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.
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.