How big is a 32MB hypervisor?

Obviously, the size that’s important is the memory footprint of the virtualization software when it’s running.

Apparently, 32MB is 415MB in size, based on the attached screenshot from VMware ESXi 3.5.  This is a 4GB Dell 2950 — one of the two models on which ESXi Installable is, er, installable.  While there is one virtual machine created, it’s powered off.

And, as you see, it’s consuming 415MB.  Which is approximately 13 times 32MB.

Must be the New VMath™.

EDIT: It’s been pointed out that in the last few weeks, VMware has been explicit about changing the ambiguously-worded “footprint” to “disk footprint.”  This moves the discussion from the realm of the interesting-but-inaccurate (a tiny memory footprint might indeed have some advantages) to the level of a stunt, and an uninteresting one at that (I have a t-shirt with more than 32MB of memory — the cost difference between the 32MB USB keys used for trade-show giveaways and the 1GB USB keys used for real distributions of XenServer Embedded and ESXi is of negligible impact to any real server platform).  So, oops, and, so what.