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Read 12 KVM reviews
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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on Aug 28, 2022

We performed a comparison between KVM and VMware VSphere based on our users’ reviews in five categories. After reading all of the collected data, you can find our conclusion below.

  • Ease of Deployment: Users of both solutions report that their initial setup and deployment is straightforward and fast.

  • Features: KVM reviewers say it offers many CLI options, is easy to configure, and that they like its user-interface, but that it can be difficult to scale.

    VMware VSphere users say it is stable, scalable, helps them save resources, and provides them with good visibility into their VMs. A few VMware VSphere users mention that the solution should improve its user interface.

  • Pricing: KVM is open-source and free of charge. Most VMware VSphere reviewers feel it is an expensive product.
  • ROI: KVM users do not mention ROI. VMware VSphere reviewers report a significant ROI.

  • Service and Support: KVM is an open-source product and does not offer customer support. Most VMware VSphere users report being satisfied with the level of the support they receive.

Comparison Results: VMware VSphere is the winner in this comparison. It is a powerful solution with good customer support and a proven ROI. It is, however, more expensive.

To learn more, read our detailed KVM vs. VMware vSphere Report (Updated: November 2023).
745,341 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
"The product is really good...One can get good performance because of kernel-based virtualization.""It offers a high-availability environment.""It is an easily scalable solution.""The product's scalability is good...It's a very stable product.""The most helpful aspect of KVM is the fact that the interface is so minimal. It includes just what you need to set up the VMs and manage them, and it's very simple to do so.""The initial setup was very easy.""There is a strong emphasis on availability, and they have numerous API interfaces for distributed storage and the solution is quite known for its openness.""The key aspect is that the KVM directly interacts with the Kronos. There's no clear indication of indirect communication with Kronos. It is not linked to Kronos, and interaction is straightforward without any intermediaries."

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"There are no issues with the level of scalability you can achieve.""Has many good features, and is stable and reliable.""The fact that you can use all the CPU and memory power that the server can provide is most valuable. In a physical server, you might end up not using all the physical resources. There are a lot of benefits, such as flexibility and mobility, in virtualizing computes.""It is the number one virtualization-layer platform available, and a lot of people trust it.""The technical support is good and they are available over the internet.""It is a very dependable solution. Its performance is very good, and it is also easy to manage and implement.""It's easy to use and very user-friendly.""This solution is very stable. It's scalable and simple to set up."

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"We are not getting good support from KVM, and it is not that user-friendly.""One problem I have is that it's not very scalable when it comes to resizing the VM disk dimensions. For example, if you have initially set a virtual drive to 10 GB and you want to upgrade it to 15 GB, it's not that easy.""I believe KVM offers a unified answer, while ProxMark addresses orchestration. KVM lacks orchestration. If the aim is to centrally oversee multiple KVMs – let's say to freeze them – a centralized management solution is absent.""The networking with wireless devices needs improvement.""We still occasionally build Interlaced Wireless Protection within our environment. The ecosystem entails areas, where we support agents, and release backup and security solutions. Collaboration with independent software vendors (ITOLs or ITOLED) is necessary to offer these solutions to customers. However, the scope of the ecosystem in KVM is not as extensive as that of VMware's. In contrast, VMware boasts a robust partner network, allowing for comprehensive customer solutions. On the other hand, KVM’s ecosystem is comparatively limited in comparison. I would like to see FT features in KVM.""In KVM, snapshots and cloning are areas where there could be a little more sophistication, like VMware.""The speed is around thirty percent slower than another competitor. This would be something to work on.""The main drawback in the solution is probably disaster recovery."

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"They can lower the price of its license.""Archiving, exporting, and backing up need to be improved for this solution, because they're slower than expected.""There are some limitations with the solution regarding migrating.""The VMware vSphere app is faster, compared to its web-based client. The web-based client is very slow, freezes, and is challenging to use.""When we talk about the overall private cloud stack, I would prefer for it be a lot more seamless.""In terms of what could be improved, we do face some bugs when cloning the virtual machine - it fails sometimes.""To manage it properly, you have to know this product really well.""There is room for improvement in Google Cloud. The reason thing there was, like, when I type something in the terminal and then immediately, I need to go to edit the certain like file for Node.js, for the server, or for Kubernetes. So I have to do it from the terminal to the editor."

