Compare KVM vs. VMware vSphere

KVM is ranked 2nd in Server Virtualization Software with 10 reviews while VMware vSphere is ranked 1st in Server Virtualization Software with 81 reviews. KVM is rated 8.2, while VMware vSphere is rated 9.0. The top reviewer of KVM writes "Good performance, but better management features and integration are needed". On the other hand, the top reviewer of VMware vSphere writes "Makes Resources Available & Services More Reliable". KVM is most compared with Oracle VM VirtualBox, Hyper-V and VMware vSphere, whereas VMware vSphere is most compared with KVM, Proxmox VE and Nutanix Acropolis. See our KVM vs. VMware vSphere report.
Cancel
You must select at least 2 products to compare!
KVM Logo
Read 10 KVM reviews.
74,304 views|67,843 comparisons
VMware vSphere Logo
54,614 views|45,034 comparisons
Most Helpful Review
Find out what your peers are saying about KVM vs. VMware vSphere and other solutions. Updated: January 2020.
397,082 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members

We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use. Here are some excerpts of what they said:

Pros
The KVM service is well managed with a central policy interface.The GUI interface makes the management of KVM easier than ever before.I like that this is an open-source solution. It is very powerful, and it's easy.Scaling the solution is easy. You just have to add more hardware.Our production servers are running in Linux, and this solution supports that environment well.I find the density of the product most valuable. It is density that a technologist can just assign page merging. This is what makes KVM one of the important players of the virtualization market.The initial setup was simple.It is an open ecosystem, and we see there is a benefit in open-source solutions.

Read more »

It has allowed us to be more resilient to infrastructure and hardware failure, reduced hardware costs, and decreased recovery time from failures.The free ESXi hypervisor was a great way to get started, as it allowed us to introduce virtual machines so that users could start to experience the advantages.We are able to patch our hosts during production hours with the ability to keep services running.The vMotion in particular I think is the most valuable because this feature provides migrations of virtual machines in case you want to run do maintenance.Production people can quickly reboot the server with ESXi Quick Boot.The most valuable feature is vSAN, as it reduces the cost of SAN storage and maintenance.We are able to create virtual machines and move them from one host to another, controlling the resources.The most valuable feature is its ability to revert to previous snapshots during testing of various guest and application deployments.

Read more »

Cons
The initial setup of this solution is more difficult than some of the competing products and it could be improved.Business continuity features need to be added.The virtual manager and the graphical QEMU for KVM need some improvement.The solution should be more user friendly. We are struggling with the command lines.Support for VF is needed, where you can, for example, export from VMware to KVM.The stability of this solution is less than other products in the same category.The KVM tech support is really bad. They are not very responsive.We would like to have a software lifecycle solution included in this solution. We can handle the software needed for KVM, but also the software that we provide. A lifecycle component would be very beneficial.

Read more »

Reducing the cost of vSphere would be an improvement.It would be great if the free version included a management tool that was a scaled-down vCenter Manager.Get the HTML5 client to 100% parity to replace the Flash client.I would like to see VMware vSphere provide a centralized patch service on the VMware level, regardless of your operating systems.I would like more Amazon stuff inside of VMware.Reporting on vCenter needs to be improved.Generally, the user interface needs to be improved for non-technical people.Two improvements that I would like to see are higher resolution console modes for guests and easier switching between consoles.

Read more »

Pricing and Cost Advice
This solution is an open-source, free platform with paid support.This solution came with the Linux license.It is cheaper than other solutions out there on the market.It is cheaper than other competitors like VMware or Hyper-V.​It is free and can be run from your laptop, if needed, unlike VMware.​

Read more »

VMware is costly versus other competitors but is still one of the market leaders and expanding now with partners like AWS.The license of VMware is a one-time payment and you can continue to enroll in support for troubleshooting and also administer the licenses.The price is high, but you get back a lot.Our ROI is good.There is an average performance boost, especially if you use VM encryption inside the VMware with another product, like McAfee. You will see great improvement in these cases.The licensing fees are on a yearly basis.VMware does provide organizations with discounts. The customer service license fee we got discounts on from the supplier in order for us to get the best out of the license fees. That's our experience. We possibly paid less than our partner company. The partner is only local and not global like our firm.The pricing is a bit complex.

Read more »

report
Use our free recommendation engine to learn which Server Virtualization Software solutions are best for your needs.
397,082 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Answers from the Community
Nurit Sherman
author avatarCesar Reyes
User

KVM can take full advantage of the operating system where it is hosted.

author avatarFábio Rabelo
Real User

I have read a lot of valid arguments, and, unfortunately a lot of flawed arguments too .
What I will write here is based on my personal experience , I run a half dozen Enterprise level vitualized environments :
For the perspective of most of my customers, the main difference are the ability to audit the code of KVM ( witch are Open Source ) and a lack of it in VMWare .
VMWare is a black box, no one knows what happens inside of it, what are done with the VMs that are running over it .
Insted of it, with KVM, you know exactly what is happening . You know that KVM are not sending sensitive information about your VMs, or statistics about your environment to the vendor .
In second place comes the TCO :
KVM are not completely "free", you need some tools to manage it, but it is WAY cheaper compared to VMWare .
Lot of vendors says that "VMWare runs the world" , really ?
Amazon runs over XEN, Google and Facebook runs over KVM, and Microsoft runs over Hiper-V, sum all 4 and you will have more than a half of the big players on earth, so, from where comes that statement ?!?
About performance, nowadays there are no big difference between all the systems, technology blurred the lines between Type 1 and Type 2 Virtualization approaches .
Open source management systems ( Like Proxmox used by Facebook ) leveled the line between Commercial and non-commercial tools .
Yes, there are some scenarios that VMWare makes sense, buts the decision on witch are better for a particular user case goes down to the details .
Think about that before spend your budget of 2 or 3 years in one tool .

