VMware vSphere Review

We condensed our whole Data Center into three 42U racks, less power consumption, less space, less network switches.


What is most valuable?

Software Define Data Center (SDDC), easily manage couple hundred servers within one console, deploy multiple servers within an hour, capable of monitoring server’s CPU, RAM, Disk, Network activities, High availability (HA) and Cluster (DRS), vMotion and DataStore vMotion, and more.

How has it helped my organization?

We condensed our whole Data Center into three 42U racks, one rack for switches and 32 blade servers, one rack for UPS, one rack for the SAN. It uses less power consumption, less space, less network switches, Less UPS battery.

What needs improvement?

IOPs monitoring. We now monitor IOPs from SAN array. But, SAN array IOPs monitoring is based on virtual volume (vLun) not the VM. If VMware can provide VMDK IOPS information, it can help us catch performance issues.

For how long have I used the solution?

Over 5 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No, everything works fine during deployment.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We did experience purple of death in our esxi host (HP BL685c G7) twice in the past two years after we upgraded to ESXi5.0. We are not sure if its HP’s problem or VMware’s problem.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Yes, multiple VM within one vLUN sometime cause random IOslead to performance issue. Although it is fixable, but still, when you are using large vLUN, you need to understand if that vLUN can provide sufficient IOPs for VMs that use that vLUN.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Although, I do not call them frequently, from my three calls, I would say the customer service is great. They call back and even remote-in to assist with the issue.

Technical Support:

1 to 5 scale, I rate their technical support 4.

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

No, we did not.

How was the initial setup?

It is somewhat straightforward except for the vCenter server and SQL database ODBC. You need to use SQL ODMC client v10. Windows server 2008 R2 did not come with an older version. You need to download sqlncli driver v10.

What about the implementation team?

We did the implementation by ourselves.

What was our ROI?

We did not assess the ROI. But, as a system engineer, it is huge.

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

  • SAN array with 40TB FC and 40TB NL -450K
  • 4x HP BL465c, 2x16, 256GB, 2x 10Gb FiberSwitch, 16x vSpere License, ESXi enterprise License - 200K
  • Planning to hold 300 virtual servers
  • This is based on an a quotation. I do not know the actual purchase price. The day to day cost is not much. There is no need to go to the data center unless we need to upgrade the hardware. I can power off and power on any server from my desk in case the server freezes.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No.

What other advice do I have?

VMware is a great virtualization solution. But, if your servers are very performance-demanded, my suggestion is you must also study the shared vLUN, SAN VV and VM’s IOPs requirement. Don’t just create vLUN and dump any VM into the vLUN. Some programmers and DBAs do not have ideas of how much IOPs their applications or database servers are needed. You will experience performance issues. This is not a problem when you use physical server because physical server resources are not shared.


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

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