The latest major release of VMware ESXi is version 8.0. This newest version provides enhanced security features, improved workload optimization, increased support for managing resources at scale, and more.
Key features and benefits of ESXi 8.0
ESXi 8.0 offers notable improvements over previous versions:
- Improved security – Includes trusted platform module (TPM) 2.0 support, VM encryption with no performance impact, secure boot capability, and more. Helps defend against emerging threats.
- Enhanced optimization – Intelligent workload placement, advanced memory management, and Multi-Kernel support for fast provisioning. Optimizes resource use.
- Scalability – Support for over 10,000 VMs per host, increased vMotion scalability for huge environments. Manages growth.
- Simplified lifecycle management – Image Builder, declarative APIs, and Redfish support. Automates processes.
- Kubernetes support – Enhances existing NSX-T and vSphere integration with Kubernetes for modern apps.
A closer look at key ESXi 8.0 upgrades
Let’s explore some of the most notable improvements that ESXi 8.0 delivers:
- Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 support – Validates hardware integrity to prevent tampering or malware.
- VM encryption – Secures VM data without performance loss using an encrypted vSphere Distributed Switch.
- Secure boot – Ensures boot integrity via cryptographic verification for enhanced security.
- Improved audit logging – Expanded logging provides richer details for tracking and analysis.
Smarter resource optimization
- Intelligent workload placement – Data-driven recommendations for optimal VM placement. Improves efficiency.
- Advanced memory management – Compression, debugger improvements, ability to enable page sharing. Boosts memory usage.
- Multi-Kernel – Fast provisioning via pre-initialized kernels ready to assign to VMs instantly.
- Over 10,000 VMs per host – Massive consolidation ratios possible with record VM density.
- Enhanced vMotion – Supports huge simultaneous migrations with reduced network traffic.
Simplified management and automation
- Image Builder CLI – Build, validate, and publish custom ESXi images easily.
- Declarative REST APIs – Apply desired state to infrastructure for added automation.
- Redfish support – Manage ESXi using this open industry standard.
Transitioning to ESXi 8.0
Upgrading from older versions of ESXi to 8.0 allows taking advantage of the latest features and enhancements. Several options exist for transitioning:
- Fresh install – Deploy ESXi 8.0 from scratch on bare metal or virtual hardware. Simple but time-intensive.
- In-place upgrade – Upgrade existing ESXi host directly to 8.0. Convenient but has downsides like potential compatibility issues.
- Upgrade via migration – Evacuate VMs from old host to new 8.0 host. Allows validation while reducing downtime.
Be sure to check VMware’s ESXi upgrade guide for recommended best practices when moving to 8.0 based on your current environment.
Pay close attention to hardware compatibility – ESXi 8.0 adds requirements like a TPM 2.0 chip and UEFI boot on the host machine. Validate all components first.
Planning an ESXi 8.0 deployment
Migrating production workloads to the latest ESXi version requires careful planning and preparation:
- Assess hardware – Review servers, storage, networking and check 8.0 compatibility. Budget upgrades if needed.
- Evaluate add-ons – Determine if current backup, security, and management solutions are 8.0 ready.
- Map dependencies – Catalog relationships between VMs, storage, resources, etc. to plan shifts.
- Build test environment – Set up a replication of production environment and test upgrade.
- Run validation tests – Verify performance, compatibility by migrating non-critical VMs first.
- Determine strategy – Based on testing, decide on in-place upgrades vs migrate and replace.
- Create backups – Protect data, configurations, and customizations before any upgrades.
- Stage roll-out – Schedule production upgrade in phases across hosts, allowing fallbacks if needed.
- Monitor closely – Watch for issues during and after transition to 8.0. Have roll-back plan ready.
Allowing sufficient time for evaluation and testing is crucial – don’t rush the process. ESXi 8.0 is a major upgrade requiring care to smoothly transition.
