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Buyer's Guide
Server Virtualization Software
September 2022
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Owner at a transportation company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 20
An easy way of providing near-zero downtime services
Pros and Cons
  • "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."
  • "Monitoring information could always be improved."

What is our primary use case?

Firstly, we use it to provide an infrastructure for a development environment. Secondly, we use it to provide services to end-users. A kind of clustered services, where underneath, there are plenty of virtual machines. Thirdly, these solutions were chosen because of the easy way of providing backups and zero downtime between accidents and issues. 

What is most valuable?

VMware vSphere provides 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. 

Mostly, we use a gap solution for PaaS and IaaS levels of solutions. We also use Kubernetes on the application layer and downtime to move to a different layer of workloads. 

However, we still use plain virtual machine platform environments because we are leveraging just on-premise servers. We can't, or we don't want to fully move into clouds. That's why it's important for us to use a solution like VMware vSphere. 

What needs improvement?

I'm not aware of every option that our solution provides, but I see mostly two things. Provide a better solution for hybrid clouds and migration to the cloud. That could be one thing. The second one is providing some integration with different solutions at the application level, such as Kubernetes.

There is always a problem that the application level solutions are not aware of lower levels of infrastructure, of architecture. Some bundled applications with a stack of new VMs with better templates, including the deployment of such things. Monitoring could also be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using VMware vSphere for more than 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I think it's stable. We have encountered a major issue twice during the last four or five years. But it was not related only to vSphere but solutions like extensions to the software we use. 

However, there was no downtime, there was some issue, but I would say that the solution is quite stable. We have been using it for a few years without any major incidents that I am aware of.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

To my knowledge, it's quite scalable and elastic in terms of providing bigger throughputs and managing higher volumes of requests at the end, but our cases currently are not like the biggest. 

I think most of the solutions available right now are set up for the infrastructure. The hardware is enough for the performance level we want to have. It's enough, and if we wanted to improve it, there is space for that. 

However, I can tell you that this solution was stable in my first project. Between 2010 and 2014, at a different company, the solution provided everything that I needed at that moment. There were no problems with scaling this solution.

However, we had problems with the hardware limits. We reached the limit, but it was quite good with vSphere solutions because even if we reached the point of having no hardware, like memory and computers, we managed to provide stable workloads for our customers. We gained the level of performance we wanted to have.

We were dealing with a complex situation dynamically, and the solution provided us with the tools, and the scalability was not an issue. However, we had problems with the hardware limits.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support could be better when it comes to opening and responding to a ticket. But it was within a reasonable time. However, I'm don't have direct contact with the support, and my team's not giving me information about any issues.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

My experience was with the public sector. That was rather complex from the start. In my previous experiences, if we wanted to use vSphere, that was after we tried some different techniques, and we had reached the limit of it or the complexity of the setup. 

That's why we wanted to move to simplify it. The setup was immature, and we needed to provide better service for customers. That's why we choose to use vSphere. The complex one was the other option.

How was the initial setup?

The setup takes about one or two days or something in-between.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

VMware vSphere is a top enterprise solution, so we pay the price for a major product.  We use vSphere because when we get the project, the customers were already using it. But currently, for example, if we have a new project and we are setting up our environment, and we have no constraints about the technology, like using vSphere, we rather go for Proxmox.

We are using it because it was already there before. The cost of migration, for example, is too high to move into different solutions, and the cost of keeping it is enough, and so we accept it. 

Overall, I would like to have cheaper licensing costs and maybe a different policy for licensing. However, we don't see that as a big issue because we are paying for a good solution. 

That's why 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.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Proxmox is cost-effective and good. For example, if we have some projects where the hardware is provided by our customers, and we can use any technology we want.

Proxmox, in most cases, is good for creating some development and staging environment. Because it's cost-effective, we can afford to have a solution based on that technology. 

In most cases, I know that it's not limiting us in terms of the operating systems we use, and my team is quite happy when using such solutions. But it's not the production solution that we use at the end. It's mostly temporary for a few months, and we are using it because of the cost and because there will be an easy way to deploy. We can start to use it and move our environment between the projects. It's quite easy and quite quick.

With different technologies like Grafana, we gain information from infrastructure and application-level from different sources, and we integrate it into a different solution.

However, monitoring information could always be improved. Integrating with the application level could be improved, and monitoring could also be extended to that. Providing us with a more complex and just a one-click solution for seeing everything, how the infrastructure and how integrations are behaving, and the levels of infrastructure and application services would be a nice solution to have.

What other advice do I have?

