What is most valuable?
Of course there are several valuable features that have grown in time since the product came out, but the most basic and critical features of this product that I find valuable is the High Availability (HA) and the vmotion technology. vMotion has expanded to the Storage vMotion as well. This is very beneficial for uptime of servers and still maintaining updates on the hardware.
How has it helped my organization?
With the ability to create multiple server guests on one physical host platform, we were able to create servers in a faster response time, at a cheaper cost, less operational time and the ability to automate tasks to name a few. Also, this infrastructure gave us the capability to expand into a separate self provisioning development environment by utilizing the vCloud technology.
What needs improvement?
VMware has a good sight for what businesses are looking for. They have been ahead of the curve since the beginning. They have good support and quick response. I don't see too many improvements with vSphere itself.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have used this product for 9 years. I have tested the old GSX and ESX version 2 years prior to this.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
When I first tested vSphere against other competitors 9 years ago, there was no question on which product our company would use. It was easy to deploy and is easier today than it was back then. With a small OS footprint, the install was quick and configuration was straight to the point.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
I have only ran into 2 issues where stability was an issue. One is more of a performance that affected the NUMA nodes and how ESXi handled guests in each NUMA node. (this was isolated to the CPU make/model). The other stability issue was due to a patch that affected some physical hosts causing them to "purple screen" or to not respond.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Again, VMware has been very good with staying ahead of the curve. As the demand grew for virtualization from businesses , VMware increased functionality to cope with growth at the hardware level. The ability to "scale out" or "scale up" physically on the host with zero downtime is very easy or scaling up on the guest is very easy with minimal downtime.
How are customer service and technical support?
Customer Service: When I first used VMware, I had to use customer service often. They were very quick to resolve the issues. They have a team that knew the "Ins and Outs" of the product. I would give them 4 out of 5 stars. I didn't give 5 due to the fact that VMware grew faster than they were able to keep the support engineers trained to handle the large growth over the years. So the times for resolution went down just a little. But still very good compared to other customer support.Technical Support: I would give them a 4 out of 5 here as well. They have teams for each operational architect and at times a problem may need to have the collaboration of multiple teams to resolve an issue.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I did not use any other product prior to VMware.
How was the initial setup?
The install was quick and the configuration was straight to the point. I was up and running with a working platform in 25 minutes from start to finish once I rack mounted and cabled the server. It would be even faster with a converged infrastructure or blade system.
What about the implementation team?
This was done all in-house.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
As an engineer, I don't have those numbers and wasn't part of sharing those numbers to other management and higher.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
When I decided to test the virtualization architectures, I ran tests with several architectures to determine important factors that would affect our business and operations in a positive aspect for growth while still maintaining low ROI. Microsoft and Citrix were the other competitors.
What other advice do I have?
Definitely have a plan before implementing. Don't rush. It is crucial to think years out so you don't have to redo any architecture because you didn't plan for growth, DR/BC or working out of the cloud. If resources are tight to gather, it would be beneficial to reach out to your favorite consulting team to gather advice.