The VMware vSphere Hypervisor is a free, bare-metal hypervisor from VMware that allows users to virtualize their servers and consolidate applications. The hypervisor has been available since 2008, when it was called Free ESXi 3.5.
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The hypervisor lacks some of the enterprise-grade features of the full VMware ESXi version, such as vMotion, Storage vMotion, High Availability, Distributed Resource Scheduler and vSphere Data Protection. However, it does include:
- Thin provisioning of virtual machine disks
- Snapshot and restore capabilities
- Virtual guest operating system support
- Support from the vSphere client
- Hardened device drivers
- Memory over-commitment
- Support for Fibre Channel, iSCSI and NFS shared storage
Users can upgrade to more advanced versions of the VMware vSphere Hypervisor by adding a license file.