Proxmox VE vs VMware vSphere comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on Sep 7, 2022

We performed a comparison between Proxmox VE 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 Proxmox VE report that the deployment is easy. VMware Vsphere users share mixed opinions regarding deployment.
  • Features: Users of both products are happy with their stability and scalability.

    Proxmox VE users like that the solution is easy to use, has good performance, and has a good backup service. Users don’t like that certain processes are automatic. They also mention that moving things to the cloud can be difficult and, because it's a young solution, there are some bugs.

    VMware VSphere users say it is flexible and has good virtualization and great data recovery speed time. VMware VSphere users feel that the solution needs to be more secure, and that the monitoring and reporting could be improved.
  • Pricing: Users of Proxmox VE consider the solution affordable. The majority of VMware VSphere reviewers consider the solution to be expensive.
  • Service and Support: Most users of Proxmox VE are happy with the support, though there are a few who think it needs to be improved. VMware VSphere users are satisfied with the technical support.
  • ROI: Users of both solutions report a positive ROI.

Comparison Results: Of the two solutions, Proxmox VE comes out on top. When compared to VMware VSphere, it is easier to deploy and more affordable.

To learn more, read our detailed Proxmox VE vs. VMware vSphere Report (Updated: January 2023).
672,411 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Q&A Highlights
Question: What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Proxmox versus ESXi 6.5?
Answer: Each product has its own way of working and its own set of unique features. Its what we are looking for defines the most. We use Proxmox as it offers not only OpenSource, low cost but a simple virtualization platform with all node as master-master for management, No dedicated node or VM for management. It offers HCI Storage using Ceph SDS inbuilt using the same server hardware. It offers using old mix match servers for building clusters. It offers LXC Container technology inbuild which other VM provider does not provide in the same interface. Proxmox offers ZFS file system for DR like setup too. There are various support subscription offered by Proxmox directly. So these are some of the reasons we had gone for Proxmox in our production. VMware products are closed source solutions and it's king in this field, with always advance technologies and concept. While open-source Proxmox is more like about ease of managing cluster, security, scalability, reliability update like Linux and peace of mind for IT and management.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"It's been a stable solution.""Proxmox VE is simple to use and it is feature rich. The fact is that it performs,""The solution is extremely scalable.""There are many features included with Proxmox.""Proxmox is free, very stable, and doesn't require more resources for memory RAM. It's fine for a small data center.""The virtualization is good.""We are happy with Proxmox VE. We use it as part of a cluster.""The most valuable feature of Proxmox VE is the speed. Additionally, I can modify the solution if needed because it is open-source and the integration of any kind of API and monitoring is hassle-free."

More Proxmox VE Pros →

"It is very stable and scalable, and implementation is straightforward as well.""VMware vSphere is user friendly. It is scalable and stable.""The scalability has been good.""The solution is scalable.""Stable and secure management console for virtual environments, with a diligent technical support team.""We primarily use vRealize to troubleshoot any issues that may arise with our virtual machines, which is the main reason why we believe this solution is excellent.""This solution is very stable. It's scalable and simple to set up.""Also, the automated builds are being done through it, and we don't have to manually do it anymore. All of my AIS platforms are completely automated now with the VM suite."

More VMware vSphere Pros →

Cons
"Proxmox VE can improve by importing OVF or OVA files directly from OVA. I need to convert all the images to raw images before importing them to Proxmox VE. If there is a solution that I can import directly from VMDK, it would be better.""We find it difficult to find the root cause of the issues.""It's one of those things for me to move things on to the cloud. It's not so easy. I am always on the laptop and have to monitor that because if you want to make strides; you need to stay online.""We are using servers individually, and we are looking for a reliable application that allows us to hop between servers with high availability.""One issue with Proxmox is that some processes are not automatic. For some processes, you have to do it manually by command line.""A feature which should be added is the ability to encrypt the main installation.""It might be interesting to have the ability to integrate with other cloud solutions.""The documentation in Proxmox VE could improve."

More Proxmox VE Cons →

"The support is good, but it's slow.""The performance of the solution could be better and there could be an extra level of security.""I would like to see VDP and other features included to back up the VMs in a native manner.""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.""There should be a bit more flexibility in terms of the hardware we can use with the product.""Higher cost than other similar solutions.""I can't speak to any missing features. It has everything I need.""The biggest room for improvement would be just simplicity. It is very intuitive, but it needs somebody with a lot of IT background."

