VMware ESX 3.x Server Overview

VMware ESX Server is the foundation for every other piece of the virtualization package. It is the hypervisor, or main software layer that installs on the bare metal and allows everything above it to communicate with the hardware, to allow virtualization. When you install VMware ESX Server, you are actually installing two main components: the
VMkernel and the Service Console. The VMkernel is the base on which all other software in the package is built: the operating system. For those familiar with Linux, this would be the equivalent of (and is built from) the Linux kernel, without any other software.

The Service Console (or COS) is an alternative means of communicating with and configuring the VMkernel using standard Linux and VMware-specific commands to modify and adjust parameters. Typically, management will be done via the vCenter client; however, there may be cases where you find you can accomplish things more easily with the command line or need to use it because you can’t access vCenter.

VMware has designed ESX Server to run only on specific pieces of hardware and has removed support for any kinds of devices it is not interested in, thereby reducing the kernel code. What remains is a stripped-down, fast kernel and tool package with little to no extra overhead. This is one of the things that gives VMware an advantage over other virtualization technologies that require installation on top of a standard operating system, which will be filled with drivers and features you won’t need.

It’s important to verify the hardware on which you will be running your virtualized environment, as VMware doesn’t directly support smaller desktop-related hardware. However, everything that a server needs is well supported. This is a sleek operating system designed to put as little as possible between the virtual machines and the hardware.

Source of Information : Oreilly - VMware Cookbook (11-2009)


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