A number of people do ask if vmkernel in ESX is Linux based. The answer is no, but it’s frequently mistook for the Service Console, as this interface is what most people see. A quick look at the founders of VMware will give you an idea of where the product came from:
”Dr. Mendel Rosenblum, Chief Scientist
Mendel Rosenblum is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, where he leads a group focused on operating systems research. Together with his students, he developed the Hive operating system, the SimOS machine simulator and the Disco virtual machine monitor. In 2002, he received the ACM SIGOPS Mark Weiser Award for his creativity, innovation and vision in operating systems research. He holds Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in computer science from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. in mathematics from the University of Virginia.
Edouard Bugnion was a Ph.D. candidate in computer science at Stanford University prior to co-founding VMware. His primary research interests are in operating systems and computer architectures, and he was a key member of the SimOS and Disco virtual machine research teams. He holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from ETH Zurich and a master’s degree from Stanford University.
Scott Devine, Principal Engineer
Scott Devine was a Ph.D. candidate in computer science at Stanford University prior to co-founding VMware. His primary research interests are in operating systems and computer architectures, and he was a key member of the SimOS and Disco virtual machine research teams. He holds a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.S. from Stanford University.”
So it seems fair to conclude that ESX is based around SimOS/Disco and Hive systemsâ€¦. which has been ported to an i386/intel environment