Home > General > Why VMware Essentials is ‘essential’ for your business

Why VMware Essentials is ‘essential’ for your business

VMware has been one of the most popular virtualized platforms for enterprise but I wanted to show why most small and medium sized businesses should invest in VMware Essentials.

When VMware removed the Memory cap on ESXi 5.5 they were probably gambling on clients choosing a VMware Essentials license because they included the VMware vCenter license. You get a 6 CPU license which can be used on up to three separate hosts but you can also run a vCenter server (something you don’t get with the free version). This administrative component is really much more valuable to any shop with two or more VM hosts than running the free version as a standalone. When you run a separate vCenter windows server you can run some of the additional features that are available to be installed on the windows version of vCenter.


With as little as 8G of RAM (although this is less than half of the recommended level) we were able to run the VCenter server core components along with the VMware Update Manager on our test box (a Dell workstation with mirrored hard drives). We setup this server (running a fully patched version of Windows Server 2008 R2) with the bare minimum to see if we could dedicate a system for the task of running it as a vCenter server. If you are interested in keeping your systems patched (and in todays security focused world with vm break outs like venom you should be) then you know its a chore. Running VMwares’ Update Manager helps manage host patches, vmtools and hardware updates automatically so you don’t have to. You can even use it to upgrade major versions when you have older machines.

(Our test box is used expressly as the management interface using VSphere Client. This is necessary in order to configure the VMWare Update Manager although we could use the Web Client – it does appear to be sluggish with the under utilized deployment).

One caveat that upgrading your vmtools introduces is that you will need to use a vCenter management appliance or windows server in order to make changes to your virtual machines. By upgrading your vms to use VMware tools version 10 or higher you can no longer make changes to your existing vms with the vsphere client. You will however need to connect to the vCenter console using the vsphere client in order to use the Update manager plugin. Changes to existing vms must be performed using the new web client once vms are using the newer vmtools.

With the exception of using a standalone server for your Windows VCenter instance or using some resources on an existing VM host you can easily run VCenter as an Linux appliance if you do not want to configure Windows and use a license. Either way the metrics available coupled with a robust management interface makes VMware a clear winner again.

Categories: General
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