What is most valuable?
Every organization that I know of that has wanted to implement virtualization in their environments wants HA with every virtual server. That's why for us, we've found the most valuable feature is the ability to move VMs between vCenters and fault tolerance within our four vCPUs.
I would also add that the vSAN feature was not useful beforehand but now with Hyper-Converged infrastructure it will simplify vSphere management as well as storage. We may be acquiring xRAIL from EMC which will definitely eliminate needs for storage as well as Fibre Channel switches.
How has it helped my organization?
The biggest advantage is that it cuts costs. A few years ago, I worked in an environment of all physical servers. It was very expensive to maintain high availability with them. vSphere cuts that cost.
No more lengthy physical server server restores. When this product is coupled with Veeam Backup and replication restoring whole virtual machine or individual files or active directory objects virtually happen in minutes.
What needs improvement?
I'd like to see small VMDKs in the next version since Hyper-V provides that option. Right now, that process with vSphere is still manual and requires downtime.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have used this product for the last five years.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
With previous versions, for example in 5.1, it was inconvenient to deploy an SSO database. Now, an SSO database is local and automatically installed.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It scales without issues.
How are customer service and technical support?
The level of technical support depends on who you're talking to. Some people are more experienced than others. Overall, though, I'd rate them well, but they don't respond very quickly during the weekends.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I used Hyper-V, which worked well on a single server running Windows 2008 R2. But as soon as a cluster is configured, there are lots of issues with SCVMM. I've heard that Microsoft made some improvements and the product is now more stable, but VMware ESXi is based on the Linux OS and is much more stable. I've had to learn command-line code in Linux, but VMware is better than Microsoft.
How was the initial setup?
It's very easy to set up because it's a popular product and there are many online articles. VMware articles are a bit dry. Many consultants post their experiences, making deployment of vSphere straightforward so long as it's planned properly.
What about the implementation team?
I have implemented this product either from scratch or as part of an upgrade. One piece of advice that I would give is to make sure that the certificate is minimum 1024 bits (I forgot to check that). Other than that, an upgrade or set-up is very straightforward, especially with v6.