Learn What a VMware Host Is and How to Manage It

A host virtual machine (VM) and guest VM are two crucial components of any virtualization platform. While a host VM provides the underlying hardware resources like processing power, memory, networking, and storage during virtualization, a guest VM is the software component of the VM, comprising an operating system (OS) and associated applications. VMware ESXi—a type 1 hypervisor developed by VMware—is the VMware host for VMs. VMware ESXi runs directly on the hardware as a bare-metal hypervisor, effectively partitioning it to consolidate applications. Discover the features and specifics of the VMware host in this post.

VMware’s hypervisor comes in two flavors: ESX and ESXi. Both run directly on the bare machine, have their own kernel, and are primary components of the VMware vSphere environment. However, ESXi offers superior architecture compared to ESX, which VMware has since deprecated.

Learn about VMware Host for Virtual Machines

VMware replaced the service console (an elementary OS) in ESX with a more integrated OS in ESXi to provide robust security, reliability, and management for the hypervisor. VMware ESXi runs its own kernel (also called VMkernel) that allocates memory, schedules the processor, and provides other hardware abstraction and OS services.

Below are some core features of VMware host:

Move Virtual Machines between VMware Hosts

Moving VMs from one location to another, and across VMware hosts and storage locations (even datacenters), is one of the significant advantages of vCenter Server. It allows users to:

Enhance performance. If one ESXi host is busy, you can migrate VMs from that host to another without any downtime.

VMware vMotion—vCenter Server’s feature—takes live VMS and migrates them from one ESXi host to another. vMotion ensures a seamless migration because the VM retains its network identity and connections. Therefore, you can only use vMotion to change between physical servers and not the storage locations.

In this regard, both the source and destination vCenter Server instances should connect to a shared VM storage. Additionally, the source and destination vCenter Server version instances on the physical servers should be 6.0 or later.

Load Balance across VMware Hosts

VMware uses a license feature called Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) to provide scheduling and load balancing capabilities at the virtualization layer. With VMware DRS, IT administrators define rules that specify how physical resources are allocated among the VMs. IT administrators can also add, remove or reorganize resource pools when necessary.

When enabled, DRS balances the memory load on all VMs within a VMware cluster. It redistributes the physical resources to VMs and ESXi hosts intelligently, depending on the workload requirements. For example, if the overall workload decreases, DRS can shut down some ESXi hosts temporarily to consolidate resources.

On the other hand, when workload demands rise, DRS assesses its priority against resource allocation rules and redistributes the VMs to ensure their capacities get dedicated to mission-critical applications.

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Consistently meeting business-critical applications is a top priority for organizations that want to compete in today’s fast-paced digital environment. Server virtualization can allow organizations to achieve maximum use of their physical servers by increasing the mobility of their applications.

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