While there's been a lot of talk this past week on Free ESXi (more on that later) I wanted to take some time and explain the new Veeam Essentials bundle and our reasons behind it. We view our Veeam Essentials bundle as a great entry bundle for the small business just getting into virtualization using VMware vSphere. As you may know, VMware has introduced a very attractively priced vSphere bundle called VMware vSphere Essentials, this gives you vCenter and up to 6 sockets (3 hosts) for just shy of US $1,000. If you think about it, that's a lot of power for not a lot of clams. Think how many physical servers you can virtualize on 3 ESX(i) hosts...way more than 3. For more information, check out VMware vSphere Pricing.

So, for just shy of 1K you get fully licensed vSphere. This is great but it still leaves you without an efficient backup and recovery tool, single pane of glass monitoring or detailed reporting...enter Veeam Essentials bundle...offering Veeam Backup & Replication, Veeam Monitor and Veeam Reporter for around US $2,000 (Americas pricing). The Veeam Essentials bundle is fully functional licensed versions of those 3 products for 6 sockets (3 hosts).

Of course Veeam is placing some limits on this bundle...

  • Must be purchased with VMware vSphere Essentials (or proof of VMware vSphere Essentials must be given)
  • Each bundle will only support 6 sockets. This means that even if you purchase multiple bundles, each Veeam product will only work on 6 sockets, you'll need to install other instances with the other license(s) to manage the other VMware vSphere Essentials vCenters.
  • Each bundle is 6 sockets, no less (sorry folks, you can't get it cheaper for only 4 sockets)

What does all this mean? For just under US $3,000 (hardware not included) you get 6 sockets of VMware vSphere, 6 sockets of Veeam Backup & Replication, 6 sockets of Veeam Monitor and 6 sockets of Veeam Reporter. That's 3 servers with up to 8 cores (2x4) and 256GB RAM each running VMware ESX(i). Couple that with a free iSCSI solution such as Starwind and now you're talking 2 TB of shared data for free (hardware and Windows licensing not included).

I did not include Support and Subscription (SnS) above because for VMware vSphere Essentials it's optional (it's not optional on VMware vSphere Essentials Plus). Veeam's Essentials bundle includes 1 year of support and upgrades in the list price.

Now, let's discuss a few things about the Free Version of ESXi. We've gotten a number of questions on this since we released the "news" and the Essentials bundle on the same day. Below is a simple table explaining what is and isn't supported:

Table of compatibility:

ESX Version

Current Customers As of June 3, 2009

Future Customers

ESX/ESXi 3.x licensed



ESX/ESXi 4.x licensed



ESXi 3.5 free



ESXi 4.0 free



+ = supported/usable
- = not supported

Now please note that Veeam will not be supporting ESXi Free 4.0 at all. If you're a current customer using Veeam Backup & Replication for ESXi Free 3.x, please contact your Veeam ProPartner or sales person for vSphere options.

While I don't endorse or condone any of the following, I thought I would be doing an injustice if I did not include links to the community's reaction to our announcement regarding dropping ESXi Free support. The list below is just some of the reaction, be sure to read the comments in each as well.

Rick Vanover at Virtualization Review

Rich Brambley at VMETC

Eric Scholten at VMGURU.NL

Gabes Virtual World

Search Server Virtualization's Alex Barrett

Rich Brambley at VMETC again after Alex Barrett's post

Search Server Virtualization's Eric Siebert

Edward L Haletky's The "soon to be launched" Virtualization Practice

Update: June 12, 2009 - New Links

Bridget Bothelo over at Virtualization Pro

Discussion over at ars technica (I noticed this in my referral stats)

Update: June 15, 2009 - New Links

Search Server Virtualization's weekly Podcast: VMware cuts free ESXi hypervisor support, fuels battle vs. Hyper-V

Update: June 26, 2009 - New Link

Update: July 3, 2009 - New Link

Tom Howarth over at PlanetVM

Mike Laverick from RTFM

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New Veeam Essentials Bundle, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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