Goodbye ESX

Posted by Claudio Criscione   |   Tuesday, May 10th, 2011   |  

We got notice that the direct ESX download links were removed from the download page of vSphere: a strong signal from VMware for all those organizations still using the once-flagship hypervisor.
VMware stated multiple times that the future lies in ESXi (or Hypervisor, as it is now named) and tiny hypervisors with very small footprint: ESX will be shifted for ESXi-Hypervisor from the next version of vSphere.

The ESX download page is still reachable from an indirect link in the page, but this is indeed a very strong signal that everyone should start planning for its demise.

VMware is focusing more and more on the high-level centralized management offered by vCenter and the ecosystem, up to vCloud Director: the old-style ESX with its command line switches and fine grained host configuration simply doesn’t fit the new strategy.

VMware already announced shift-out plans, and the removal is a very clear statement in that direction. Quoting VMware:

VMware vSphere 4.1 is the last release to support both the ESX and ESXi hypervisor architectures.
Future vSphere releases will only support the ESXi architecture. VMware recommends:

  • New deployments of vSphere 4.x are done on ESXi
  • Existing ESX deployments of vSphere 4.x or older are migrated to ESXi
  • Take a free new training course on ESXi essentials

Enterprises heavily relying on advanced or custom ESX-only features should start evaluating their exit/upgrade strategy from the platform, moving to the lean ESXi line and embracing the philosophy of “light” hypervisors in full.

UPDATE as the comments pointed out, VMware added a direct download option at the bottom of the page. For a quick reference on how the download page changed, compare the page as of the 5th of May – the difference is easily noticeable, with ESX being taken outside the main download tables and having one of its own.


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