VMware vSphere 6.x – Free and Paid editions

Estimated reading time: 2 min

We often receive questions regarding the differences between the Free and Paid version of VMware vSphere 6.x. We hope this article will help you to discover the differences between both versions of VMware vSphere 6.x.

At Snel.com we offer the free version of VMware vSphere 6.x (which is called VMware Hypervisor) because the Free version is identical to the paid VMware vSphere 6.x version. This means that you will get the exact same ISO image at free charge. However, the Free VMware vSphere 6.x version only stays unlocked for 60 days.%

So the Hypervisor works as a full version for 2 months. When the trial period ends some features will be disabled. In order to use the full version again, you need to enter a serial number but before you upgrade to the paid VMware vSphere 6.x version you should consider whether the upgrade really is necessary. Below the limitations of the Free version have been highlighted.

What are the VMware Hypervisor (Free) limitations?

The main difference between the free version and paid version of VMware server are the below restrictions:

  • You are not able to manage via vCenter Server
  • Only 1 physical server is allowed (cluster with more physical servers not allowed)
  • Only 2 physical CPU per Hypervisor is allowed
  • Only 128 vCPU per Hypervisor is allowed
  • Physical RAM limit of 12TB per Hypervisor is allowed
  • You need to acquire VM support

If you would like to upgrade to the paid version, then the only thing different between the free and the paid versions are the license keys. The software contains all of the functions, but you need to enable it with the keys. You do not have to install anything other than the new key and you need to configure the new functions.

VMware vSphere 6.x Editions Comparison Table

FeatureVMware Hypervisor (prev. ESXi Single Server)EssentialsEssentials Plus
Phys. RAM limitHost limit 12TBHost limit 12TBHost limit 12TB
vCenter Server compatibilityNonevCenter Server for Essentials (up to 3 physical servers)vCenter Server for Essentials (up to 3 physical servers)
LicensesFor 1 physical serverFor 3 physical servers (max. 2 processors per server)For 3 physical servers (max. 2 processors per server)
Unlimited number of virtual machines?No known limitNo known limitNo known limit
vCPU limit128128128
vCenter Server for Essentials AgentNoYesYes
Update ManagerNoYesYes
vStorage APIs for Data ProtectionNoYesYes
HA functionalityNoNoYes
Data recoveryNoNoYes
vMotionNoNoYes
vSANNoNoYes, optional
Cores per CPUNo limitsNo limitsNo limits
Support and subscriptionsCan be acquired separatelyOne-year subscription is included in price (Support is acquired per incident basismore information is available on the website of VMware) – No Basic or Production Level subscriptions possible – multi-year subscriptions can be purchasedMust be acquired with min. 12 months Basic or Production Support
Upgradeable?YesYesYes
PriceTake a look at the website of VMware vSphere for the prices

Click to the link below for a more detailed comparison:
Product offerings for vSphere 6.x

VMware vSphere Hypervisor Overview (2:16)


References and additional information

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