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Read 10 KVM reviews
54,020 views|44,447 comparisons
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45,144 views|36,070 comparisons
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 2022).
655,113 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:
Pros
"This solution is open source and easy to configure.""Very cost-effective.""KVM is stable.""It is easy to use, stable, and flexible. It is a pretty mature product, and it is faster than VirtualBox.""Good screen and keyboard sharing feature.""I like that it's easy to manage. It's also more powerful when it comes to security than others. That point of view is the one consideration. The other consideration is that it's cost-effective.""The GUI interface makes the management of KVM easier than ever before.""If you prefer command-line, there are all kinds of command-line options."

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"I like the capability of vMotion, DRS, high availability, and resource distribution.""It affords us different views of the VMs created by vSphere so we can control them better.""Technical support is quite good and very responsive.""I think that the solution is perfect. It's the best on the market.""It is the number one virtualization-layer platform available, and a lot of people trust it.""VMware vSphere has plenty of features.""It is very stable and scalable, and implementation is straightforward as well.""The solution is stable."

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Cons
"Business continuity features need to be added.""Lacks high availability across clusters as well as support for Apache CloudStack.""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.""Monitoring and resolution could be improved.""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.""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.""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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"The installation is complex and you need to have a good understanding in regards to what you are doing when you are setting it up.""VMware vSphere needs to increase the datastore volume.""We would like to see the container-based operating system launched soon for this solution.""Both the price and the licensing fee are expensive, especially for our clients with a smaller workload.""The solution is stable. However, it could improve by being more secure.""I would like to see more support regarding containers, and they need more features for them.""The support for VMware vSphere can be fast or it can be slow. Recently it has been slow, they need to decrease the wait time and quality of their support.""The biggest problem in this solution is the incompatibility of some of the features with some of the drivers installed on servers. For example, if I want to install vSphere on an HPE server, the driver is really different from a Dell server or a Fujitsu server. I need to download different drivers and install them manually, which can be improved by VMware. They can offer a special image to match different servers. We face different problems when we install vSphere on an ESXi server and have different drivers on the storage. ESXi cannot detect different kinds of storage, and they should improve this. We updated our existing version to vSphere 7 in a private environment, but it seems that this version is not very stable. We are facing issues with restarting the host. In earlier versions, such as vSphere 6 or 6.5, we didn't have any such problems. It would be good if VMware can offer specific applications for mobiles to enable us to control the management of all servers by mobile. They should also improve the vCenter GUI because it is currently not compatible, and there are a lot of problems. Some of the options do not appear well in the browser. VMware should spend more time resolving the problems in the GUI."

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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."
  • "There is no cost involved in the use of KVM, as it is open source."
  • More KVM Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The license growth of vSphere depends on the growth of the visual environment and the addition of more hosts."
  • "This is an expensive product, especially because we need to pay in US Dollars."
  • "It is expensive."
  • "The price could be lower."
  • "The pricing is reasonable and you are able to purchases licencing for certain time frame intervals, monthly, yearly etc."
  • "I don't like the price because it's too expensive."
  • "The licensing cost is strictly based on the number of CPUs that your hosts have."
  • "This is quite an expensive product, although everything is included in the standard licensing fee."
  • More VMware vSphere Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    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 »
    Ranking
    Views
    54,020
    Comparisons
    44,447
    Reviews
    10
    Average Words per Review
    441
    Rating
    7.5
    Views
    45,144
    Comparisons
    36,070
    Reviews
    115
    Average Words per Review
    413
    Rating
    8.9
    Comparisons
    Learn More
    KVM
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    Overview

    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.”

    Offer
    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
    REVIEWERS
    Aerospace/Defense Firm22%
    Computer Software Company22%
    Energy/Utilities Company22%
    Financial Services Firm11%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider26%
    Computer Software Company19%
    Government7%
    Manufacturing Company5%
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm14%
    Energy/Utilities Company10%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    Retailer6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company18%
    Comms Service Provider17%
    Government9%
    Financial Services Firm7%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business52%
    Midsize Enterprise11%
    Large Enterprise37%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business24%
    Midsize Enterprise19%
    Large Enterprise57%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business31%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise45%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business22%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise61%
    Buyer's Guide
    KVM vs. VMware vSphere
    November 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about KVM vs. VMware vSphere and other solutions. Updated: November 2022.
    655,113 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    KVM is ranked 4th in Server Virtualization Software with 10 reviews while VMware vSphere is ranked 1st in Server Virtualization Software with 119 reviews. KVM is rated 7.6, 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, Hyper-V, VMware Workstation and Nutanix AHV Virtualization, whereas VMware vSphere is most compared with Hyper-V, Proxmox VE, VMware Workstation, Nutanix AHV Virtualization and RHEV. 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.