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Q. What kinds of tasks can be done in ESXi?

A. I received an interesting question from Vincent Boileau of Ontario, Canada this month. He writes, "ESX is nice, but many of us are running ESXi, and most of your \\[questions\\] don't really cover ESXi. How can these types of tasks be done in ESXi?"

Because you ask a relatively general question, I'll give you a relatively general answer. ESX and ESXi are similar in that they can both run the vSphere platform and VMware virtual machines. But ESX and ESXi use very different management OSs (sometimes called the console OS).

Each has a management OS to support troubleshooting and other administrative needs. Traditionally, ESX uses a variant of Red Hat and ESXi uses a specially-compiled version of BusyBox. Both are Linux distributions, which means that many common Linux commands can be used in each.

The primary difference is that the management OS with ESXi is quite a bit lighter than ESX—it supports fewer commands. You won't be installing applications to it like you might with ESX. Also, while many common Linux commands are available, many special-use commands aren't.

Be aware that most of the commands you'll see in these FAQs (and elsewhere on the Internet) have nothing to do with Linux. These VMKernel-specific commands were written by VMware to enact change to their VMKernel and other VMware-specific routines. Many of these start with the characters esx, such as the many esxcfg- commands. Virtually all of these special commands should work with either ESX or ESXi

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