The VMware Knowledge Base provides support solutions, error messages and troubleshooting guides
Support for running ESXi/ESX as a nested virtualization solution (2009916)
Customers running nested ESXi/ESX will need to obtain additional licenses for the nested ESXi/ESX.
VMware does not support running nested ESXi/ESX servers in production environments. This includes, but is not limited to:
- VMware ESXi/ESX running in VMware Workstation or VMware Fusion
- VMware ESXi/ESX running in VMware ESXi/ESX
- VMware ESXi/ESX running in other third-party hypervisor solutions
ESXi/ESX has strict real-time constraints that cannot always be met in a virtualized environment where the hypervisor has to share control of the physical hardware with the host operating system. This is particularly an issue with hosted products such as VMware Workstation and VMware Fusion.
Despite these constraints, it is possible to run ESXi/ESX nested in VMware Workstation, VMware Fusion, and VMware vSphere. Many users have indicated that it works well when used to learn about VMware's server products. As such, VMware Certified Professionals (VCPs) and other technical professionals are encouraged to use nesting to learn about VMware's server products, experiment with server setup, conduct training, show demos, and test configurations.
Known working (however still unsupported) configurations for ESXi/ESX on VMware's hosted products are:
- ESXi/ESX 4.0: Requires Workstation 7.0 or higher / Fusion 3.0 or higher
- ESXi/ESX 4.1: Requires Workstation 8.0 or higher / Fusion 4.0 or higher
- ESXi 5.0: Requires Workstation 8.0 or higher / Fusion 4.1 or higher
- ESXi 5.1: Requires Workstation 9.0 or higher / Fusion 5.0 or higher
Request a Product Feature
To request a new product feature or to provide feedback on a VMware product, please visit the Request a Product Feature page.