What is our primary use case?
We had almost 100 servers and we wanted to consolidate them and also make them movable, especially when we have to upgrade hardware. It also allowed us to create more testing environments, because we tended to buy new iron every time. We also want users to be able to “own” servers themselves, so that we would build them for them, hand them over and say, "Have fun".
What is most valuable?
- Ease of management
What needs improvement?
Maybe it's there and I don't know about it, but I would love to be able to build a standard server set and be able to give users, who want to build another server, the ability to click in and have a pool of 20 options for the five groups that are using them. I could just say, “Hey if you want a server click here," and then the server is built for them, tells them how to connect, how to login to it. Done. That would be so cool.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It's stable. It has only crashed once.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We're not a very big shop, so it's not really appropriate for me to answer this question.
How is customer service and technical support?
I would give technical support about 7.5 out of 10.
How was the initial setup?
I waited until version 5 because, prior to that, I thought it was too difficult to set up. With that version, the setup was fairly easy. And it has gotten a lot easier since.
What was our ROI?
On the server side, we have definitely seen ROI. If servers fail we just restart them, if a piece of hardware fails we just move it. We haven't saved any money but we have been able to double our load without adding any more staff. That's our ROI.
In real terms, because of the cost of the product, I don't know that we really save anything. We're a public institution and we tend to have very long time frames for holding onto hardware, not like a corporation. I would say it's a wash on a pure ROI, unless we can look into the future and say, “I'm going to be able to do increased stuff without adding any money.”
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Pricing is the one "ding" I have against it. Except for VMware vSphere Essentials, it would be pretty challenging for anything but a medium or large size company to use.
What other advice do I have?
If you're managing more than five servers run over and get some vSpere Essentials. I think virtualization is the only way to go, whether you do it on-premise or in the cloud, nowadays. It doesn't make any sense once you get beyond a couple.
I rate the solution an eight. Price would be the main thing, as well as the relative inaccessibility for end-users to be able to touch the product.