I think it is pretty clear that VMware Workstation 8 is really bringing the features in this release. With version 8, there is native support for ESXi as a virtual machine. Let's be clear on what this functionality is for, however. This is for test and development capabilities of vSphere. Under no circumstance should you run a production workload on an ESXi 5 system that is running as a virtual machine on a VMware Workstation host.
That being said, it couldn't be easier to set up a test lab with VMware Workstation 8. It is done simply by selecting the option for a custom new virtual machine, the first screen of the menu for which is shown in Figure A:
(Click to enlarge)
This can be a great learning environment for the migration to vSphere 5 or to get started with virtualization. I would also be remiss if I didn't once again mention Eric Gray's VCritical blog post on the topic, including details on 64-bit guests on physical ESXi hosts.
Can it be any easier to virtualize ESXi 5? I don't think so. Have you started working with vSphere 5 yet, and has VMware Workstation 8 helped you thus far along? Share your experience below.
Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.