I think the decision needs to be made by the architects of the solution. They need to be aware of the cost of such solutions, their requirements, and the constraints of such technologies. From a technological point, it's always a good solution. However, it might not be the best solution in terms of the total cost of ownership, and maybe there are better solutions like Proxmox.

I would give VMware vSphere a solid eight out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
Georges ESSOMBA - PeerSpot reviewer
Business Engineer and Consultant at All-Tech
Real User
Top 20
Reduces OpEx and is easy to maintain, along with low memory usage and a minimal interface
Pros and Cons
  • "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."
  • "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."

What is our primary use case?

We are using KVM on-premises with Ubuntu 20.04 for the primary purpose of reducing operating expenses (OpEx) and to make maintenance and security easier for us. Of note, with this kind of virtualization technology, you can very easily create backups and restore data in case of disaster.

The services that we have running on our virtualized KVM environment are currently being used by everyone at the company, numbering in the range of thousands of end-users.

We also make use of Proxmox VE and, less often, VMware.

What is most valuable?

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. You don't need to go with the typical black-screen command-line interface; instead, you just have a small graphical interface with which you can create VMs, edit them, upgrade calculations, and perform other administration tasks. And, because the interface is so lightweight, it has very low memory usage.

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. 

What needs improvement?

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. For this kind of task, you have to get behind the command-line to set it, and this process isn't easy for a newcomer. However, if you have planned your virtualization project well and you know exactly how much RAM and storage space you will need for each different VM, you can simply set it and forget it, because everything you set is permanent.

Another improvement I would like to see is better functionality when it comes to making snapshots automatically while the VM is still running. For example, when a VM is running and you want to back it up, occasionally the VM backup that you obtain is not usable. Thus, I would propose that in the next edition of KVM there should be better "hot" backup features (as opposed to "cold" backups which are performed when the VM is powered down). 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using KVM for about six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

KVM is extremely stable, to the point where I would give it 5/5 stars for stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of expanding the dimensions of your virtual disks, KVM is not easy to scale. Let's say you have a 10 GB disk, and you want to scale it up to 15 GB, the process requires that you enter a basic console and use the command-line interface to set the new size. It's not always an easy process for beginners. On the other hand, it is easy enough to scale other resources such as the CPU and RAM.

However, in general, when it comes to supporting a large number of users, it is scalable enough for us as we have thousands of users in the whole company using the services that are being virtualized with KVM.

Additionally, it's not hard to scale when talking about labor and maintenance. For example, I'm the only one administrating the infrastructure, by setting up and managing the VMs (e.g. adding VMs, editing configurations, etc.), for all these thousands of users in all different positions of the company.

How are customer service and support?

I provide support for the system myself and I have not yet needed additional support, mainly because I only use it for basic operations.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

KVM is a perfect alternative to commercial solutions in the market such as VMware, especially when it comes to stability. In my experience, KVM is more stable than VMware.

How was the initial setup?

I performed the initial setup and I did not need to contact support. Instead, I provided the support I needed by myself, in order to become comfortable with the basic operation of KVM. Compared to Proxmox, the setup is very similar, although admittedly Proxmox offers a more user-friendly interface to manage VMs.

In all, the setup took about two hours. If the internet connection is good, I install the operating system, then set up the hypervisor and perform the updates before installing the VMs. Two hours is about enough for this entire procedure. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There is no cost involved in the use of KVM, as it is open source.

What other advice do I have?

On the whole, I would certainly recommend KVM to new users. Going further, I would give the following advice: although it's true that deep administration can be a bit difficult for newcomers who are not used to Linux, if you just follow the tutorial on KVM deployment and plan your deployment properly, you will be able to set up a stable virtualization system with ease. That's one of the perks of KVM — it's natively very stable once it has been set up correctly.

I would rate KVM an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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IT Architect - AI at CGI
Vendor
Top 5
Easy to set up with good data protection and a free version of the product
Pros and Cons
  • "It is easy to use and does not require complex knowledge."
  • "Having live migrations to move a running server to other hardware would be great."

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution to quickly set up and test our new software releases on different operating system versions.

We used this for onboarding applications running on smaller equipment, as we noticed that it uses less resouces compared to other hypervisor systems.

This helped our passengers to get better services while travelling, such as entertainment, movies, games, details about the trip, et cetera.

The images used can easily be shipped with the onboard hardware.

We can also port or convert other types of images too.

How has it helped my organization?

It is easy to use and does not require complex knowledge.

It uses less resouces, which is a requirement as it is used on onboard hardware with very litle resources available.

