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Understanding VMWare Components


Last Updated on January 9, 2022 by John Morehouse

Recently I was looking to install VMWare components in my local network of things so that I could gain additional knowledge of how VMWare works.   I have a local Synology DS920+ which can run virtual machines and I have about 18TB of space to play with so I thought this would be a good experiment.  The tricky part is that VMWare’s ecosystem has a couple of different components to it.  If you aren’t familiar with those components, it can be a dizzying to navigate.

Let’s take a look at some of the more major components.


If you’ve ever heard of the “Purple Screen of Death” being uttered from the mouths of your system administrators, they are speaking of ESXi.  ESXi is the underlying hypervisor (also know as the kernel) that serves as the platform guest virtual machines that reside within its immediate realm.  The Purple Screen of Death occurs when the kernel has encountered a critical error which is equivalent to the Blue Screen of Death of Windows.  You can have multiple ESXi installations and you can even cluster them just as you would a Windows Server installation.

VMWare vSphere

For quite a while I always thought that vSphere was a “thing” like another widget in the grand scheme of VMWare’s world of virtualization.  Turns out, I was wrong.  The term “vSphere” is really just an over-arching umbrella that refers to the entire eco-system of virtualization products that VMWare offers.   Nothing more.

VMWare vCenter

If you have ever had to manage a large server farm with potentially hundreds or thousands of servers, you know that it can become quite tedious to manage things properly.  This is where vCenter steps in and helps to save the day. vCenter is a tool that is used to help centralize, manage, and orchestra the virtual machine environment.   Through vCenter, you can create and destroy virtual machines or even manage the underlying ESXi host.


vMotion isn’t really a product rather it’s an action.  If you have multiple VMWare ESXi servers in a cluster formation (where they all know about each other) you can seamlessly move virtual machines, while they are running, from one host to another.  This is know as “vMotioning” the virtual machine.    It’s a very slick and useful technology which allows administrators to quickly balance virtual machine resources across each host to help prevent over-allocation of compute resources.


There are a number of moving parts for VMWare’s eco-system.  This makes sense because it is designed for enterprise deployments of potentially vast scale.  While you can certainly use it for smaller organizations, there may be better and cheaper alternatives.  However, if you are looking to move to VMWare for your organization just know that it’s a top player in the market and I’ve worked with many clients that deploy it with success.

VMWare provides deeper understand of its components here that you can read further if you want.



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