More VMware vSphere Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "It's an open-source solution that can be used free of cost."
  • "Because I'm using Proxmox VE for personal use and it's an AGPL license project, I can use it at home for free."
  • "Proxmox is free."
  • "The way the licensing of Proxmox is structured, you can use it for free. It is an open-source solution, and you can use it for free, but if you do need support, then you have to pay for the support. So, you can use it in a way that you don't have to pay anything, which is a plus point for me. For people or users who have huge and more intense use cases, the advice or the recommendation is to always pay for support. In case something goes wrong, you can fall back on the team that will attend to your request. For me, at the moment, the cost is zero."
  • "To use Proxmox VE there is not a license required. However, you can purchase a support license, which you access, but it doesn't change the functionality of the solution."
  • "Proxmox VE is affordable. It's cheaper than Hyper-V, Huawei Desktop Protocol, and Huawei Desktop Cloud."
  • "There is an annual license to use Proxmox VE and it is approximately $90. There are not any additional costs."
  • "This is a free open-source solution."
  • More Proxmox VE Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "This is quite an expensive product, although everything is included in the standard licensing fee."
  • "It could be cheaper."
  • "vSphere is expensive."
  • "Its price is quite high. VMware licensing is quite costly. You have to pay for the CPU and Threads, but if you want good service, you have to pay the price. Its cost is not more than 1 million for us."
  • "The licensing has become cheaper over time."
  • "Its price is slightly higher for India. It is a little bit expensive on a monthly basis when considering the value of the Indian rupee."
  • "The price could always be lower, but I think it's fair."
  • "This is an expensive product and the price needs to be reduced."
  • More VMware vSphere Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Answers from the Community
    Yoan Larry Cecilio
    Wilco Kasselman - PeerSpot reviewerWilco Kasselman
    User

    This is just an off the cuff quick response and not a well researched documented and referenced design.
    It is, however, a conclusion after time spent in making some choices on stacks with the intent of building a cost-effective cloud platform from open source stacks. This cloud platform should also be able to quickly scale whilst (mostly) compatible and easy to migrate to AWS if and when I suddenly need to expand beyond capability.

    I have a bit of a different view than most, but then again maybe not….
    Let me clarify; the distinction, with regards to my statement, comes in between the decision making and conduct of operations decision-makers of large corporates and also those from really BIG business, and in BIG I am referring to the significant cloud platforms such as Amazon AWS.

    Corporates have more of a conservative consumer (of big brands) approach because of ideas such as “no one has been fired for buying IBM or Cisco “ etc.

    Building a business that can scale rapidly depends on cash flow since most businesses that fail is not as a result of not making enough money or even profits but rather due to a lack of cash flow. As a result, the focus should be on calculated risk and managing cash flow, therefore, keeping cost down, especially recurring costs such as licensing and support.

    Now I can jump into detail of the different features and functionalities of the two products in question, which is not a bad thing to do, or I can look at lessons learned. I have used both VMWare and Proxmox (hands-on) and mostly it’s pretty much the same.

    Proxmox includes CEPH for storage and KVM. A lot of the major cloud providers, including AWS, use KVM including a lot of other Open Source stacks such as docker.

    Prior to KVM, AWS was using XEN and it was stated in 2016 that XEN gave better performance, and yet in 2017 AWS switched over to KVM with the cost being the driving force. Now AWS are using KVM, mainly for Linux which is currently the majority of their platform but it seems changes are in the wind for an alternative but not necessarily as a replacement.

    I believe it’s a horse for courses thing, some grew up with Microsoft products and they will never use anything else and the same goes for Cisco, HP, and IBM. I am more of a bang for buck kind of guy and yes I have not run large ICT platforms (wrt to hypervisors) but I have worked with VMware and Proxmox alike but in the end it’s just hardware virtualization. Between these two products and with regards to scalability, stability, and ease of use it’s much of a muchness.

    Considering my background (architecture and strategy); for me, it is not only about people, process & technology but also complexity, compatibility (which both come at a significant cost if not considered), business impact and ability to execute rapidly. I look at deployments from a “plan - build - run” perspective.

    In conclusion; if you are operating at the scale of AWS then your product of choice depends on bang for the back but if your determining criteria is driven by product, say Microsoft or VMWare, because that is what your techies have skilled up on then it’s more complicated.

    I am not driven by a product but rather ease of use, scalability, and fit for purpose. Therefore; if I find an opportunity for a solution that is well designed and I believe it will take off really quickly and go really big then I would use Proxmox to launch. Proxmox is an active project with a lot of development going into it, Proxmox remains relevant and are making good choices, alive and kicking.

    Questions from the Community
    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 »
    Top Answer:One of the best things about Proxmox VE is that it is open-source and very inexpensive. You get all of the same features as with the more well-known products. Proxmox VE is very easy to deploy - it… more »
    Top Answer:I use Proxmox VE and have been very happy with it. In my opinion, it is a complete and stable solution with excellent tools for managing servers. It has a lot of different features, and I also love… 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 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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    Overview

    Proxmox VE is a complete virtualization management solution for servers. It is a powerful open-source platform and supports two virtualization technologies - KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) for virtual machines and LXC for containers. Proxmox VE has a central user interface that allows you to manage not only VMs and containers, but also storage resources, network configuration, and high availability for clusters. It is enterprise-ready and is valued for its scalability and maximum flexibility, enabling you to virtualize very demanding workloads. Proxmox VE makes it possible for you to easily install, manage, and monitor hyper-converged (HCI) data centers.

