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The end of VMware Hypervisor free edition

For as long as i can remember, there has been a free version of VMware's ESXi Hypervisor, simply branded as VMware Hypervisor Free Edition. Each version of ESXi introduced a new version of the Free Edition. This allowed you to install ESXi for free for Learning purposes and the license permitted unlimited RAM and CPUs on the host. The main restriction was that it couldn't be managed by vCenter, so was effectively a standalone host.


Today is a sad day, as VMware Hypervisor Free Edition is no more. As per this official VMware KB (https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2107518) dated today, VMware's new owner's, Broadcom, have decided to no longer offer the free version of ESXi.


VMware Hypervisor Free Edition was first mentioned as heading for the axe in the Blog post from Rick Walworth on 22 Jan 2024, which you can read here. This is worth reading as there is a long list of other products affected by the changes being brought in by Broadcom.


The original links for VMware Hypervisor Free Edition, now take you to https://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere.html where you can only now download a 60 day trial edition.


If you are looking to obtain ESXi for learning purposes and need more than 60 days, i would highly recommend the VMUG advantage program. For about $200 per year, you can download most VMware products for learning purposes with 365 day licences, which is well worth the investment.


Adios VMware Hypervisor Free Edition, it was fun while it lasted!

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