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VMware ESXi 5.5 Managment Questions

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Posted

Back story:

 

Earlier this year i built a small home server to run VMware ESXI on, the plan was to use this to run a virtual network on so i can learn more about Windows Server, and easily tinker about with stuff. All has been fine with this and ive been really happy with the free VMware ESXi. With that in mind I recently decided to combine my HP Pro Micro Server and VMware ESXI server in to one box, basically purchasing a case with 8x drive bays and adding a raid controller to my ESXi box.

 

Where i am now is i have a Windows Server 2012 R2 VM, which has the raid controller passed though to it and working perfectly, ready to accept the 5x drives from my HP Pro Micro Server. This VM is essentially going to be my nas, media server and will also backup the other PC's on the network, essentially replacing Windows Home Server 2011 that is currently running on my HP Server.

 

The problem:

 

All is great, so i thought i might as well upgrade to from ESXi 5.1 to 5.5. Upon upgrading i find that to access any new features i now need the vSphere Web Client. However to use the web client you apparently need a vCenter Server which:

 

A) Costs

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Posted

Nope, you hit the nail on the head. ESXi web client needs a dedicated Server 2012 R2 (or greater) or their VM of CentOS with it installed, and a very pricey license to use.

This is pretty god awful news, I didn't even know 5.5 was released, doesn't seem worth upgrading.

 

EDIT: Actually if you read http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vsphere/VMware-vSphere-Platform-Whats-New.pdf you'll notice you don't really lose/gain anything anyway, it's unlikely you'll be using vGPUs nor 64TB of RAM :p

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Posted

Yeah I upgraded to 5.5 -- and they are getting a big stink from the home users that likes to tinker, or the hobbyist, etc.

 

But unless you upgrade your vm's to 10 of the hardware version you can still edit them in the client.  Just can not get to some of the new stuff.  BTW the vCSA runs older version of suse, not centos

 

post-14624-0-20300200-1382191553.png

 

You can run a TRIAL!!  So that can cover you for a while - and you can always just get another trial ;)  Until such time that this gets addressed..  What is the point of releasing a FREE software if you need paid software to admin it, etc.

 

And yes defaults to want to assign 8GB of ram to the vcenter - but you can trim it down a lot, google for how to slim down vcenter memory there are some tweaks in its configs to let it run better with less ram. I have mine running with 3GB - keep in mind you can oversubscribe your Ram as well just because you assign ram to a vm does not mean it locks up that on the host.. So even if you only have say 8, you could have vms running that are assigned 12..  But if they all get real busy and working you could have some issues in performance ;)  I am toying with update to 16GB on my host -- just waiting a bit so wife doesn't bitch too much, just got a 3TB disk a while back that asked about on the amazon bill ;)  So wait a month or so before get the ram ;)

 

post-14624-0-85273500-1382191733.png

 

It by no means flys or screams in its responsiveness.. But it does work.. I personally like the client better, faster, easier to work with, etc..  But I upgraded some of my vms to 10, and needed it to make an edit.. I was having some issue with 3TB RDM disks with 4k sectors and was wanting to test if their changes made any difference.. Didn't ;)

 

And once you update them to 10 you get locked out using the client

post-14624-0-46747800-1382191980.png

 

I saw there was a way to knock them back down to 9 -- but have not gotten around to it yet.. If I get fed up using the vcenter web client, etc.  Or dealing with trial versions and they don't fix it prob have to set me vms back to 9 so can continue to use the client.

 

So yeah until such time as they allow a easy free way to edit your vms -- not really many reasons I can see to update to 5.5 for the home user..  Unless you need usb 3 passthru?  You can also edit your esxi hosts that are on hardware 10 with workstation 10, not free but it is an option other than using vcenter for 60 days and then get another trail going, etc.

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Posted

So yeah until such time as they allow a easy free way to edit your vms -- not really many reasons I can see to update to 5.5 for the home user..  Unless you need usb 3 passthru?  You can also edit your esxi hosts that are on hardware 10 with workstation 10, not free but it is an option other than using vcenter for 60 days and then get another trail going, etc.

Some sound advice in your post (as always), thanks very much!

I decided to just stay with ESXi 5.5 as I can do everything I wanted to without the vSphere web client, I did however download a trial of Workstation 10 and convert all my VM's from hardware level 8 to 9. The current vSphere client appears to let you edit hardware level 9 VM's, despite not been able to create them. Apparently hardware level 9 has some virtualization performance improvements, however i've not noticed anything.

I don't need to pass any USB 3 devices though so i guess i'm not really missing anything of importance, i just didn't want to have my network running totally off an ESXi box, to later find-out I couldn't upgrade in the future... but hey even if that happens it not like my current setup will suddenly stop working, I guess worst case scenario is I couldn't use a future version of Windows that doesn't even exist yet (thinking long term).

All is good anyway, I have my Server 2012 R2 essentials VM with a RocketRAID 2720SGL passed though, that's essentially been used as a NAS / Media Server / Backup Server to take regular backups of all the Windows PC's on the network, along with running a couple of other applications.

 

hb0j.png

My old Unreal Tournament 2004 server running in another VM, then finally i have a VM running OpenVPN Access Server.

 

Future plans include setting up pfSense in a VM, my server has two onboard nics so all been well I should be able to get that up and running at a later date.

 

Of course I still have plenty of resources to run other VM's to mess about / learn with, which was the whole idea in the first place!

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Posted

Time to start looking seriously at XenServer!

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Posted

There are plenty of free and open source hypervisors

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Posted

Time to start looking seriously at XenServer!

 

This is maybe true ;)  Plenty of fish in the sea to pick from - but I do like my esxi, but as winter is coming and should have more computer play time might worth giving it a look see or some of the others out there.  I don't really have a lot of requirements, I want the ability of vswitches to make it easy to have different network segments and vlan support.  But when it comes to usb 3, etc..  don't really require that either.

 

I am going to give KVM a try before Xen - it supports way more OSes..

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Posted

Nope, you hit the nail on the head. ESXi web client needs a dedicated Server 2012 R2 (or greater) or their VM of CentOS with it installed, and a very pricey license to use.

idk if this was a typo or not, but you dont need 2012 R2. we run the web client and vcenter server on 2008 R2.

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Posted

vCenter 5.5 isn't supported on 2012 R2.

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Posted

There is also just a VM you can download for vcenter that runs on suse linux.. Its from vmware no need to eat up a license of windows for your vserver.

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Posted

Hello,

Im heading down the same road you are InsaneNutter. I think (I think it was BudMan that said it) you can still edit the VMs with Workstation by connecting to the server thru Workstation. Don't quote me (or him) on that though. I think that is one of the major few limitations right (besides being a memory hog)

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Posted

There is also just a VM you can download for vcenter that runs on suse linux.. Its from vmware no need to eat up a license of windows for your vserver.

There are limitations to the virtual appliance (no Update Manager), but it is a good option for smaller environments. Really, to get the true functionality out of VMware you need to have a paid vCenter server license though.

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Posted

"to get the true functionality out of VMware you need to have a paid vCenter server license though."

I would not agree, without the vcenter I have been using esxi for many years with GREAT functionality that did everything and anything I wanted it to do.. Using the vcenter appliance trial to be honest has been of no use to me other than sucking up resources of my host. When trial expires I will most likely either downgrade my vms I had upgraded to version 10, or redo them.

The 5.5 features that require vcenter is not good news for the small business/home user - but blanket statement that you need vcenter to get functionality out of vmware is just not true in any sense of the word.

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