VMware vSphere Review

The best part of ESXi for us is the flexibility it gives us...be aware of VM sprawl and the associated license costs.

Valuable Features

The best part of ESXi for us is the flexibility it gives us, we can spin up a new server in minutes, we can increase VM drive space live, we can perform maintenance on our infrastructure with minimal down time – we have a blade solution, and have the capacity to move VM’s to allow us to perform updates/upgrades to individual hosts during work hours with zero disruption to the business.

Improvements to My Organization

Its allowed us to reduce the time needed to bring onboard new services. For example, we migrated from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010, the flexibility of running a virtualised environment allowed us to quickly build new servers to test, this is something that would have taken considerably longer using physical hardware, with VMware, we were able to tailor the system spec without having to scramble around for memory, drives CPU’s etc. This ultimately reduced the time to complete the migration.

Room for Improvement

I’m keenly awaiting multi core Fault Tolerance, so I can have all our VM’s covered by FT – currently it’s only available for single core VM’s.

Fault Tolerance is now available for multicore VM's, but, you;ll need to factor in how many cores the host has before rolling this out to the more powerfully specced VM's.

Use of Solution

5 years

Deployment Issues

None, we found VMware support really good.

Stability Issues

None, we had a few teething issues which were mainly due to our lack of knowledge of the product when we first installed it.

Scalability Issues

None at all, we can add hosts on the fly, we’ve expanded our SAN array from 1 to 3 shelfs without issue.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

We use VM and also a 3rd party for support – no problems have been encountered which were not resolvable.

Technical Support:

1st class – no complaints at all.

Implementation Team

We had the implantation done via a reseller, what we did find was that the initial knowledge transfer of skills from the vendor to us was questionable (in that they came in and set it up, then really left us to it. This gave us a very steep learning curve at the outset.) If we did the project again, this is an area that I would focus on as part of the project, so that we were more comfortable with what we put in place. This doesn’t mean we had a negative experience, rather we were a little green to start with.

Other Advice

I’d say, understand what it is you wish to achieve from the outset. Take into account growth, be aware of VM sprawl and the associated license costs – we were all happy to add servers left right and centre, we’ve now been through a server rationalisation process to bring our VM server count down a little. Make sure that your engineers are suitably trained and make sure that you have a good support contract in place – it gives you peace of mind!

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