Virtualization has been around for more than a decade and it is still today a reverberating technology that is being adopted by businesses to keep their data center very agile and flexible.

In terms of Virtualization products and solutions, VMware continues to be the Industry leader and is a proven choice of many Organizations. VMware ESXi is the industry’s first Bare Metal Hypervisor, that can be installed directly onto a physical server which allows straightforward access & control to the underlying physical resources.

Over the past years, a number of hypervisors have evolved in the virtualization market. However, VMware ESXi stands out and continues to be the best virtualization platform. It is being widely embraced by organizations of all size and type in their existing IT infrastructure to build a robust, high performance and a more stable datacenter.

If you are going to adopt VMware ESXi for your IT infrastructure, then primarily you need to be familiar with some basic and advanced terminologies.

Here are the few terminologies that clearly illustrates the terms that revolve around VMware ESXi.

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VMware vSphere – The ESXi hypervisor and vCenter management software constitute the VMware’s suite of server virtualization products which is branded as vSphere

ESX and ESXi – The Bare Metal Hypervisor built on purpose for Virtualization by VMware. Initially referred to as Elastic Sky X, and then abbreviated as ESX. Later, VMWare dropped the development of ESX at version 4.1, and now uses ESXi

vCenter Server – VMware vCenter Server is a centralized management application that allows management of multiple ESX servers and their virtual machines (VMs) through a single console

vSphere client – It is an application that can be hosted locally and allows connection to ESXi and vCenter server for administration purposes

VADP – VMware vStorage API for Data Protection (VADP) is one of the VMware vStorage APIs introduced from ESXi version 4, that integrates with other hardware and software and is specifically used for backup and restore operations of ESXi VMs

CBT – With the release of vSphere 4.0, VMware released the Changed Block Tracking (CBT) feature with VADP, to track the changes on the disk sectors of the virtual machines running on ESXi

Snapshot – At a specific point of time, the state of the virtual machine and its data is captured. This is referred to as Snapshot. It preserves the particular point and also allows reverting the VM to the captured state

VMDK – Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) is a VMware file format that represents a complete virtual machine (i.e), VMDK holds the entire virtual hard disk data of a VM

VMFS – Virtual Machine File System (VMFS) is an exclusive and high performance file system of VMware designed to store VMDKs and Snapshots

VDDK – Virtual Disk Development Kit (VDDK) is an open API and SDK from VMware, that contains a collection of C/C++ libraries, code samples, utilities and provides access to virtual disk storage

VAAI – vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI) enables communication between ESXi host and storage devices (like NAS, SAN)

DataStore – In VMware, the storage location is referred as data store which is more like a container for all the VM files

VMware Tools – It is a suite of utilities that are installed on VMs to improve the VM performance and to make the management easier

vMotion – VMware vMotion is a process of migrating a VM from one host to another host, where both the hosts have shared storage

Storage vMotion – Through, VMware Storage vMotion, Live migration of VM from one storage system to another can be performed without experiencing any downtime or interruption

High Availability (HA) – VMware HA cluster is created to maintain high availability of the ESXi hosts and VMs. Even if a VM or entire host fails, but if it is residing in the HA cluster, then VMs will be immediately restarted on alternate hosts

Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) – VMware DRS cluster enables proper load balancing through perfect utilization of resources. When several ESXi hosts are added to VMware DRS cluster, the hosts and its associated virtual machines resources become a part of cluster resources. This provides the shared resource capability and the shared management interface

Fault Tolerance – Enabling Fault Tolerance for mission-critical VMs will create a secondary copy of those VMs. If the primary VM fails, you can immediately failover to the secondary VM and start working on it. VMware Fault Tolerance offers continuous availability for production VMs to keep your business up and running

Virtual Networks – The networks used by virtual machines are virtualized by the underlying physical host (ESXi) to mimic the functions of physical networks and allows data to be sent and received from each other

Storage networks and arrays – To meet the storage needs of different datacenters, VMware supports wide storage technologies like Fibre Channel SAN, iSCSI SAN, and NAS

Hope this blog has covered most of the terms that are associated with VMware ESXi. This will help you to easily get started with ESXi, when you venture into VMware deployment for your environment

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