I finally got a chance to try this out yesterday on a Dell PowerEdge 6600 server that we use for testing at work. I’ve been testing it pretty much most of yesterday and today and I have to say that I’m very impressed with it so far.
Installation was very easy: download and burn the ISO image, boot from it, follow the installation instructions on the screen (which is pretty much next, next next), set the root password, and set a static IP address if you want.
To manage it, open your web browser, point it to the IP address of the ESXi server, download the free VMware Infrastructure Client from there and install it on your computer. You pretty much do everything here: creating and managing virtual machines, data stores, upload/download files, resource allocation, etc.
VMware also has a very cool free tool called VMware Converter for converting physical machines, backup images, and other virtual machine formats (such as Microsoft Virtual Server 2005) to VMware virtual machines. You can run this while the machine you’re converting is running and you can even convert the machines directly to the VMware ESXi server! Very cool!
So far I’ve converted a virtual machine created by VMware Server and our physical desktop deployment server (BDD 2007) and they both converted successfully with no problems.
I’ll be doing more testing this week and we’re most likely going to be moving our production servers running on Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 and other physical servers to VMware ESXi. It’s pretty much a no-brainer, especially since ESXi is now free.