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How does VMware ESXi compare to alternative virtualization solutions?

Avigail Sugarman - PeerSpot reviewer
Community Manager at IT Central Station

What are some of the main factors to consider when choosing a solution? What are some of the key points we should be considering when evaluating the various competitors?

PeerSpot user
2020 Answers

it_user139482 - PeerSpot reviewer

VMware hands-down. It takes a lot to build a reputation and sustain it.

it_user71133 - PeerSpot reviewer

Can Raj10101 actually qualify what he's saying first? Please show me some empirical evidence which says Citrix XenServer and Hypervisor technologies are the most developed around the world?

Citrix XenServer doesn't have the most development around the world at all. I would suggest going no where near XenServer because like many things Citrix does, its tried having a go but realised its got into the game far too late and others are doing it way better than they can. So they've sensibly opted to letting it go gradually by not developing it further and letting everyone have it for free. Probably in part in my opinion to save face in the market and to not look like they've made some seriously bad decisions a few years ago, by wanting to get into the virtualisation markets, and lost some revenue which they've not been able to recover from (because their product didn't take off like Microsoft's Hypervisor did).

I would steer clear of XenServer. Don't get me wrong I've implemented it myself dozens of times and its an ok product. However it doesn't come anywhere near VMWare for features and stability and Microsoft are doing a good job of closing up on VMWare. So for what its worth and without wishing to sound like I'm being disparaging to Raj10101. Avoid Citrix XenServer

Also for reviewer 107682 to say that VMWare doesn't scale massively to the cloud I think is a vast mistruth. VMWare have one of the biggest global public/private/hybrid cloud solutions out there.

Also I think this questions needs rewording to something like How does ESXi compare to other Hypervisors as that's exactly what it is. ESXi IS NOT A VIRTUALISATION SOLUTION. It is a component of a Virtualisation Solution.

it_user131655 - PeerSpot reviewer

I would say Citrix, because Citrix has the most development around the world.

it_user125163 - PeerSpot reviewer

We didn’t research which virtualization solution to choose. Since we mainly use Polycom software, we went with VMWare since it is mentioned in their documentation.

Even if we installed VMWare on our servers, this solution is still very new for us.

it_user71133 - PeerSpot reviewer

Without wishing to sound combative, I think you're asking the wrong question. You can easily google for matrices on the above named products and get an idea on cost/features/shortfalls etc. The real question is "What is your organisation trying to achieve?" followed closely by "why do you think virtualisation is the answer?". Many many companies I have worked for believe incorrectly that virtualisation is some sort of a panacea to controlling their network and servers and reducing hardware costs etc, however they soon realise that just buying some servers and installing a hyper visor on doesn't necessarily give them everything they thought they were going to get. So many times I hear "Our Exchange/SQL/SharePoint/ environment or high I/O application is now really that its been virtualised. We were told it would run exactly the same as before?".

So be pragmatic, ask lots of seemingly stupidly obvious questions because I bet you someone is making assumptions. Don't be suckered into decisions by your vendors either, ask for demos and empirical evidence from them first. If they can't do that because they deem its too much hassle then ask yourself, would you buy a car when the sales guy just kept saying "Trust me its the best one there is" but wouldn't let you take it for a test drive.

Good luck with your decision making.

it_user107682 - PeerSpot reviewer

Hi ,
There are two category of virtualization environment. Open source type or
Open source e.g. KVM and Proprietory e.g. VMWare.
Assuming you are running windows or linux OSes only ; both is equally
VMWare : Main Advantages - feature rich easy to use, runs only on X86
Disadvantage - Expensive licenses, Vendor lock in, Difficulty
in scaling out massively to cloud.
KVM : Main Advantages - Open soruce (free license with optional
subscription and support) , runs on almost any hardware supporting linux ,
rapid development by opensource community. Light weight. Massively
scaleable to cloud, no single vendor lockin and conforming to open
standards for virtualization and cloud.
Disadvantage - needs Linux skill set.

it_user10347 - PeerSpot reviewer


Capability ESX ESXi 5.x
Service Console Present Removed
Admin/config CLIs COS + vCLI PowerCLI + vCLI (enhanced)
Advanced Troubleshooting COS ESXi Shell
Scripted Installation Supported Supported
Boot from SAN Supported Supported
SNMP Supported Supported
Active Directory Integrated Integrated
HW Monitoring Third-party agents in COS CIM providers
Serial Port Connectivity Supported Supported
Jumbo Frames Supported Supported
Rapid deployment and central management of hosts via Auto Deploy Not Supported Supported
Custom image creation and management Not Supported Supported
Secure syslog Not Supported Supported
Management interface firewall Supported Supported

it_user125676 - PeerSpot reviewer

Required features for HA, portability of VMs, DR
Ease of Management
Skills availability in the market place
Cost is last

it_user70752 - PeerSpot reviewer

I've used Xen/OVM and ESXi, mostly OVM. The one project that I used ESXi for, was a turning point as by then I was converted. ESXi was easier to manage and very quick to install on the physical hardware. The management in creating, starting and stopping VMs was done from another/client machine whereas on OVM/Xen, the administration of creating, starting and shutting down VMs was done robustly from the command line and occasionally ok from a rudimentary GUI. I hope that has now improved. I don't know the cost implications or support between the two but given Xen experience, ESXi was easy to get going. It would have much harder the other way round.

it_user116742 - PeerSpot reviewer

VMware does tend to be pricier than competitors

it_user7410 - PeerSpot reviewer

There is no doubt that VMware ESXi is a top notch product in terms of leading edge features, functions and performance. Its large installed base and popularity also means that it has an established ecosystem in terms of third party applications, documentation and technical service and support, which is extremely helpful if and when problems arise. And in the IT world nothing ever runs smoothly 100% of the time! VMware does tend to be pricier than competitors but if you are a regular customer and love their products, that may not matter to you. It will depend on your environment and your priorities. I would suggest making a list and stack ranking them, e.g.: Cost (including Total cost of acquisition AND Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) over the lifetime of the product), performance, reliability, leading edge features, ongoing technical service and support, ease of use/ease of management, deployment and provisioning, vendor responsiveness etc.