Fábio Rabelo

author avatarTakue Chaparadza
Real User

I'd say the main difference that sticks out like a sore thump is the KVM is Opens source and VMware vSphere isn't. VMware is indeed the Rolls Royce of virtualization but doesn't come cheap. One has to have deeper pockets to access the finer enhanced features of the vSphere packages. KVM on the other, is also a stable Hypervisor and very popular with Linux inclined techs and gurus. Personally i'd encourage one to take the VMware vSphere route because of the solid global support of the product, the additional virtualization feature rich set offerings like vSAN & NSX and ease of use from the onset.

author avatarRedouane Bouzeghoub
Real User

KVM is Hypervisor and vSphere is platform but Ovirt is platform with KVM.
The big difference it's cost but vMware is leader on Virtualization.

author avatarJun Kai Ng
Real User

KVM is a simple and OpenStack-preferred virtual machine manager. vSphere is a different beast altogether, as it is expensive and ridden with lots of add-ons for VM infrastructure provisioning.

One answer to your question will be a company that can afford and wants to have a stable and long-term VM infrastructure can consider VMWare, as KVM is considered as a bare-bone VM manager.

The actual comparison should be between VMWare and OpenStack, as one is paid and one is free to deploy. The deployment for OpenStack can be a little trial and error as it is free and modular, and VMWare is fully-packaged, and it is easier for you to deploy, but at a cost that is calculated by per host.

author avatarUlrich Vogt
Vendor

Service Virtualization has nothing to do with KVM and vSphere. KVM and vSphere are tools/environments to virtualize systems/servers, not services.

Service Virtualization is used to virtualize a Web service or a Message-based service. KVM and vSphere are used to virtualize Linux or Windows systems.

So, I assume you got confused by the very similar name of both. If I misunderstood the questions, please let me know. I am happy to help.

BTW, you can run Service Virtualization on virtualized Linux and Windows boxes.

There are many of comparisons of KVM and vSphere on the internet, see, for instance, https://community.spiceworks.com/virtualization/articles/2768-server-virtualization-is-a-free-hypervisor-good-enough-or-should-you-pay

Hope that helps.

author avatarAllan Trambouze
Consultant

KVM Doesn't have any Dynamic ressource allocation like VMware (DRS). support is not the same you can have a community support or you can get Redhat RHV for entreprise paying support. With VMware vsphere you will get one yo three years support with your purchase.
Don't forget to look to other alternative like acropolis from Nutanix, XEN, RHV and Hyper-V also. Define your need and chose the product that will fit best your need. Don't forget there is also a free version of VMware esxi with no central management available.
Personnaly for a single host i ll go to free ESXi or Hyper-V if my company is using windows. For linux i ll go to acropolis or ESXi.
If i want to do some openstack i ll go with KVM or ESXi with Vmware integrated openstack.
For a small datacenter or big VMware offer a lot of features and hyper-v a little less. If you have a lot of windows licence Hyper-v will be cheaper than vmware. VMware is robust and can be scale up and out easily.

author avatarMichael Tang
Real User

Vmware has more integration with other 3rd party product than KVM. Backup software for instance.

Ranking
Views
74,304
Comparisons
67,843
Reviews
10
Average Words per Review
365
Avg. Rating
8.1
Views
54,614
Comparisons
45,034
Reviews
81
Average Words per Review
589
Avg. Rating
8.9
Top Comparisons
Compared 38% of the time.
Compared 22% of the time.
Compared 14% of the time.
Compared 26% of the time.
Compared 19% of the time.
Compared 17% of the time.
Learn
KVM
Video Not Available
VMware
Overview
KVM (for Kernel-based Virtual Machine) is a full virtualization solution for Linux on x86 hardware containing virtualization extensions (Intel VT or AMD-V). It consists of a loadable kernel module, kvm.ko, that provides the core virtualization infrastructure and a processor specific module, kvm-intel.ko or kvm-amd.ko.

VMware vSphere is the leading server virtualization platform with consistent management for virtual data centers.

Deliver business value from day one with powerful server virtualization, breakthrough availability, safe automated management and intelligent operational insight that adapts to your environment. Automate workload placement and resource optimization based on preset customizable templates.

Offer
Learn more about KVM
Learn more about VMware vSphere
Sample Customers
MediaWiki, Wikimedia Foundation, Wikipedia, Wikivoyage, Wikidata, Wikiversity, Commons Abu Dhabi Ports Company, ACS, AIA New Zealand, Consona, Corporate Express, CS Energy, and Digiweb.
Top Industries
VISITORS READING REVIEWS
Software R&D Company36%
Comms Service Provider20%
Media Company9%
Government6%
REVIEWERS
Financial Services Firm12%
Energy/Utilities Company9%
Retailer9%
Manufacturing Company8%
VISITORS READING REVIEWS
Software R&D Company28%
Comms Service Provider13%
Media Company9%
Retailer7%
Company Size
REVIEWERS
Small Business60%
Midsize Enterprise13%
Large Enterprise27%
REVIEWERS
Small Business26%
Midsize Enterprise27%
Large Enterprise47%
VISITORS READING REVIEWS
Small Business28%
Midsize Enterprise19%
Large Enterprise53%
Find out what your peers are saying about KVM vs. VMware vSphere and other solutions. Updated: January 2020.
397,082 professionals have used our research since 2012.
We monitor all Server Virtualization Software reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.