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Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "KVM is priced reasonably."
  • "There is no cost involved in the use of KVM, as it is open source."
  • "KVM is free."
  • "KVM is an open-source product that works well for us."
  • "I have no information on the cost of KVM because I downloaded it for the lab and not for production. It's free, but I don't know if that's the case for people using it in a production environment."
  • "One only needs a subscription to Oracle Linux. So, it's cheaper with Oracle Linux's subscription. It is not very expensive. In short, the solution is open source, and you need only a subscription."
  • "The solution is extremely cheap in China."
  • More KVM Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "You get what you pay for."
  • "It is a perpetual licensing but there is also an annual maintenance cost."
  • "VMware is expensive, from the baseline, initial investment. It depends, though, because if someone goes for ESXi—the latest version, ESXi Essential, or even the opensource—then it is not available in Microsoft. ESXi opensource is totally free, and the only features that aren't available are some API features. But if someone has a small office with less than 50 users, and they just need to run the hypervisor, then VMware is a free solution for that. If someone is considering the price and comparing Business ESXi with Hyper-V, if they already have an existing Windows license, then I would suggest going for Hyper-V because it's much cheaper. Aside from that, I would recommend going for VMware."
  • "We pay for the solution on an annual basis. There are no additional fees other than the standard license."
  • "Licensing fees are not paid yearly, or monthly."
  • "Pricing can still be improved for this solution."
  • "Its licensing is typically yearly. From a value standpoint, it's worth it."
  • "The cost of the licenses is acceptable and we haven't seen any major increases from the vendor in the time we've been using it."
  • More VMware vSphere Pricing and Cost Advice →

    Use our free recommendation engine to learn which Server Virtualization Software solutions are best for your needs.
    745,341 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:KVM scales better, orchestration better, performs better and supports a wider range of hardware and, also, you can implement at ZERO cost and with a very powerful web interface for management, from… more »
    Top Answer:Small support team, small cluster, low core count, use VMware products Large support team, large clusters with many cores, use KVM KVM scales better, orchestration better, performs better and… more »
    Top Answer:Far from being an expert, my opinion is that the positive sides of KVM are: Lower costs and open-source which gives the abilities to customize it according to the specific needs of each customer.
    Top Answer:DEEPEN DHULLA did explain well IOMMU. IOMMU has to be activated at the bios level. It exists on Intel and AMD platforms. It is used a lot inside virtualization platforms like VMware VSphere. It… more »
    Top Answer:We use VMware and KVM. We find that KVM is a lot simpler to use and it provides the virtualization we need for Linux and Windows. For us, VMware does not offer any advantage. Moreover, KVM is free.
    Top Answer:We found the reduced power consumption with Nutanix Acropolis AOS a very attractive feature. We also like the interface that allows you to talk directly to your VM from the present software. We found… more »
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    KVM stands for Kernel-based Virtual Machine, which is an open-source virtualization technology that is embedded in Linux. KVM allows users to seamlessly transform their Linux system into a hypervisor that, in turn, will enable a host machine to run numerous, isolated virtual environments or virtual machines (VMs).

    KVM is part of Linux. Users with Linux 2.6.20 or newer already have KVM. As KVM is already a component of the current Linux code, it automatically improves with every new Linux fix, feature, or upgrade. So KVM users are always current and up to date.

    KVM automatically transforms Linux to a type -1 (bare-metal) hypervisor. All hypervisors need operating system components, such as a process scheduler, I/O stack, device drivers, memory manager, and more, to run a VM. KVM already has these components embedded, as it is part of the Linux kernel. Each VM is generated as a basic Linux proces,s which is maintained by the standard Linux scheduler, with dedicated hardware such as a graphics adapter, memory, disks, network card, and CPUs.

    KVM Key Features:

    KVM has many valuable key features. Some of its most useful features include:

    • Storage: KVM has the ability to use any storage protocol supported by Linux, including network-attached storage (NAS) and some local disks. Multipath I/O can be utilized to provide redundancy and improve storage. Disk images use thin provisioning, ensuring storage is used on demand. KVM is also able to use shared file systems, enabling VM images to be shared on multiple hosts.
    • Hardware: KVM is able to use a vast number of Linux-certified supported hardware platforms. As hardware vendors routinely contribute to kernel improvement, the most up-to-date hardware features are generally quickly added to the Linux kernel.
    • Memory: KVM effectively utilizes the memory management features of Linux, such as kernel same-page emerging and non-uniform memory access. The memory of a VM can easily be switched, supported by large volumes for improved performance, then backed by a disk file or shared.
    • Migration: KVM actively supports live migration so users have the ability to move any running VM between physical hosts with no downtime.
    • Security: KVM uses a blend of secure virtualization (SVirt) and security-enhanced Linux (SELinux) for improved VM security and isolation. SELinux determines security boundaries surrounding VMs. sVirt expands SELinux’s processes, permitting Mandatory Access Control (MAC) security to be used for guest VMs and preventing any manual labeling issues.

    Reviews from Real Users

    “The most helpful aspect of KVM is the fact that the interface is so minimal. It includes just what you need to set up the VMs and manage them, and it's very simple to do so. KVM, as a native virtualization solution, is a complete and fully adequate system for small businesses that need to reduce costs, and also to make maintenance easier. “ - Georges E., Business Engineer and Consultant at All-Tech

    “The most valuable feature of KVM is the hypervisor environment and how we can configure it with ease. Additionally, the interface is intuitive.” Sonu S., Senior Solution Architect at Micro Focus

    VMware vSphere is a powerful and complete server virtualization platform that allows its users to create and manage virtual data centers and machines. VMware vSphere is designed to help IT departments set up and run applications using the most cost-effective computer resources. By using vSphere, organizations save the time and energy necessary for purchasing infrastructure and software and reduce ongoing maintenance and operational burdens on IT teams.

