I am still blown away by the diversity of hardware platforms and environments that our customers continue to run their mission critical workloads using ESXi, VMware's Enterprise Type-1 Hypervisor. VMware ESXi is literally deployed in every market segment and vertical that you can imagine and even ones that you may not think of across land ⛰️, air 🛫, sea 🛳️ and even space 🚀.
I still vividly remember back in 2012, when ESXi was able to run on an Apple Mac Mini and how that enabled a new class of use cases for accelerated development and testing of iOS and MacOS applications that was just never possible before. In fact, this also enabled our partners like MacStadium, one of the largest Virtualized MacOS infrastructure provider running on VMware to deliever this offering as-a-service. Most recently, I also learned the popular Github Actions, specifically when using MacOS virtual environments, that it was also leveraging VMware under the hood which is very cool if you ask me!?
Another memorable moment was in 2018, a huge 🎤👊 at our VMworld conference when Ray O'Farrell (former VMware CTO) picked up a tiny device, which we learned was a Raspberry Pi running ESXi and VMware finally introduced to the world our ESXi-Arm initiative.
The ESXi Hypervisor has certainly come a long way from the early days of the VMware Hardware Compatibility (HCL) and VMware continues to expand into new markets and form factors like Data Processing Units (DPUs) as part of the recently announced Project Monterey. Edge computing is another area that is growing extremely rapidly and this recent article featuring our CEO Raghu states that "Edge computing is growing faster than Cloud" which will certainly drive further innovations with our ESXi platform to meet the needs of our customers.
While reminiscing about some of these industry first moments, I was reminded of this tweet back in 2015 where we catch a quick glimpse of the ESXi console in an episode of The Blacklist television show. This was definitely a pretty cool moment for anyone who works in the VMware eco-system! If anyone knows the backstory, I would LOVE to hear about it and how it made it onto the show in case anyone from NBC is reading this blog? 😀
How freaking cool is that!? ESXi 5.1 console spotted in tonight's ep of The Blacklist. Guess they know #1 hypervisor pic.twitter.com/Gcb4rmdiyh
— William Lam (@lamw) February 2, 2015
While seeing ESXi in a fictional TV series was pretty cool, I thought it might be fun to actually share a couple of recent examples where ESXi was actually running in some pretty unexpected places:
Microsoft Lumnia 950 XL
— Sunshine Biscuit at scale 🍪 (@imbushuo) October 8, 2020
(Yes it can boot, but no peripheral is brought up, since I got a UART jig now I really need to see bringing up xHCI in UEFI for both Windows and ESXi use) pic.twitter.com/e3NsTzSfec
— Sunshine Biscuit at scale 🍪 (@imbushuo) October 9, 2020
"We have ESXi running in a Lamborghini Huracan as an SD-WAN connected mobile datacenter." (Source: Michael Shuster on 05/20/22)
Cruise Ships, Oil Rigs, Trains, and Airplanes
"Spoke with customers that use it on Cruise Ships, Oil Rigs, Trains, and Airplanes. Some unexpected and interesting places for sure!" (Source: Duncan Epping on 05/21/22)
"I have spoken to a partner that was using a esxi with vsan environment in these soil research trucks. Living at the edge." (Source: Marco Van Den Hem on 05/22/22)
Valve Steam Deck
"I installed the newest build of ESXi with the USB fling on my 256GB SteamDeck. Pretty much everything just "works"." (Source: Reddit on 05/24/22)
Armored Personal Vehicle
"I did an early Vsan solution for Armored Personal vehicles. A small rack inside the panzer running 3 nodes with no spinning drives due to the vibrations :-D" (Source: Mikael Green on 05/25/222)
Oil Rig Support Vessel
This bad boy. pic.twitter.com/byXEYHFbIF
— James Kilby (@jameskilbynet) May 25, 2022
Real-Time Industrial Control Applications (Manufacturing)
- PLC for controlling the conveyer belt with the sensor
- AI model to identify object (Computer Vision)
- Path identification to calculate the next movement and send the coordinate to the robot arm to move the arm to the object every 2ms
Have you seen ESXi (x86 or Arm) run in other unexpected places? If so, feel free to share your story by leaving a comment on the blog! Happy Friday