Free ESXi 5 (vSphere 5 Hypervisor) Now With 32 GB
August 3, 2011 14 Comments
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.
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.