vSphere Review
Our current virtualization standar platform, but Hyper-V 2012 version functionality appears to gain on VMware vSphere


Valuable Features:

Key business drivers and benefits for us: • Co-location data centers environmental costs are greatly reduced (rack space, power, cooling). • Allows better utilization and flexibility to segment physical resources (vCPU & vMemory) • Consolidate / centralize management of all Windows and Linux infrastructure - Administer entire virtual environment via a single pane of glass (vCenter) - Provisioning of VMs is really simple and quick. Allows easy use of templates. - Utilize Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) & VMotion - Optimizes performance of VMs - Allows flexibility for patching cycles to minimize downtime. • VMware product has been very stable • Allows for easier compliance and consistency for meeting IT audit controls • Initial ROI analysis a few years ago did show significant savings over physical model. We are looking at updated ROI and show-back / charge-back models currently.

Room for Improvement:

VMware product challenges / Areas for improvement: • Advanced Capacity Management and Performance Management & Analysis, Disaster Recovery, and private cloud capabilities are lacking out of the box for enterprise-level deployments. - Ability to “right-size” resources on all VMs is needed at enterprise installations. - Add-on / 3rd party products like vCenter Operations / VMturbo, SRM, or vCloud may be needed. - These add-on products add management complexity. They also add licensing and maintenance costs for the overall solution in a tough budget climate. • Difficulty using VMotion with Microsoft Clusters. We utilize clusters for our large SQL Farm, but we are unable to use VMotion during patching efforts. We are now looking at Hyper-V or physical servers for this functionality to minimize downtime. • Granting administrative privileges / roles can be a bit more tedious than are initially apparent.• VMware vSphere 5 is current architectural standard for 2 data centers - VMware was the major virtualization solution provider when first implemented years ago - Microsoft 2012 Hyper-V “proof of concept” is currently in progress for US - Educational discounts from Microsoft are significant - Microsoft Hyper-V 2012 version functionality appears to gain on VMware vSphere • Also have a large Solaris UNIX environment utilizing Solaris Zones. • VMware (or Hyper-V) will enable us to drive a re-platforming effort for Solaris -> Linux

Other Advice:

Things to consider before purchasing VMware or Hyper-V: • Understand your virtualization objectives and requirements before purchase. Assess all requirements against VMware or Hyper-V licensing cost and edition functionality • Define a strategy for resource intensive applications (large CPU or memory requirements) and when to stay standalone vs. virtual • Implement processes to control “VM sprawl” as VM provisioning process is so simple. • Consider other process efficiencies that virtualization may drive (i.e. Service Catalog) • Ensure IT staff gets proper training. The learning curve can be steep initially at the enterprise level. • If possible , look at processes for show-back or charge-back model early on to assess costs and ROI.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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