VMware vSphere Review

Since it is riding inside of a multi-hardware environment, downtime is virtually nothing

What is our primary use case?

We use it for about 90 percent of our corporate network. 

We have a separate vSphere for an ISP that we run on a private and public cloud, because we are an anti-cloud company.

How has it helped my organization?

It rides our entire corporate network. Everything inside of our corporate Windows domain (e.g., domain controller, database files, etc.) rides inside VMware.

In the last three years, we have moved from a physical to a virtual environment. We have removed the need for backups and going to the office at three in the morning to change a server. I do everything during my business hours. It gave me my life back.

What is most valuable?

  • Stability: Since it is riding inside of a multi-hardware environment, downtime is virtually nothing. That is a plus.
  • It is simple to manage. 
  • We use two-factor authentication.

What needs improvement?

  • It is simple to break. 
  • As far as ease of use and their front end (vCenter), it needs refreshing. They are doing some good things with HTML5. I would like them to move into having a containerized application to manage the vCenter.
  • I would like having something that works on a smaller screen, so we can get to it on our iPads and have it more touch-centric versus having to sit at a laptop.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The product is very scalable. Since it is a virtualized environment where all the compute rides, it doesn't care about what is riding under it. Therefore, you can expand or shrink it as much as you want.

How are customer service and technical support?

Most of my support goes through my third-party. The person who helped us integrate VMware is the person who we also contact for support. They have an inside support guy with VMware. While it is a middle man type of thing, it has been pretty good so far.

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

We started out in the Microsoft Hyper-V because it came with everything in their license. After messing with Hyper-V, we always had a small VMware environment. With some of the blade services that came out from Dell and Cisco, we moved over to VMware because they utilize all the back-end interconnects a lot better than Microsoft does. After that, we went full VMware.

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

I miss the Enterprise tier. When they went to Enterprise Plus, it increased the price. I was one of the guys that operated well inside the Enterprise tier. I paid a little bit more than standard but I got a lot more features. Enterprise Plus has a lot of things that I'll never use. So when they chopped that tier out, they kneecapped me. 

If you go with a standard license, it's very affordable. If you start digging into how they price all of their add-ons compared to Hyper-V, you get into the mud, because Hyper-V bundles everything together. So, at least you can customize your pricing to exactly what you need, so that is a plus.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Cisco and Dell. We have been moving more towards Cisco's computing. We did evaluate Micro-Tech for switching since they have cheap switches.

What other advice do I have?

Do your homework and build it from the ground up. Set up a plan to replace everything and get started from the beginning as a full virtualized environment. It won't bite you later, which is one thing we were worried about, and we ended up having to do extra work to do small steps into virtualization. 

Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:

  1. Interoperability with what I currently have and its ability to work with others.
  2. Support.
  3. Price.
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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