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KVM vs VMware vSphere comparison

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Read 9 KVM reviews.
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Q&A Highlights
Question: What is the biggest difference between KVM and vSphere?
Answer: KVM can take full advantage of the operating system where it is hosted.
Featured Review
Buyer's Guide
KVM vs. VMware vSphere
May 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about KVM vs. VMware vSphere and other solutions. Updated: May 2022.
608,010 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
"The GUI interface makes the management of KVM easier than ever before.""It is easy to use, stable, and flexible. It is a pretty mature product, and it is faster than VirtualBox.""KVM is stable.""If you prefer command-line, there are all kinds of command-line options.""I have found KVM to be scalable.""Good screen and keyboard sharing feature.""Very cost-effective.""This solution is open source and easy to configure."

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"The performance of VMware vSphere is good.""We could easily move workloads from on-premises to the cloud and vice versa if we were running on-premises and cloud, which is one of the most important points in the new releases, in particular.""It is a very stable solution. It performs well for our requirements. It has been running for a long time, so we are very knowledgeable about this solution. It is a very well-supported solution, and it is very flexible. The expansion of its functionality is dynamic.""Server Virtualization is the most important feature because that helps me to utilize 100% capacity of my physical server or box. Its redundancy, uptime, or high-availability is also valuable. Storage-sharing is also valuable. In vSAN, I can utilize the maximum storage. In the physical boxes, if you don't require storage, it lies idle, but with VMware or any kind of virtualization, you can utilize the full storage.""VMware vSphere helps us in not wasting resources like we did when we were using physical servers. It changed our whole environment.""An easy way of providing near-zero downtime services, the operation of the instances between clustered services, and providing the projected SLA for our customers.""I like that it's like a distributed rescheduler. You can move to and use VMotion as well. You can move the server and move the virtual machines around different physical servers. This makes it easier when it comes to redundancy.""The solution can scale well."

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"In our setup, we do not have any dashboards or orchestration, and it is hard to manage. We have 25 gig network cards, but the software driver we have only supported 10 gigs.""Lacks high availability across clusters as well as support for Apache CloudStack.""Business continuity features need to be added.""One thing that maybe could be improved is making it easier to scale. It needs to be more clear on how to scale the storage space for virtual machines.""Monitoring and resolution could be improved.""Technical support could be better. In the next release, I would like to see an improved user interface and dashboard. This type of improvement will make it easy or help our engineers understand the solution from a requirement point of view.""Its resource usage can be improved.""I have previously used VMware and KVM is easier to use. However, they both have their strengths depending on their use cases. They are mostly equal. One of VMware's advantages is it has better support."

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"There are some limitations with the solution regarding migrating.""I would like to see improvements in simplifying automation, cloud native deployment, administration, and fault resolution.""The web user interface can be a bit clunky from time to time, so there may be some room for improvement in that regard.""It would be great if VMware could have a consolidated way of delivering this as software rather than pieces and several add-ons so that you could enjoy the product in its entirety.""The way that vSphere manages the alerts on the data machine is not easy to configure.""It could be more composable. At present, a fluid pool is not available to us. It would be great to have the flexibility.""Higher cost than other similar solutions.""I would like to see VDP and other features included to back up the VMs in a native manner."

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Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "It is free for everyone."
  • "The price is fair compared to others. But in our local market, it's a problem to get budget approval from management. That's why they are trying to get those products so we can give them the price benefit. But if you consider the international market or other products, it's sometimes better than their price."
  • "We had some problems with the licensing."
  • "KVM is priced reasonably."
  • More KVM Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "It is expensive in terms of cost, licensing, and professional services."
  • "It is expensive."
  • "In my opinion, the essential version is a good price."
  • "The price of this solution is mid-range."
  • "I think it's a fair price. We are using it on the production side, and everything is good from our experience. That's why I would say that the cost isn't too high. However, it would always be nice if it was cheaper."
  • "Pricing is a little bit on the higher side, compared to other products."
  • "Container support is the last great addition for VMware and it is worth the money you spend on it."
  • "The license growth of vSphere depends on the growth of the visual environment and the addition of more hosts."
  • More VMware vSphere Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Answers from the Community
    Nurit Sherman
    Fábio Rabelo - PeerSpot reviewerFábio Rabelo
    Real User

