Free ESXi 5 (vSphere 5 Hypervisor) Now With 32 GB

Update: Check out my buyers/builder’s guide for an inexpensive ESXi host.

Yeah, we all know about the licensing debacle with VMware, and how it dominated the conversation of the vSphere 5 release. A side issue got a bit less attention, however. I’d written previously about the new licensing model screwing home/lab users of the free ESXi hypervisor with the new licensing model by allocating a paltry 8 GB of vRAM. The free version is limited in functionality (which I’m fine with), but the RAM limit used to be 256 GB. When they announced vSphere 5, the free version was then restricted to only 8 GB of vRAM. Dick move.

However, it seems the huge backlash has changed their minds, and they’ve increased the vRAM allocation for the free version of ESXi 5.0 to 32 GB of RAM.

RAM everything around me (get the DIMMs, y’all)

The FAQ still shows the free version with only 8 GB of vRAM, but the updated pricing PDF confirms that it’s actually 32 GB of vRAM allocation, as well as the announcement on VMware’s blog. From the pricing PDF:

Users can remotely manage individual vSphere Hypervisor hosts using the vSphere Client. vSphere Hypervisor is entitled to 32GB of vRAM per server (regardless of the number of processors) and can be utilized on servers with up to 32GB of physical RAM.

I think right now 32 GB for the free version is reasonable, although I think it’s only going to be reasonable for the next 18-24 months.  After that, they’ll need to increase it, and increase it on a regular basis if they continue with vRAM licensing. RAM is a depreciating asset, after all.

This should go a ways to repair a fairly damaged relationship with the VMware advocates such as myself and the VMware user community in general who relied on the free version of ESXi for our home and lab setups. The relationship isn’t quite where it was, to be sure, but it’s improving.

Also, yes that’s me in the picture. That I just took. For this entry. Because that’s how I roll.

14 Responses to Free ESXi 5 (vSphere 5 Hypervisor) Now With 32 GB

  1. Pingback: Free ESXi! Now With 8 GB Limit! | The Data Center Overlords

  2. Daniel Lohin says:

    Do you know if the free version is limited by the number of CPUs? I can’t see anything that says this, but when it is licensed, it says that it is licensed for one CPU. On the other hand, I have installed the free esxi 4.1 and it says licensed for 2 CPUs. Any ideas?

  3. martymankins says:

    As you mentioned, I’m curious as to why in ESXi 4.1 the limit was 256gb and now it’s 32gb (8gb before people complained). Guess to encourage people to buy the essentials upgrade.

  4. mike says:

    I am looking for a free way to run ESXi 5 on 4 processors for free can I do this?

  5. wflt says:

    Is the amount of RAM that the hypervisor uses configurable? eg. can I install the free license on a server with 48GB RAM?

    • tonybourke says:

      Good question, I’m not sure. My assumption is that it won’t operate, but I’ve not tried it.

  6. I’ve tried, but got the following error: The system Memory is not satisfied with the 32 GB of Maximum Memory limit. Current with 48.00 GB of Memory.

    • Dennis says:

      I get the same message here when attempting to install the license with 64GB. The system Memory is not satisfied with the 32 GB of Maximum Memory limit. Current with 64.00 GB of Memory.

  7. I think I may have found a work around… by accident!.. I have a system running 96Gb of ram with the free ESXi 5.0 the build number is 469512. I upgraded the ram after I had licensed the server. it works fine and it hasn’t given me any issues.

  8. Oktar says:

    I’ve installed build number 469512 on a 160 GB server and the it’s working. I have few VMs utilizing almost 60 GB of RAM and have no problems. The biggest VMs has 32GB of RAM and I think that this is the limit.

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