VMware vSphere Review

The most feature rich and reliable hypervisor on the market today

What is our primary use case?

I use vSphere for general server virtualization. I am not doing anything spectacular with it.

How has it helped my organization?

vSphere has absolutely improved the way our organization functions. This is because of the ease of management and the number of servers that we are able to virtualize. When we first went to VMware, we took 200 physical servers and converted them to virtual. Instead of running on 200 pieces of hardware, they were running on 8.

Obviously, this is much easier to manage from a hardware perspective, power perspective, and reliability perspective.

What is most valuable?

The vSphere is very good at advanced things like memory sharing between VMs, and CPU scheduling between VMs.

I use the automation tools that they have today.

Their command-line tools integrate well with other Microsoft products like PowerShell, so I can manipulate VMs using it.

The capability to add on new features like site recovery and monitoring is helpful.

What needs improvement?

The web user interface can be a bit clunky from time to time, so there may be some room for improvement in that regard.  I was a fan of the C# client for as long as I could use it.  The move from flash to HTML5 for the web interface is an improvement but still not a good as C# was.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with VMware vSphere for approximately 12 years.  Since VI 3.5 days.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In 12 years, I can think of one time that we've had a server crash. It was one of our host servers and the problem was hardware-related. It was attributed to bad memory on the physical host server, itself.

The VMware operating system is stable and I've never had it crash.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scaling is very easy. Just build it, acquire a license from them and add it to vCenter.

We have about 2,000 people in our organization, and everybody has some server on there that they do something with. It may be file services, file servers, or Citrix XenApp servers.  Most of our VMware environment is our legacy servers because they still support older operating systems that I can't put on Hyper-V or AHV. For example, we have a couple of Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 servers. VMware is the only hypervisor that I can run those on.

How are customer service and technical support?

It has probably been 10 years since I've had to call support for anything but from what I can remember, they were helpful and they solved our problems. It has been so long that I've had to use them that I would hesitate to give them a perfect rating, since I don't know what they're like today, so I think that rating them a nine out of ten is appropriate.

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

vSphere was our first hypervisor.

Since then we have added additional hypervisors in our environment. We have AHV from Nutanix and Hyper-V from Microsoft.

AHV doesn't support things like memory sharing, at all, and Hyper-V is just not very good at it.

How was the initial setup?

I knew what I was doing, so I found that the initial setup was very straightforward. If an inexperienced user's initial setup involves a little bit of searching in Google then I would think that it wouldn't be very difficult.

What about the implementation team?

We did use a vendor for our initial implementation, 12 years ago.  Since then we have done multiple upgrades and I have done several new implementations for other orgs.  They were competent at their work and I learned a lot from them that I used in my future implementations.

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

Basic vSphere, without centralized management, is free. When you get into the centralized management vCenter server, it starts adding cost. Then, it's license-based upon the number of CPUs in your host servers.

What other advice do I have?

VMware vSphere is my preferred hypervisor. It always has been, and always will be. I suggest using it, and not hesitating. I'm sure that they're working on great stuff to enhance this product that I can't even think of, but from my perspective, everything that they do today is great. I don't know what they could possibly do to make my life easier, but I'm sure they'll come up with something.

I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

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Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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