    I have read a lot of valid arguments, and, unfortunately a lot of flawed arguments too .
    What I will write here is based on my personal experience , I run a half dozen Enterprise level vitualized environments :
    For the perspective of most of my customers, the main difference are the ability to audit the code of KVM ( witch are Open Source ) and a lack of it in VMWare .
    VMWare is a black box, no one knows what happens inside of it, what are done with the VMs that are running over it .
    Insted of it, with KVM, you know exactly what is happening . You know that KVM are not sending sensitive information about your VMs, or statistics about your environment to the vendor .
    In second place comes the TCO :
    KVM are not completely "free", you need some tools to manage it, but it is WAY cheaper compared to VMWare .
    Lot of vendors says that "VMWare runs the world" , really ?
    Amazon runs over XEN, Google and Facebook runs over KVM, and Microsoft runs over Hiper-V, sum all 4 and you will have more than a half of the big players on earth, so, from where comes that statement ?!?
    About performance, nowadays there are no big difference between all the systems, technology blurred the lines between Type 1 and Type 2 Virtualization approaches .
    Open source management systems ( Like Proxmox used by Facebook ) leveled the line between Commercial and non-commercial tools .
    Yes, there are some scenarios that VMWare makes sense, buts the decision on witch are better for a particular user case goes down to the details .
    Think about that before spend your budget of 2 or 3 years in one tool .

    Fábio Rabelo

    it_user333387 - PeerSpot reviewerit_user333387 (Pre-Sales Engineer at a tech services company)
    Real User

    I'd say the main difference that sticks out like a sore thump is the KVM is Opens source and VMware vSphere isn't. VMware is indeed the Rolls Royce of virtualization but doesn't come cheap. One has to have deeper pockets to access the finer enhanced features of the vSphere packages. KVM on the other, is also a stable Hypervisor and very popular with Linux inclined techs and gurus. Personally i'd encourage one to take the VMware vSphere route because of the solid global support of the product, the additional virtualization feature rich set offerings like vSAN & NSX and ease of use from the onset.

    Redouane Bouzeghoub - PeerSpot reviewerRedouane Bouzeghoub
    Real User

    KVM is Hypervisor and vSphere is platform but Ovirt is platform with KVM.
    The big difference it's cost but vMware is leader on Virtualization.

    it_user82146 - PeerSpot reviewerit_user82146 (Engineer at a construction company)
    Real User

    KVM is a simple and OpenStack-preferred virtual machine manager. vSphere is a different beast altogether, as it is expensive and ridden with lots of add-ons for VM infrastructure provisioning.

    One answer to your question will be a company that can afford and wants to have a stable and long-term VM infrastructure can consider VMWare, as KVM is considered as a bare-bone VM manager.

    The actual comparison should be between VMWare and OpenStack, as one is paid and one is free to deploy. The deployment for OpenStack can be a little trial and error as it is free and modular, and VMWare is fully-packaged, and it is easier for you to deploy, but at a cost that is calculated by per host.

    it_user592461 - PeerSpot reviewerit_user592461 (IT Architect at a tech company with 10,001+ employees)
    Real User

    Service Virtualization has nothing to do with KVM and vSphere. KVM and vSphere are tools/environments to virtualize systems/servers, not services.

    Service Virtualization is used to virtualize a Web service or a Message-based service. KVM and vSphere are used to virtualize Linux or Windows systems.

    So, I assume you got confused by the very similar name of both. If I misunderstood the questions, please let me know. I am happy to help.

    BTW, you can run Service Virtualization on virtualized Linux and Windows boxes.

    There are many of comparisons of KVM and vSphere on the internet, see, for instance,

    Hope that helps.