    Proxmox VE Key Features

    The Proxmox VE platform has many powerful features, including:

    pen-source software, high-available clusters, command line, fencing, a web-based management interface, flexible storage options, REST API, live/online migration, storage replication stack, software defined storage, virtualized networking, backup and restore, two-factor authentication, role-based administration, and VM templates and clones.

    Proxmox VE Benefits

    Some of the biggest benefits of Proxmox VE are:

    • Central management: To manage all tasks of your virtual data center, you can use the central, web-based management interface.

    • Unique multi-master design: Proxmox VE allows you to carry out maintenance tasks cluster wide, from any node.

    • Minimize downtime: With the integrated live/online migration feature, you can move running virtual machines from one Proxmox VE cluster node to another, without any downtime or noticeable effect from the end-user side.

    • Granular access: Using Proxmox VE’s role-based permission management system helps you define granular access to all objects.

    • Multiple authentication sources: Proxmox VE supports multiple authentication sources, including Linux PAM, an integrated Proxmox VE authentication server, LDAP, Microsoft Active Directory, and OpenID Connect.

    • Several storage options: The Proxmox VE storage model is very flexible and the web interface allows you to add multiple storage types (LVM Group, iSCSI target, NFS Share, SMB/CIFS, Ceph RBD, Direct to iSCSI LUN, GlusterFS, CephFS).

    • Collaboration with Ceph: Proxmox VE fully integrates Ceph, giving you the ability to run and manage Ceph storage directly from any of your cluster nodes.

    • Scheduled backups: With Proxmox VE, backups can be scheduled so that they automatically run on specific days and times, for selectable nodes and guest systems.

    • IT infrastructure protection: Proxmox VE has a built-in firewall that works to protect your IT infrastructure. The firewall is completely customizable, allowing complex configurations via the GUI or CLI.

    Reviews From Real Users

    Here is some feedback from some of our users who are currently using the solution:

    A PeerSpot user who is a director at a tech services company says, “The most valuable features of Proxmox VE are the ease of containerization. Overall the solution is generic, feature-rich, and has compatibility.”

    Another PeerSpot user who is a head of IT operations at a tech services company mentions that "In addition to the virtualization, the firewall and the routing functions that it provides are valuable."

    Deepen D., director and CTO at TechnoInfotech, expresses that "The feature that I have found most valuable is that its storage container, LVM, and everything else work out of the box."


    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 Proxmox VE
    Learn more about VMware vSphere
    Sample Customers
    Municipality of Trento, SwitchMIA, inDenova, Valmeita City Council, Alpha IT AS, Grupo Inversor Veracruzano S.A.P.I. de C.V. (GRIVER), Laut und Schoen, IT-Services - Hamburg e.K., KMI Learning, Dynacom Tankers Management Ltd., Serwise AG
    Abu Dhabi Ports Company, ACS, AIA New Zealand, Consona, Corporate Express, CS Energy, and Digiweb.
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Retailer23%
    Government15%
    Computer Software Company15%
    Cloud Provider8%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider22%
    Computer Software Company16%
    Government9%
    Educational Organization6%
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm14%
    Energy/Utilities Company10%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    Retailer6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company18%
    Comms Service Provider13%
    Government9%
    Financial Services Firm7%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business73%
    Midsize Enterprise11%
    Large Enterprise16%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business27%
    Midsize Enterprise20%
    Large Enterprise54%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business31%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise45%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business23%
    Midsize Enterprise16%
    Large Enterprise61%
    Buyer's Guide
    Proxmox VE vs. VMware vSphere
    January 2023
    Find out what your peers are saying about Proxmox VE vs. VMware vSphere and other solutions. Updated: January 2023.
    672,411 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Proxmox VE is ranked 2nd in Server Virtualization Software with 18 reviews while VMware vSphere is ranked 1st in Server Virtualization Software with 108 reviews. Proxmox VE is rated 8.6, while VMware vSphere is rated 8.8. The top reviewer of Proxmox VE writes "Feature rich, good compatibility, and impressive fuctionality". On the other hand, the top reviewer of VMware vSphere writes "Strong performance, works well with large infrastructures but it is quite expensive". Proxmox VE is most compared with Hyper-V, KVM, Oracle VM VirtualBox, Nutanix AHV Virtualization and Citrix Hypervisor, whereas VMware vSphere is most compared with Hyper-V, VMware Workstation, Nutanix AHV Virtualization, KVM and RHEV. See our Proxmox VE 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.