Virtual machine hardware

A virtual machine uses virtual hardware. Each guest operating system sees ordinary hardware devices and is no aware that these devices are virtual. All virtual machines have uniform hardware, which makes virtual machines portable across VMware virtualization platforms.

You can configure virtual machine memory and CPU settings, add virtual hard disks and network interface cards, add and configure virtual hardware, such as CD/DVD drives, floppy drives, and SCSI devices. You can also add multiple USB devices to a virtual machine that resides on an ESXi host to which the devices are attached.

Virtual machine hardware version

The virtual machine hardware version designates the features of the virtual hardware (number of CPUs, maximum memory configuration, etc.). By default, new virtual machines will be created with the latest version of the virtual hardware available on the host where the VM is being created.

Here is a table that shows the highest hardware version that each vSphere version supports:

Product Hardware Version
ESXi 5.5 (with vSphere Web Client) 10
ESXi 5.1, 5.5 9
ESXI 5.x 8
ESXi/ESX 4.x 7


Note that you will need to use vSphere Web Client in order to configure a virtual machine to use the hardware version 10. Virtual machines using virtual machine hardware versions prior to this can still be created and run on ESXi 5.5 hosts, but they will not have all of the features and capabilities of virtual machine hardware version 10.

Here are the virtual machines configuration maximums:

  • 64 virtual CPUs per VM.
  • 1 TB of RAM per VM.
  • 1 TB swap file size.
  • 4 virtual SCSI adapters per virtual machine.
  • 60 Virtual Disks per virtual machine.
  • 62 TB virtual disk size.
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