You can connect clients directly to your ESXi network instead of using vCenter Server.

Networks configured without vCenter Server receive communications through the vSphere Client, one of the vSphere command-line interfaces, the vSphere Web Services SDK, or third-party clients. For the most part, the firewall needs are the same as when a vCenter Server is present, but several key differences exist.

  • As you would for configurations that include vCenter Server, be sure a firewall is present to protect your ESXi layer or, depending on your configuration, your clients and ESXi layer. This firewall provides basic protection for your network.

  • Licensing in this type of configuration is part of the ESXi package that you install on each of the hosts. Because licensing is resident to the server, a separate license server is not required. This eliminates the need for a firewall between the license server and the ESXi network.

You can configure firewall ports using ESXCLI, using the vSphere Client, or using firewall rules. See ESXi Firewall Configuration.