VMware vSphere Review

vMotion allows us to move VMs from host to host, which helps a lot while performing scheduled maintenance on production environments and for workload consolidation.

What is most valuable?

  • The most valuable feature is High Availability. Even if there's a complete hardware or software failure of the host, which doesn't happen very often, we have peace of mind knowing the production servers can be restarted on a different VM if necessary.
  • vMotion allows us to move VMs from host to host, which helps a lot while performing scheduled maintenance on production environments and for workload consolidation.
  • vShield endpoint offloads the CPU and memory for virus protection and prevents update and scan storms.
  • vGPU gives us almost bare-metal performance on virtual desktops from zero clients and it allows our users to move from device to device while keeping consistent experience and performance.

How has it helped my organization?

With vSphere, we were able to consolidate just about every workload, server or desktop, which in turn allowed us to save a lot on hardware, power, and space. Also, of course, deploying new desktops and servers in minutes is a definite time saver.

What needs improvement?

Some modifications are still require to be done with the CLI, directly on the host, like SSL certificate management and reclaiming storage space on thin provision disk (depending on storage devices). It would save a lot of time if those could have a simple GUI in the vCenter.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used vSphere for more than three years in general and a a few months for version 6.0.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No issues with deployment so far.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

A few months back, we had random crashes of PCoIP sessions on virtual desktops with more than one monitor. But it turned out to be a problem with vGPU drivers provided by NVIDIA. So with vSphere itself, we've had no stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The vCenter makes scalability pretty easy.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

VMware’s customer service is very helpful when you need to find the right product for the right environment.

Technical Support:

We had to call VMware once so far and they really followed through. They diagnosed a problem related to a third-party driver (NVIDIA) and obtained for us a patched version of the driver from the manufacturer. They were very efficient!

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

In my previous company, we used oVirt, the free-of-charge version of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, which turned out to be way more expensive than a solution like VMware in terms of both human and hardware resources.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very easy, very straight forward. The only downside of the process was the replacement of the auto-generated self-signed SSL certificate by an enterprise-CA-signed one, which had to be done manually via CLI.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it ourselves.

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

Even though the initial cost of vSphere seems a bit high, it is really going to pay off by freeing time for teams and lowering your hardware costs. Regarding licensing, if you have any doubt, just ask VMware’s customer service to help you. Some editions and kits might already include all you need.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Microsoft Hyper-V, but it seemed unfinished. Management tools are almost non-existent and hosts constantly need to be rebooted to install patches that are purely Windows related and have nothing to do with the virtualization itself.

What other advice do I have?

For small infrastructures, start with the free vSphere Hypervisor. For small businesses, VMware vSphere Essentials Kits are inexpensive but limited to three hosts. So be sure you are not going to grow more than this for a while if you are considering this option. For medium-sized businesses and corporations, go for it. It will greatly reduce your operating costs.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Certified reselling partner.
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Add a Comment
ITCS user

author avatarit_user365154 (Technician at a tech services company with 51-200 employees)
Real User

Afternoon to you all. I want to know if it is possible to switch from vmware 3.0 to a latest version without disturbing services.

author avatarChris Childerhose
ExpertTop 5Real User

You can switch but you need to conduct a stepped upgrade of the hosts from 3 to 4, 4 to 5 and then 5 to 6. You cannot go directly to Version 6 from 3.0 as it is not supported. See this link for further details - http://www.vmware.com/ca/en/products/vsphere/upgrade-center/upgrade

author avatarit_user385836 (Virtualization Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees)

As Chris already mentioned, you should go step by step.. Make sure you are in 5.1 U3 and above when you are upgrading to 6.0.

author avatarit_user380502 (Principal Network Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees)

As Chris and Karthik have mentioned, step by step. Do you have enough hosts to handle your VM's while one host is updating? Also, you have to update firmware for each of the hosts. I did a small environment (5 hosts, 140 VM's) and used the Dell Enterprise iDRAC to get into the UEFI boot of my newer hosts to update firmware remotely. Older hosts are a bit more difficult, but possible (such as burning DVD's or USB sticks) and using the iDRAC or ILO to boot for firmware updates.

One of the things about VMWare is that it runs really well and the hosts are generally not restarted for quite a while, with the end result that firmware for NIC's, RAID and BIOS has been updated at least once... and the newer VMWare versions are tied to having the latest firmware.