VMware vSphere Review

It's helped to reduce the overall physical footprint of the environment and to improve availability times.


Valuable Features

Storage vMotion and vMotion are the greatest of use in my current role; however, the most prevalent features would have to be Fault Tolerance, SRM and DRS.

Improvements to My Organization

In my current role, VMware has been used to reduce the overall physical footprint of the environment as well as ease the management aspect of all the virtual environments we used to house. In previous roles, it not only improved the aforementioned pieces but it also improved availability time lines in a significant fashion.

Room for Improvement

The room for improvement would be just like they did with the C# (thick) client back in 2.5.1 and 3.X, they need to work on the speed of the web client as they are moving towards a distributed management environment. The C# client had its issues back in its inception so they are going through the same growing pains again with the web client. Other than that, I would like to see a stripped down version of DRS brought into the Standard licensing model as the jump from a Standard license to an Enterprise (or Enterprise Plus) license is enormous.

Use of Solution

I’ve been using VMware in an enterprise workspace since version 2.5.1 in 2005. I have since had experience with version 3.5, 4, 5.0, 5.5 and 6.0. I'm also currently using vCenter Server 6.0.0A and B.

Deployment Issues

No issues were encountered in the latest migrations that have been performed but this is due to previous experience.

Customer Service and Technical Support

VMware has a great customer service department. If you use a trusted partner hardware (ie, HP in my experience) for your servers, they will also assist in diving into the hardware aspect of the issues you are faced with to hopefully resolve the problem. I’ve always found the VMware support has been there when I needed them. Their response times are very good and the knowledge each support engineer I’ve worked with has been more than satisfactory. I haven’t run into a “blame game” with support while using VMware.

Previous Solutions

At my current employer, they used to use Hyper-V 2008. We migrated to VMware due to a more robust feature set and the fact that, yes Hyper-V has a lot of the features that VMware does but, once deployment is complete, VMware is a clearly more stable product than Hyper-V in the long run. I’ve seen and been involved with a few Hyper-V migrations that go from VMware to Hyper-V and after six to 12 months, most of those installations wanted to migrate back to VMware.

Initial Setup

The initial installation and setup of an ESXi server is very straightforward. When you start getting into the implementation of a vCenter Server you find all the “nooks and crannies” of the installation that are available. It is definitely more complex with a vCenter Server but that is mostly only if you are using all the features available to you. If you just use vCenter for managing multiple hosts at an Essentials license, it isn’t very complex at all.

Implementation Team

We implemented using an in-house team (myself). The advice I have is: When you are building a virtualization environment, be it VMware, HyperV, Citrix, KVM, etc., you need to make sure you build the hosts that are going to run the environment properly. Along with that, you need to make sure the storage infrastructure and network are healthy prior to performing an upgrade. If you “cheap” out on any of those aspects, the deployment will suffer in some way.

Other Advice

Yes, we evaluated Hyper-V 2012. From previous experience as well as feedback from the community we decided to move forward with VMware.

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