VMware ESX vs VMware ESXi Functionalities

September 16, 2020 / Virtual Server

VMware ESX

ESX stands for Elastic Sky X is the server virtualization platform from VMware. VMkernel is the Virtualization kernel which is regulated by a console OS which is also known as the service console.

This console is Linux based and its main function is to deliver to the host a Management interface, on the service console many management agents and various third party software agents convey functionalities like monitoring and hardware management.

VMware ESXi

ESXi stands for Elastic Sky X Integrated is an enterprise server virtualization platform by VMware. Service console is not present in ESXi, the monitoring and management agents which are a part of the agents that are related to the VMware / the third party agents can work directly on the VMkernel.

The architecture of ESXi is ultra-thin that makes it highly reliable and due to its small code base it is highly secure as there are fewer codes to patch.  In place of service control, the ESXi uses DCUI which is direct console user interface to manage the ESXi server. The installation of ESXi is faster than that of ESX.

Difference Between VMware ESX and VMware ESXi by Functionalities

Both VMware ESX and VMware ESXi are bare-metal hypervisors that mount directly on the server hardware. Both provide industry-prominent performance and scalability. The difference exists in the architecture and organizational administration for VMware ESXi.

VMware ESX depends on Linux operating system and known as the service console to complete some management tasks that includes executing scripts and installation of third-party alternatives for hardware monitoring, backup / systems management.

VMware ESXi is devoid of service console this radically decreases its footprint. By the removal of the service console, VMware ESXi finishes an ongoing inclination of transferring management functionality from the local command line interface to the remote management tool. The functionality of the service console is substituted by remote command-line interfaces and execution of system management standards.


Competence VMware ESX VMware ESXi
Service Console Service Console is Present Service Console Removed
Troubleshooting is done using Service Console ESXi Shell
Validation of Active Directory Supported Supported
Secure SYSLOG Disabled Enabled
Management Network Interface – Service Console Interface – VMkernel
Jumbo Frames Enabled Enabled
Hardware Monitoring 3 rd. Party agents – Service console by CIM Providers
Boot from SAN Enabled in ESX Enabled in ESXi
Software patches and updates Necessary and same as Linux O.S Only few patches because it is secured and has a small footprint
vSphere web Access On experimental basis By vSphere web client it has full management capability
Locked Down Mode Not available Available- does not permit the remote users to login to the host
Scripted Installation Enabled Enabled
vMA Support Available Available
Command- major administration command line esxcfg esxcli
Rapid deployment via Auto Deploy No Yes
Custom Image creation Disabled Enabled
Use of VMkernel Network Fault tolerance, vMotion, Storage connectivity. Fault tolerance, Storage connectivity, vMotion, Management Network, ISCSI port binding.

Check here: VMware Installation and Configuration Tutorial

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