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Read 8 KVM reviews.
65,581 views|59,169 comparisons
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38,047 views|30,484 comparisons
Comparison Summary
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
Find out what your peers are saying about KVM vs. VMware vSphere and other solutions. Updated: January 2022.
563,148 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.""Very cost-effective.""This solution is open source and easy to configure.""KVM is stable.""If you prefer command-line, there are all kinds of command-line options.""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.""Good screen and keyboard sharing feature."

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"The interface is good.""The GUI is very simple to use.""The initial setup is very simple.""The free ESXi hypervisor was a great way to get started, as it allowed us to introduce virtual machines so that users could start to experience the advantages.""The enterprise direction is very complete and the data center provides almost everything you need.""Overall, it is a pretty good solution. We do not have to worry about upgrading the versions that people use for our in-house software. We just create ThinApps, and as soon as they log in, they always get the upgraded version. This part really works well for us.""I like the capability of vMotion, DRS, high availability, and resource distribution.""VMware vSphere has very good applications and services."

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"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.""Its resource usage can be improved.""There are some issues with the graphics and some software that is very complex.""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.""Business continuity features need to be added.""Monitoring and resolution could be improved.""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."

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"The support is good, but it's slow.""I would like to see VDP and other features included to back up the VMs in a native manner.""Higher cost than other similar solutions.""The installation can take a long time, they need to improve on the simplicity and length of the installation.""I would like to see better fault and performance reporting in the GUI.""Its price should be better. Their support should also be more customer-friendly, and they should train people like us so that we know more about the latest technologies and features. If there is some program and drive from their side to teach us, it is definitely going to help us. Pricing and support are the most important features for mid-level companies. We are not implementing this solution for big tech companies.""It is expensive. They can improve the licensing cost for Cloud Director. They can also improve the integration with other applications and the metering feature, which is currently not flexible.""The integration with containers should be addressed."

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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."
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  • "The license of VMware is a one-time payment and you can continue to enroll in support for troubleshooting and also administer the licenses."
  • "Do not buy based on price alone. Many of my customers chose the lowest cost option only to discover that the additional funds needed to access even a few more features would have been money well spent. Likewise, if you are going to spend more money on additional features, then have a plan to actually deploy and integrate those features into your infrastructure. Many customers never take full advantage of the many features that they are paying for and that can be avoided by being proactive in developing your overall vision for the infrastructure."
  • "You will find the cost is reasonably cheaper."
  • "It is expensive in terms of cost, licensing, and professional services."
  • "VMware is costly versus other competitors but is still one of the market leaders and expanding now with partners like AWS."
  • "It is expensive."
  • "In my opinion, the essential version is a good price."
  • "The price of this solution is mid-range."
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    Answers from the Community
    Nurit Sherman
    author avatarFábio 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

    author avatarit_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.

    author avatarRedouane 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.

    author avatarit_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.

    author avatarit_user592461 (IT Architect at a tech company with 10,001+ employees)

    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, https://community.spiceworks.com/virtualization/articles/2768-server-virtualization-is-a-free-hypervisor-good-enough-or-should-you-pay

    Hope that helps.

    author avatarAllan 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.

    author avatarMichael Tang

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

    author avatarit_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: 
    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 (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 Firm25%
    Energy/Utilities Company25%
    Financial Services Firm13%
    Computer Software Company13%
    Comms Service Provider38%
    Computer Software Company23%
    Educational Organization4%
    Financial Services Firm14%
    Energy/Utilities Company11%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    Comms Service Provider29%
    Computer Software Company24%
    Financial Services Firm4%
    Company Size
    Small Business57%
    Midsize Enterprise13%
    Large Enterprise30%
    Small Business29%
    Midsize Enterprise26%
    Large Enterprise45%
    Small Business33%
    Midsize Enterprise22%
    Large Enterprise46%
    Find out what your peers are saying about KVM vs. VMware vSphere and other solutions. Updated: January 2022.
    563,148 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    KVM is ranked 3rd in Server Virtualization Software with 8 reviews while VMware vSphere is ranked 1st in Server Virtualization Software with 119 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, Hyper-V, Proxmox VE, Oracle VM and RHEV, whereas VMware vSphere is most compared with Hyper-V, VMware Workstation, Proxmox VE, Nutanix Acropolis AOS and Oracle VM. 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.