    Allan Trambouze - PeerSpot reviewerAllan Trambouze

    KVM Doesn't have any Dynamic ressource allocation like VMware (DRS). support is not the same you can have a community support or you can get Redhat RHV for entreprise paying support. With VMware vsphere you will get one yo three years support with your purchase.
    Don't forget to look to other alternative like acropolis from Nutanix, XEN, RHV and Hyper-V also. Define your need and chose the product that will fit best your need. Don't forget there is also a free version of VMware esxi with no central management available.
    Personnaly for a single host i ll go to free ESXi or Hyper-V if my company is using windows. For linux i ll go to acropolis or ESXi.
    If i want to do some openstack i ll go with KVM or ESXi with Vmware integrated openstack.
    For a small datacenter or big VMware offer a lot of features and hyper-v a little less. If you have a lot of windows licence Hyper-v will be cheaper than vmware. VMware is robust and can be scale up and out easily.

    Michael Tang - PeerSpot reviewerMichael Tang

    Vmware has more integration with other 3rd party product than KVM. Backup software for instance.

    it_user162369 - PeerSpot reviewerit_user162369 (User)

    KVM and Vsphere are Type 1 hypervisor meaning they run directly on the system hardware
    KVM (or Kernel-Based Virtual Machine) is a Linux-based type-1 hypervisor that runs on most Linux operating systems including Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:I would prefer if KVM was easier to scale and not so limited. Overall the product has been helpful. It is easy to use, and was quite straight-forward to set up. Since I have been using KVM, I have not… more »
    Top Answer:KVM is easy to use, stable and flexible. It is mature and very fast. It is an affordable open-source solution that is easy to set up and manage. It offers very good security. It has a virtual manager… more »
    Top Answer:KVM is better. But let's just look at the software instead of judging. Hyper-V was a free solution from Microsoft to virtualize Server or Client OS as it is a feature on Windows Server since 2008… more »
    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 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 »
    Top Answer:For me the biggest impact is the cost of licensing in the case of VMware despite its overall intuitiveness and ease of handling and management. However, KVM-based Open Source solutions are becoming… more »
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    KVM (for Kernel-based Virtual Machine) is a full virtualization solution for Linux on x86 hardware containing virtualization extensions (Intel VT or AMD-V). It consists of a loadable kernel module, kvm.ko, that provides the core virtualization infrastructure and a processor specific module, kvm-intel.ko or kvm-amd.ko.

    VMware vSphere is the leading server virtualization platform with consistent management for virtual data centers.

    Deliver business value from day one with powerful server virtualization, breakthrough availability, safe automated management and intelligent operational insight that adapts to your environment. Automate workload placement and resource optimization based on preset customizable templates.

    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
    Aerospace/Defense Firm22%
    Computer Software Company22%
    Energy/Utilities Company22%
    Financial Services Firm11%
    Comms Service Provider36%
    Computer Software Company21%
    Educational Organization5%
    Financial Services Firm14%
    Energy/Utilities Company10%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    Comms Service Provider26%
    Computer Software Company22%
    Financial Services Firm5%
    Company Size
    Small Business56%
    Midsize Enterprise12%
    Large Enterprise32%
    Small Business22%
    Midsize Enterprise22%
    Large Enterprise57%
    Small Business31%
    Midsize Enterprise25%
    Large Enterprise45%
    Small Business21%
    Midsize Enterprise19%
    Large Enterprise60%
    Buyer's Guide
    KVM vs. VMware vSphere
    May 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about KVM vs. VMware vSphere and other solutions. Updated: May 2022.
    608,010 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    KVM is ranked 4th in Server Virtualization Software with 9 reviews while VMware vSphere is ranked 1st in Server Virtualization Software with 134 reviews. KVM is rated 7.4, while VMware vSphere is rated 8.8. The top reviewer of KVM writes "Stable, easy to set up, and very easy to use". On the other hand, the top reviewer of VMware vSphere writes "An easy way of providing near-zero downtime services". KVM is most compared with Oracle VM VirtualBox, Proxmox VE, Hyper-V, Oracle VM and VMware Workstation, whereas VMware vSphere is most compared with Hyper-V, Proxmox VE, VMware Workstation, Nutanix AHV and Nutanix Acropolis AOS. 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.