Proxmox VE vs VMware vSphere comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on Sep 14, 2023

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

  • Ease of Deployment: VMware vSphere's initial setup duration varies based on complexity, ranging from a few hours to a couple of weeks. Proxmox VE can be set up within one to two days. VMware vSphere might require a certified engineer, whereas Proxmox VE is renowned for its user-friendliness and high ratings.
  • Features: VMware VSphere users say it is flexible and has good virtualization and great data recovery speed time. Proxmox VE users like the solution's ease of use, performance, and backup service.  
  • Room for Improvement: VMware VSphere users feel that the solution needs to be more secure and that the monitoring and reporting could be improved. Proxmox VE users want improvement to process automation. They also mention that moving things to the cloud can be difficult and, because it's a young solution, there are some bugs. 
  • Pricing: The majority of VMware VSphere reviewers consider the solution to be expensive. Users of Proxmox VE consider the solution affordable. 
  • Service and Support: VMware VSphere users are satisfied with the technical support. Most users of Proxmox VE are happy with the support, though there are a few who think it needs to be improved. 
  • ROI: Users of both solutions report a positive ROI.

Comparison Results: VMware vSphere is highly regarded for its extensive range of features, user-friendly interface, and scalability. However, users want improved backup features, integration capabilities, and documentation. Proxmox VE is valued for its simplicity, ease of use, and cost-effectiveness. Users recommend automating certain processes, enhancing the user interface and documentation, and addressing compatibility. 

To learn more, read our detailed Proxmox VE vs. VMware vSphere Report (Updated: September 2023).
734,156 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:
"It allows us to create an individual VM along with the GPU for machine learning.""We had issues with this solution when it comes to resources. We have officially created four to five PMs and it just continues to make more resources even though they are delivered in the main post mode.""The solution has good high availability.""It's very user-friendly.""It's been a stable solution.""The most valuable feature of Proxmox VE is its storage.""Its compatibility is most valuable.""The virtualization is good."

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"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.""It's easy to use and very user-friendly.""The enterprise direction is very complete and the data center provides almost everything you need.""The fact that we have the ability to easily scale out, and the ability to do maintenance on the underlying hardware without impacting our business applications, are important aspects.""The scalability is good.""The stability of VMware vSphere is very good. It has high resiliency, it is one of the best solutions on the market.""The most valuable feature of VMware vSphere is the ability to work in a big system infrastructure.""I like stability and the organization of the different functions into the I#M feature which is also quite useful, quite stable."

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"The solution can be improved by making it more secure and scalable.""It is difficult to remove a virtual machine.""We are facing issues with disk utilization and disk performance.""We find it difficult to find the root cause of the issues.""The compatibility with non-English operating systems needs to be improved.""The process for deployment is complicated.""The solution needs to move to the cloud. It would be nice if they made it more robust there.""Backup and recovery could be better. It's a bit problematic. If you're not well-versed with Linux, it tends to be a bit of a challenge when setting up and recovering. It's not really GUI-based, and if you're not a good Linux user, it becomes a bit difficult. In the next release, I would like to have something like Hyper-V's Data Protection Manager, where you could do an offsite backup and keep a copy. I haven't seen that incorporated yet, but I'm sure they will do that."

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"An area for improvement is that when comparing VMware to Nutanix, Nutanix has higher availability, like clustering for virtual machines. That is a good idea and VMware could profit from something like that for higher availability installations.""The quality of support could be better.""It lacks a snapshot feature.""I would like to see the configuration simplified.""There should be more stability in the updates. They had an issue with the last release.""The UI of VMware could use some improvements, especially in dark mode.""They can lower the price of its license.""In terms of what could be improved, we do face some bugs when cloning the virtual machine - it fails sometimes."

More VMware vSphere Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "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."
  • "We are using the free community version of Proxmox VE."
  • "There is no subscription required for Proxmox VE."
  • More Proxmox VE Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "We don't have an active subscription. We have a prepaid or permanent license."
  • "Our customers incur a yearly licensing fee, one of three or five years, in fact."
  • "In my opinion, the price is not cheap, not it is expensive. It's average."
  • "Our customers have the option of paying the licensing fee when they purchase the solution or renting it from us."
  • "We pay our licensing fees on a yearly basis."
  • "The solution comes with a yearly subscription license."
  • "The price is not an issue for our mid-sized or large-sized customers, but it can be expensive for our smaller customers."
  • "I'm satisfied with the VMware vSphere price. They have a bundle that is priced well. However, any advantage feature is very costly."
  • More VMware vSphere Pricing and Cost Advice →

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

    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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    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.”

    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
    Computer Software Company15%
    Computer Software Company15%
    Comms Service Provider14%
    Educational Organization7%
    Financial Services Firm13%
    Energy/Utilities Company10%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    Educational Organization26%
    Computer Software Company12%
    Financial Services Firm6%
    Company Size
    Small Business67%
    Midsize Enterprise16%
    Large Enterprise18%
    Small Business29%
    Midsize Enterprise18%
    Large Enterprise52%
    Small Business30%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise46%
    Small Business20%
    Midsize Enterprise34%
    Large Enterprise46%
    Buyer's Guide
    Proxmox VE vs. VMware vSphere
    September 2023
    Find out what your peers are saying about Proxmox VE vs. VMware vSphere and other solutions. Updated: September 2023.
    734,156 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Proxmox VE is ranked 1st in Server Virtualization Software with 25 reviews while VMware vSphere is ranked 2nd in Server Virtualization Software with 56 reviews. Proxmox VE is rated 8.4, while VMware vSphere is rated 9.0. 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 KVM, Oracle VM VirtualBox, Hyper-V, Nutanix AHV Virtualization and Citrix Hypervisor, whereas VMware vSphere is most compared with Hyper-V, VMware Workstation, Oracle VM, KVM and Nutanix AHV Virtualization. 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.