Our development using new operating system releases can quickly be made. In some cases, we can set up the client's environment and perform local investigations to give competitve and qualyfied results for the customers to help reinforce our general reputation.

We keep our build and package down, and only start them when performing nightly builds.

What is most valuable?

It is easy to set up and makes it easy to protect VM guests running on the systems by IBM Spectrum Protect.

We use SPFS to mount the Spectrum Protect storage as a local filesystem and store our VM backups on that drive-letter or filesystem which sends data to the IBM Spectrum Protect storage.

The backup retentions are centrally managed from the IBM Spectrum Protect backup server.

We can browse and decide which of the backups to restore directly from the Virtualbox system.

This makes data protection very easy to use without special knowledge from agents.

What needs improvement?

We are using the free version of Virtualbox, so we have not tested the commercial solution.

That said, having live migrations to move a running server to other hardware would be great.

The ability to emulate other types of CPU and hardware, such as PowerPC in both Little Endian and Big Endian, ARM CPU, s390x CPU architectures, and possibly older CPUs such as Motorola would be helpful. This would make the development of new software releases faster and easier.

In general, it is a good and stable product to use. We love it!  

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used the solution for several years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We've found the stability to be good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is good.

How are customer service and support?

We have never had a need to use technical support so far. 

How would you rate customer service and support?

Neutral

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used VMware and Proxmox KVM.

How was the initial setup?

In terms of the initial setup, it's pretty easy to implement. 

What about the implementation team?

We handled the initial setup in-house.

What was our ROI?

The ROI we've witnessed so far has been good.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We use the free solution; so we can't comment on the pricing at the moment.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did also look at Proxmox KVM.

What other advice do I have?

For simplicity, I'd advise users to use a backup method that is easy to use and to adapt to hypervisor solutions.

We use SPFS as it helps our clients to backup and restore in the way they understand.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Other
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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IT Operations Manager at a computer software company with 1-10 employees
Real User
An advanced solution with good management and the capability to scale
Pros and Cons
  • "I find that most of the competition is more or less the same. However, Hyper-V is, when you compare it to the older platforms like VMware, a little bit more advanced at this stage."
  • "If a person has never implemented the solution before, they might find the process difficult."

What is our primary use case?

We mostly use Microsoft Hyper-V in our production environment.

What is most valuable?

I find that most of the competition is more or less the same. However, Hyper-V is, when you compare it to the older platforms like VMware, a little bit more advanced at this stage. 

I like the System Center part of it, the System Center VMM, where you can manage all the stuff together in the orchestrator and those kinds of things. That was not really available when we looked at Proxmox and other options.

Microsoft's got the better deployment tools like MBT and conflict manager, which is not in the other platform.

For me, the initial setup was very easy.

The solution has been very stable.

The scalability on offer is good.

What needs improvement?

It's hard to compare it to other solutions. Everything has almost the same offering.

It's possible that more deployment tools might make it a bit better.

If a person has never implemented the solution before, they might find the process difficult. 

The next generation should at least include most of the tools of the next operating system.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution from the start. I likely started using it around 2006. It's been well over a decade. I've used it for many, many years at this point. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. There are no bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's reliable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The product is scalable. If a company needs to expand it, it can do so.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very simple in my case. I've got a certification, so for me, it's almost like second nature. For someone with less experience, it's possible it may be a bit difficult.

What about the implementation team?

I am able to handle the implementation myself. I do not need an integrator or consultant. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did look at Proxmox and Citrix Hypervisor, among other solutions. 

What other advice do I have?

I'm just a customer and an end-user.

I'm using the 2012 and 2016 versions of the product.

I'm more familiar with Hyper-V and with Microsoft products. I've got certification in that as well. There are some management solutions out from Microsoft, which are not just for Hyper-V, but for a lot of things. With these, it's almost like an all-in-one product, which you don't really get when you look at your Linux-based virtualizers. For example, with Proxmox, there is not really management. You have these notes that you couple up and then you have a backup server, however, you don't really have something that you can orchestrate those things with. Citrix, I can't speak to as I didn't really work with Citrix that much.

If you run any kind of network solution, I would rather recommend Hyper-V over any other hypervisor at this moment - unless you are looking at it from a cost of ownership perspective.

I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten. There's no such thing as a perfect product, however, I'm pretty happy with this.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Buyer's Guide
Server Virtualization Software
September 2022
Get our free report covering Microsoft, KVM, Oracle, and other competitors of Proxmox VE. Updated: September 2022.
632,779 professionals have used our research since 2012.