Overall, I think VMware ESXi is a very good choice. And I don't think you'll go wrong with it.

However, I would also note that product decisions are about more than just the product. They are also about your overarching relationship and history with the vendor. Before making any purchasing decision, it's alwasy advisable to go back to your administrators and ask them to provide you with a Report card of your interactions with various vendors over the past 12 to 24 months as well as how their products performed in your environment during that time period. Were there any inherent reliability issues or performance problems; were there any security issues and if so, what actions did the vendor take to help you resolve them in a timely manner? Did you have occasion to call the vendor account rep for any reason and if so, were they responsive? It's NOT just about a particular product but also about the vendor. The product may be outstanding but if VMware or ANY vendor is not giving you favorable licensing terms/conditions or does not respond quickly when there are support issues, or you have extended wait times for replacement parts or documentation is poor, you may want to rethink continuing the relationship. At the very least, you should note any issues good or bad that you have with ALL of your vendors and provide them with feedback. And it's good to do as an internal exercise as well. Make note of this and disseminate it to the appropriate parties in IT.

I hope you find this useful.

it_user123510 - PeerSpot reviewer

Look for hidden costs. VMware is a great product, but peel back the onion. If you are not a BIG Microsoft shop then be prepared to start. The overall costs of VMware was 3x what we expected. It may not be as bad if you have existing infrastructure and have already purchased the other licenses, but for a fresh start, this is not the case. Also, use Open Source as much as possible for your prototyping and testing.

it_user107157 - PeerSpot reviewer

I have used pretty much every virtualization platform at one time or another in solutions. As Mohamed explains, budget, resources and Application support are important. For instance, if you are developing internal applications and want lots of control and low cost then KVM would be one way to go. However if you require support for 3rd party applications, ease if use/administration and costs are lower down in the requirements, then VMware is the way to go.

it_user70125 - PeerSpot reviewer

My experience is also with VMware (Since 3.5 I think...) I agree with most of what has been said above. I would also comment that VMware's support is top notch and they work to get things fixed if you do have issues.

it_user116742 - PeerSpot reviewer

I would always recommend to go with VMware virtualization

it_user110655 - PeerSpot reviewer
Real User

In addition to all of the above answers for performance and features it's based on your requirement, budget, available trained resources, Application vendor support over the Virtualized platform.

it_user125343 - PeerSpot reviewer

The main factor when you choosing a virtualization solution is "Performance".. I would always recommend to go with VMware virtualization because of the above mentioned factor. When compare to Microsoft's Hyper-V or Linux KVM or Parallells, VMware is more capable to handle all virtualization facts including resource utilization, scalability and availability.

Vmotion, HA & DRS, VDP modules in VMware are very powerful and useful for enterprise firms where downtimes matter.

Jobin Johny

it_user8685 - PeerSpot reviewer

From the cost perspective, VMware products are relatively on a higher side. But, what you get is a more robust and more mature virtualization technology than any other in current virtualization market like Hyper-V, Citrix Xen or for that matter RedHat KVM,

With ESXi and its suite, you are almost absolved from major troubleshooting incidents, the virtual environment gets backed-up effectively, recovery becomes more robust and overall management becomes transparent and easy.

From the business perspective, SLAs are maintained efficiently, almost without any breaches.

__Tushar Topale

it_user85836 - PeerSpot reviewer

My main experience with virtualisation has been VMware ESXi, v5 and above. I have played with Hyper-V but have mainly dealt with VMware. What I would say is that for us VMware is a really good solution, we get the flexibility of vmotion across our infrastructure (we use an HP C3000 blade controller with 4 hosts), we also use Veaam backup (backup to disk with offsite replication to a remote datacentre) which is ideal – no impact on the running VM’s when they are being backed up as it’s all done via snapshots. I have found that from a maintenance aspect, being able to move VM’s across hosts and then run any updates on the blades is a real bonus – we can do the majority of our work during normal hours (a help with that work/life balance). We can run a mix of Windows and Linux VM’s, adding resource is so straight forward, for example, being able to increase drive size live is very handy. We can add new hosts live and similarly as we can move our VM’s around, we can perform any hardware upgrades to our blades without downtime – though that is more down to having the capacity within our blade infrastructure to accommodate all the running production servers on 75% of our blades. So, while I can’t really compare VMware ESX with other virtualisation technologies I can say that we’ve had a very good experience with VMware and would recommend it without hesitation.

Best Regards

Pete Gibson

it_user3405 - PeerSpot reviewer

There are a number of key points, but I do think there is a website that summed up the majority for you:

They compare Redhat, VMware, Citrix and Hyper-V where you can do a comparison with one or all.


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