Key takeaways on ESXi 8.0
Some top highlights to know regarding VMware’s newest ESXi release:
- ESXi 8.0 focuses on enhanced security, smarter resource usage, easier scalability, and simplified management
- New capabilities like TPM support, VM encryption, and Intelligent Workload Placement optimize infrastructure
- Carefully test ESXi 8.0 in non-production first and assess hardware readiness before upgrading
- Transition production workloads to 8.0 incrementally, with backups and ability to roll back if needed
- Monitoring during rollout is crucial to catch any potential issues right away
With proper planning and validation, ESXi 8.0 can provide tangible improvements in security, efficiency and scale.
ESXi 8.0 is VMware’s most robust, secure and optimized hypervisor release yet. All-new features like Workload Partitions allow unprecedented scale, while Intelligent Workload Placement and advanced memory management maximize resource utilization intelligently.
A smooth upgrade process is essential to benefit from 8.0 enhancements. Testing in non-production environments first and upgrading production in phases will allow organizations to validate functionality and compatibility at each step before fully transitioning business-critical workloads.
As virtual infrastructure grows to thousands of workloads and security threats escalate, ESXi 8.0 capabilities give IT teams powerful tools to manage resources efficiently while keeping pace with evolving needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the latest stable version of ESXi?
The latest major stable release is ESXi 8.0. VMware also has an active patch release program that provides bug fixes and security updates. Always run the most current ESXi update
- What new security features come with ESXi 8.0
Notable security enhancements include TPM 2.0 support for hardware validation, VM encryption to secure data without performance loss, secure boot capability, and expanded audit logging.
- Does ESXi 8.0 change hardware requirements?
Yes, ESXi 8.0 adds new hardware requirements like TPM 2.0 chips, UEFI boot, and other specs. Carefully validate compatibility before upgrading.
- What should I do before upgrading to ESXi 8.0?
Do steps like assess hardware readiness, test ESXi 8.0 in a non-production environment first, backup existing data/settings, catalog all dependencies between components, and have a rollback plan ready.
- What methods exist for transitioning to ESXi 8.0?
Options include an in-place upgrade directly on the host, lifting-and-shifting VMs to a new 8.0 host, or a fresh OS install. Each has pros and cons to weigh.
- Is upgrading to ESXi 8.0 risky?
Any major upgrade comes with some risk, which is why pre-upgrade testing is critical. When done carefully and methodically, upgrading to 8.0 should go smoothly. Always have contingency plans too.
- Are patches required with ESXi 8.0?
Yes, VMware continually issues patches to fix bugs and security issues. Make sure to always keep ESXi hosts fully updated to the latest patch version for maximum stability and protection.
- How do I obtain ESXi 8.0?
ESXi is available from the VMware site with valid licensing. Download the latest ESXi 8.0 ISO file and either burn it to disk or mount it virtually to kick off the install and setup process.
- What features help optimize resources in ESXi 8.0?
Intelligent Workload Placement, advanced memory management like compression and page sharing, and multi-kernel technology for fast provisioning allow ESXi 8.0 to use resources much more intelligently and efficiently.
- What is vMotion enhancement in ESXi 8.0?
ESXi 8.0 significantly scales vMotion to support concurrent migration of very large numbers of VMs across hosts while reducing related network traffic. This keeps environments running smoothly even during intense migration activity.
- How can I build custom ESXi images?
A new Image Builder command line interface makes building, validating, and publishing custom ESXi images much simpler in version 8.0 to meet specific needs.
- What is ESXi Image Builder?
Image Builder is a tool in ESXi 8.0 that lets administrators easily create, manage and deploy custom ESXi images tailored to their requirements using a declarative YAML file and CLI.
- Does ESXi 8.0 use more memory?
Yes, the general memory footprint has increased in ESXi 8.0. Additional hardware upgrades may be required to support the new version depending on existing headroom. Check VMware’s guide for specifics.
- What is included with the free ESXi license?
The free license allows installation of ESXi and creation of two VMs for small non-production environments only. Paid VMware licensing unlocks the full suite of enterprise-grade capabilities.
- When will ESXi 8.0 be end of life?
VMware maintains support for major releases for at least two years after the follow-on version is released. Admins should prepare to upgrade again before end of general support to stay fully supported.
- Who should upgrade to ESXi 8.0 now vs wait?
Organizations that can benefit most from features around security, scalability and optimization and are able to properly test and validate ESXi 8.0 first should look to upgrade sooner rather than later.