    Infrastructure administrators and network operators can access and manage the vSphere server by using a web-based cross-platform client application or via the vSphere client tool provided with vSphere. 

    VMware vSphere provides visibility into VMs and enables its users to carry out operations to manage VMs. This includes tasks such as:

    • Powering VMs on and off
    • Launching the VM console
    • Shutting down guest operating systems
    • Settings configurations
    • Taking system snapshots

    VMware vSphere Benefits

    Some of the benefits of using VMware vSphere include: 

    • Reduced costs: Since VMware applications are run on a server, it is not necessary to spend large amounts of your organization’s money on hardware, software, and infrastructure.
    • Increased productivity and customer satisfaction: VMware is able to operate multiple complex processes simultaneously. With all your applications being managed and run on the cloud, downtime, failures, and application errors are rare. VMware easily scales up and down to meet your computing needs. The high availability that VMware provides allows your IT staff to focus on other issues and keeps your customers satisfied with the service they receive.
    • Unlimited access to your VMs: VMware’s user-friendly cloud-based interface allows any employee to work from any location at any time.
    • Enhanced security: VMware’s security tools deliver full visibility into your entire system. This keeps your applications and data more secure, in any type of environment. VMware provides multiple protective tools including antiviruses and anti-malware, as well as backup and recovery services.

    VMware vSphere Features

    Below is a list of some of VMware vSphere’s key features:

    • Transferable virtual machine images: Export and import virtual machine images from your local environment. This gives users the ability to set up and configure their systems locally and only upload them to the server once everything is working properly. VM images can be moved back and forth between vendors, ensuring that your company is never tied up to a specific cloud vendor.
    • User-friendly interface: Using VMware’s intuitive console, you can easily create, manage, share, and deploy virtual machines.
    • API integration: VMware’s APIs support integration with third-party applications for data protection, multipathing, and disk array solutions.
    • Distributed power management: Automate efficiency by continuously optimizing server power consumption within each cluster.

    Reviews from Real Users

    VMware vSphere stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. A few major ones are its virtualization abilities, its flexibility and availability, and its user-friendly interface.

    Felix D., an Automation project administrator, DCS, I&E at Centennial Cayman Corp, writes, “The connectivity is fantastic, and many functions can run together in one server. If you need to scale, we can continue to add components or modules. It's a beautiful virtual solution that has many advantages over physical hardware, where you have to use devices and wiring to connect all your projects.”

    Learn more about KVM
    Learn more about VMware vSphere
    Sample Customers
    MediaWiki, Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia, Wikivoyage, Wikidata, Wikiversity, Commons
    Abu Dhabi Ports Company, ACS, AIA New Zealand, Consona, Corporate Express, CS Energy, and Digiweb.
    Top Industries
    Computer Software Company21%
    Aerospace/Defense Firm14%
    Manufacturing Company14%
    Energy/Utilities Company14%
    Computer Software Company16%
    Comms Service Provider11%
    Financial Services Firm8%
    Financial Services Firm13%
    Energy/Utilities Company10%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    Educational Organization26%
    Computer Software Company11%
    Financial Services Firm7%
    Company Size
    Small Business51%
    Midsize Enterprise11%
    Large Enterprise38%
    Small Business26%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise57%
    Small Business30%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise46%
    Small Business20%
    Midsize Enterprise34%
    Large Enterprise46%
    Buyer's Guide
    KVM vs. VMware vSphere
    November 2023
    Find out what your peers are saying about KVM vs. VMware vSphere and other solutions. Updated: November 2023.
    745,341 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    KVM is ranked 4th in Server Virtualization Software with 12 reviews while VMware vSphere is ranked 2nd in Server Virtualization Software with 40 reviews. KVM is rated 8.4, while VMware vSphere is rated 8.8. The top reviewer of KVM writes "Reduces OpEx and is easy to maintain, along with low memory usage and a minimal interface". On the other hand, the top reviewer of VMware vSphere writes "Strong performance, works well with large infrastructures but it is quite expensive". KVM is most compared with Proxmox VE, Oracle VM VirtualBox, VMware Workstation, Hyper-V and Nutanix AHV Virtualization, whereas VMware vSphere is most compared with Hyper-V, Proxmox VE, VMware Workstation, Oracle VM and Nutanix AHV Virtualization. See our KVM vs. VMware vSphere report.

    See our list of best Server Virtualization Software vendors.

    We monitor all Server Virtualization Software reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.