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The VMware Go online and freebie virtual machine builder that VMware created to spur adoption of its ESXi embedded and free server hypervisor is getting some tweaks that will make it more appealing to small and medium businesses that might otherwise go with Microsoft's freebie Hyper-V. VMware Go was announced last August at the …

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WTF?

I've looked a little bit to the Go website

and I'm a quite puzzled. If I unpack a brand new server and put the hard disks inside with no OS, how can their web service connect to it ? Do they mean I will have to install Windows first so I can install ESXi ?

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Unhappy

Come on, VMware !

Bah, .Net Framework stuff!

The heck, VMware, how about a VMware vSphere Client and Host Update Utility that can be installed on any non-Microsoft OS ? Come on, give it a try ! I'd be happy even with a CLI one. In case your developers are not that bright, you can give it to a bunch of garage FOSS developers and they'll surely be more than happy do it for you for free.

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Bronze badge

ESXi doesn't recognise USB devices

I understand it has a USB internal support so it can do usb over tcp (something I'd never heard of) but directly connected usb devices per se are out. And I need that, no arguments, which is why I went for vmware server 2.0.2 (which I like very much, crappy webulous interface aside) [*]

@AC 08:49 - had a gander at the site to try to find out, it's a good question. Couldn't find anything. I guess it scrapes your real machine into a VM image then installs ESX then packs the image into ESX but seeing as VMware doesn't know what a website is for, I can't be sure.

Seriously, their web site is easily the worst thing about it. Trying to infer useful info from between piles of management bull is a mass slog. I spent days on it. You can find normal humans in the forums though.

[*] important note if you run server 2.0.2, sometimes a host service dies and the interface gives no useful info. You need to start it manually, and I suggest setting it to restart automatically on failure, something they stupidly didn't do.

Other note: running a DB inside server gives normal performance reading but about 1/3rd performance writing. Presumably on a bare-metal hv it would be much better.

Also I understand ESXi doesn't support much by way of graphics hardware. It really is boring reliable headless server stuff, not for home use, whereas server 2.0.2 arguably is (and I totally recommend over virtualbox for anything nontrivial; Vbox has given me too many headaches & got dumped).

Also upgrading a VM from vmware server 1.0.2 (IIRC) to 2.0.2 didn't always work reliably, trashed an image. Be warned.

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Headless

"It really is boring reliable headless server stuff, not for home use"

Yes and no. You certainly can't run things that rely on specific hardware (e.g. hardware accelerated graphics applications such as 3D games) but you can happily run a plethora of desktop and server OSes (console and GUI based), plus their 'standard' graphical applications.

e.g. For home use I recycled an old PC - most of the onboard hardware was supported in ESXi 4, but had to shell out 18 quid for a second (supported) intel NIC so I could use the thing as a firewall. A quick turn round the Vmware forums will find you the 'white box HCL', i.e. chipsets and hardware that work with ESXi 4 but may not be in the official HCL.

Now runs:

a) VM with custom ubuntu mailserver.

b) VM smoothwall firewall.

c) Two Windows XP laptop VMS that were at the end of their useful life. Satisfactory for going back to the odd file or email from years ago than cluttering up a new machine with years of dross. (converted them using the free Vmware converter tool).

All managed using the free VSphere client which sits on a desktop PC. Sure there are any number of other routes you could go, but ESXi 4 is an industrial strength platform for free and well worth a spin if you're shopping around hypervisors for home use.

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apples and oranges

Not a fair comparison but openvz gives roughly a 15% loss overall loss. I use it at home to configure test servers and set up "Play" web sites for friends and family. OK its linux only but that suits me AOK. Its very flexible and suits my needs quite well.

Having spoken to a number of people responsible for large scale roll outs I have to say I am not impressed with support - the level of support was so woefull that customers end up finding thier own unofficial workarounds.

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Boffin

Virtual Box

Why would one not just use Virtual Box? It's free too.

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Bronze badge

if it works for you, use it

but I found it unreliable when pushed.

@Amonynous: good point.

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