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ESXi is the unified version of the VMware hypervisor, but it could be installed on a host in different way:

  • Embedded: is a OEM version usually shipped with the host
  • Installable: is the one available from the VMware download site
  • PXE: is used in the AutoDeploy environment

If could be obvios know if you have a PXE type, how is possible find if you have an Installable or Embedded version? The destination media is not enough because you can install ESXi also over the vendor’s SD card used for the embedded versions.

The KB 2014558 (Determining the ESXi installation type) explain how resolve this curiosity. Funny that there was also KB 2021488, but seems no more available.

Basically the old trick was:

  1. Run the command:
    # ls /bootbank
    If your host is running ESXi Installable you will see a file called state.tgz
    If your host is running ESXi Embedded you will see a file called local.tgz

The new one is:

  1. Run this command:

    # esxcfg-info -e

    You see an output similar to:

    boot type: visor-thin

    You can determine the ESXi type based on the output of this command.

    For example:

    • visor-thin indicates an installable deployment
    • visor-usb indicates an embedded deployment
    • visor-pxe indicates a PXE deployment

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Andrea MauroAbout Andrea Mauro (1461 Posts)

Virtualization & Cloud Architect. VMUG IT Co-Founder and board member. VMNT Moderator and VMware vExpert (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013). Several certifications including: VCDX-DCV, VCP-DCV/DT/Cloud, VCAP-DCA/DCD/CIA/CID/DTA/DTD, MCSA, MCSE, MCITP, CCA.


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