXi. This framework consists of a CIM case manager, often called a CIM broker and a set of CIM providers.



VMware Virtual Infrastructure API provides a powerful application development interface for integration with VMware infrastructure. VI API enables your program or framework for invoking the VirtualCenter web service interface functions of the VirtualCenter ESX / ESXi management and control.

Free ESXi Restrictions

While there is no limit to the infrastructure that licenses ESXi for free (your host may have as many processors and cores as you can find), there are some limitations without ESXi that you should be aware of.

ESXi free is limited to the logical number of processors on your ESXi host, which is 480. Also, you are limited to 8 vCPUs for a single virtual machine.

It is not such a big deal and will suit many goals. However, there are some other significant limitations when it comes to ESXi for free.

First, there is no support. If you want to run ESXi for free in production and have a problem, you must purchase incident support from VMware, which can be more expensive.

Second, you can not manage ESXi Free Host with VMware vCenter Server. In addition to VMware vSphere Hypervisor, VMware vCenter Server is a key management component of VMware vSphere. Also, it adds many features such as clustering (both HA and DRS) vMotion.

This can be a show stopper for many, which means you will need to use VMware vSphere. VMware vSphere Essentials is an entry-level VMware vSphere and an excellent choice for many organizations. It comes with a vCenter server license and six vSphere ESXi processor licenses for up to 3 ESXi hosts.


The most significant limitations of the free ESXi are the lack of vCenter management and the lack of support. While this may not work in many manufacturing environments, the VMware ESXi free is an excellent product if you start with VMware at work or home.