VMware vSphere is a software suite that includes components like ESXi, vCenter Server, vSphere Client, vCenter Orchestrator, vSphere Update Manager, etc. vSphere components provide virtualization, management, resource optimization and many other features useful for a virtual environment. vSphere is used to virtualize and aggregate the underlying physical hardware resources and to provide the pool of virtual resources to the data center. It also supports some advanced virtualization features such as disaster recovery, high availability, fault tolerance, dynamic resource allocation, etc.
People new to the VMware’s virtualization platform sometimes get confused in dealing with vSphere and its components. Remember that vSphere is a suite of products, just like Microsoft Office (a suite of office products such as Word, Excel, Access), and not a single product that you can install in your environment.
Here is a list and description of the most important components included in the vSphere product suite:
- ESXi – a type 1 hypervisor. A hypervisor is a piece of software that creates and runs virtual machines. In vSphere, virtual machines are installed on ESXi servers.
- vCenter Server – a centralized management platform and framework that lets you manage virtual machines and ESXi hosts centrally.
- vSphere Update Manager – an add-on package for vCenter Server that helps you keep your ESXi hosts and VMs patched with the latest updates.
- vSphere Web Client – a web-based user interface used for managing a virtual infrastructure.
- vSphere Client – a locally installed Windows application with a graphical user interface (GUI) for all day-to-day management tasks and for the advanced configuration of a virtual infrastructure.
There are three vSphere editions:
- vSphere Standard
- vSphere Enterprise
- vSphere Enterprise Plus
Here you can find out the differences between these vSphere editions.