VMware provides devices, resources, profiles, and vServices that you can configure or add to your virtual machine.

Virtual Machine Hardware

Not all hardware devices are available to every virtual machine. The host that the virtual machine runs on and the guest operating system must support devices that you add or configurations that you make. To verify support for a device in your environment, see the VMware Compatibility Guide at http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility or the Guest Operating System Installation Guide at http://partnerweb.vmware.com/GOSIG/home.html.

In some cases, the host might not have the required vSphere license for a resource or device. Licensing in vSphere is applicable to ESXi hosts, vCenter Server, and solutions and can be based on different criteria, depending on the specifics of each product. For information about vSphere licensing, see the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation.

The PCI and SIO virtual hardware devices are part of the virtual motherboard, but cannot be configured or removed.

Table 1. Virtual Machine Hardware and Descriptions

Hardware Device

Description

CPU

You can configure a virtual machine that runs on an ESXi host to have one or more virtual processors. A virtual machine cannot have more virtual CPUs than the actual number of logical CPUs on the host. You can change the number of CPUs allocated to a virtual machine and configure advanced CPU features, such as the CPU Identification Mask and hyperthreaded core sharing.

Chipset

The motherboard uses VMware proprietary devices based on the following chips:

  • Intel 440BX AGPset 82443BX Host Bridge/Controller

  • Intel 82371AB (PIIX4) PCI ISA IDE Xcelerator

  • National Semiconductor PC87338 ACPI 1.0 and PC98/99 Compliant SuperI/O

  • Intel 82093AA I/O Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller

DVD/CD-ROM Drive

Installed by default when you create a new vSphere virtual machine. You can configure DVD/CD-ROM devices to connect to client devices, host devices, or datastore ISO files. You can add, remove, or configure DVD/CD-ROM devices.

Floppy Drive

Installed by default when you create a new vSphere virtual machine. You can connect to a floppy drive located on the ESXi host, a floppy (.flp) image, or the floppy drive on your local system. You can add, remove, or configure floppy devices.

Hard Disk

Stores the virtual machine's operating system, program files, and other data associated with its activities. A virtual disk is a large physical file, or a set of files, that can be copied, moved, archived, and backed up as easily as any other file.

IDE 0, IDE 1

By default, two Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) interfaces are presented to the virtual machine. The IDE interface (controller) is a standard way for storage devices (Floppy drives, hard drives and CD-ROM drives) to connect to the virtual machine.

Keyboard

Mirrors the keyboard that is connected to the virtual machine console when you first connect to the console.

Memory

The virtual hardware memory size determines how much memory applications that are running inside the virtual machine have available to them. A virtual machine cannot benefit from more memory resources than its configured virtual hardware memory size.

Network Adapter

ESXi networking features provide communication between virtual machines on the same host, between virtual machines on different hosts, and between other virtual and physical machines. When you configure a virtual machine, you can add network adapters (NICs) and specify the adapter type.

Parallel port

Interface for connecting peripherals to the virtual machine. The virtual parallel port can connect to a file. You can add, remove, or configure virtual parallel ports.

PCI controller

Bus on the virtual machine motherboard that communicates with components such as hard disks and other devices. One PCI controller is presented to the virtual machine. You cannot configure or remove this device.

PCI Device

You can add up to six PCI vSphere DirectPath devices to a virtual machine. The devices must be reserved for PCI passthrough on the host on which the virtual machine runs. Snapshots are not supported with DirectPath I/O passthrough devices.

Pointing device

Mirrors the pointing device that is connected to the virtual machine console when you first connect to the console.

Serial Port

Interface for connecting peripherals to the virtual machine. The virtual serial port can connect to a physical serial port, to a file on the host computer, or over the network. You can also use it to establish a direct connection between two virtual machines or a connection between a virtual machine and an application on the host computer. A virtual machine can use up to four virtual serial ports. You can add, remove, or configure virtual serial ports.

SATA controller

Provides access to virtual disks and DVD/CD-ROM devices. The SATA virtual controller appears to a virtual machine as an AHCI SATA Controller.

SCSI controller

Provides access to virtual disks. The SCSI virtual controller appears to a virtual machine as different types of controllers, including LSI Logic Parallel, LSI Logic SAS, and VMware Paravirtual. You can change the SCSI controller type, allocate bus sharing for a virtual machine, or add a paravirtualized SCSI controller.

SCSI device

By default, a SCSI device interface is available to the virtual machine. The SCSI interface is a typical way to connect storage devices (floppy drives, hard drives, and DVD/CD-ROMs) to a virtual machine. You can add, remove, or configure SCSI devices.

SIO controller

Provides serial and parallel ports, floppy devices, and performs system management activities. One SIO controller is available to the virtual machine. You cannot configure or remove this device.

USB controller

The USB hardware chip that provides USB function to the USB ports that it manages. The virtual USB Controller is the software virtualization of the USB host controller function in the virtual machine.

USB device

You can add multiple USB devices, such as security dongles and mass storage devices, to a virtual machine. The USB devices can be connected to an ESXi host or a client computer.

VMCI

Virtual Machine Communication Interface device. Provides a high-speed communication channel between a virtual machine and the hypervisor. You cannot add or remove VMCI devices.