Sunday, February 10, 2013

Using the VMware Hardware Compatibility List (HCL)!!

With each project kick-off or a knowledge transfer session, I emphasize on the importance of VMware Hardware Compatibility List as being the bible for making procurement and implementation decisions for any  piece of hardware for your VMware environment.

The Hardware Compatibility List, more popularly known as VMware HCL within VMware, is a single point of reference for you to ensure that any hardware which you are planning to use with your VMware software has been tested and certified to work fine. I have seen the HCL evolved tremendously over the past few years and now it has become a robust and a reliable tool to provide information which you would need before taking your procurement decisions.

The HCL is a very famous and popular tool amongst those who are a part of VMware community, but I thought it would be a good idea to blog about it and make this easy reference document which tells you how to use this tool effectively and quickly to find out any information which you need about hardware compatibility. The other reason is to ensure the the NEWBIES in the VMware community learn about this strong yet simple tool to make their life easier.

All right, let's begin with how to get to the VMware Hardware Compatibility List:-

Accessing VMware Hardware Compatibility List

2- Hover your mouse pointer on Support & Downloads & Click on Compatibility Guides

3- On the new page which appears click on View the VMware certified Compatibility Guides.

Once you are the Hardware Compatibility Search screen, you have 2 options from hereon, either you can use the Standard Search of click on a hyperlink which takes you to the Guided Search. See the screenshot below:-

Let us look at the Standard Search and then will have a quick look at the Guided Search.

Standard Search

The most important drop-down here is to select the type of Harware for which you are seeking compatibility. Click on the drop down next to the "What are you looking for" to see all the available options:-

I will take some time to explain the important one's:-

1-  Systems / Servers - As the name suggests, helps you find the compatible servers with all the releases of ESXi hypervisor. These servers can be Rack Mounter, Blade, Tower or from any Vendor such as HP, Dell, Cisco, IBM etc. There are multiple options under this search type for you to narrow down your search to your choice of server hardware. You can further drill down to stuff like the desirable BIOS version on a server to run a particular version of ESXi and much more.

2- Storage/SAN - Another important search criteria which helps you select the storage model and make and find compatibility for the same against a ESXi platform of your choice. This not only allows to check simple things such as make and model, but also allows you to drill down deeper and find out about VAAI (vStorage API for Array Integration) primitives support, Path policies recommended by the storage vendor, firmware or microcode level on the Storage Processors/Controllers & more.

3- VMware View - This option explore all the hardware possibilities for End user computing product line of VMware. From thin clients to supported protocols, all can be found here in this search.

4- Guest OS / Host OS - All the versions of Guest OS and Host OS supported on VMware Products at all the layers, whether end user or enterprise.

5- Site Recovery Manager - Searching for SRM compatibility with different types of SRA available from various storage vendors is something which can be easily found here, before implementing SRM in your infrastructure.

Along with these, there are others which are important and can be used to determine whether you have the right hardware to use VMware Products and features.

Now let's look at the Guided Search option.

Guided Search

For guided search you just need to click on link shown in the screenshots above. This will launch a simple wizard with a few easy to follow steps. Here is how it looks like:-

You have to go through the options and select what you are looking for. Ultimately you will get the results about the compatibility of VMware Products on the hardware which you have or want to procure.

I would strongly recommend you get familiar with this simple tool and use it without fail to ensure that you do not end up into situations which are unsupported by VMware Support.

I will leave you with other important links which you can use to take Compatibility and Interoperability decisions for your VMware environment and ensure that you always are in compliance by using the compatible and tested hardware. Following such practices would not only provide efficiency to your environment, but also provide up-time which is important to any business today

Partner Verified & Supported Products (PVSP) -

Applications Supported in VMware vSphere

To read more about applications supported on VMware vSphere refer to my previous blog article - 

Also, to see learn about more Tips on searching the VMware HCL refer to the following link - 

Hope this helps you take the correct decisions for your VMware Infrastructure.

Share this article to help others!!


  1. The HCL is actually a good stop for someone building a whitebox ESX system. I remember we ran ESXi off a Dell laptop once during a demo :)