Server Virtualization Customer Reviews: VMware, Hyper-V, XenServer and More


Our guest columnist from IT Central Station reveals what real users think of the leading virtualization products.

By Russell Rothstein

The market for virtualization software is competitive and can be confusing to research. There are large commercial players such as VMware, Oracle and Microsoft, as well as open source solutions. Each offers the basic set of functionality, but you need to choose the right solution for your needs.

I founded IT Central Station to help enterprise tech users find the best software by offering hands-on reviews by real users, and I wanted to share some of what we've learned with the readers of ServerWatchand other QuinStreet Enterprise websites.

IT Central Station is like Yelp or TripAdvisor for IT software, but all reviewers are strictly validated to ensure that each review is authentic and based on a real customer's experience. We are an open, vendor-neutral site, and we do not endorse one vendor or another. With that said, let's get to the reviews.

Microsoft Hyper-V: There are currently more than 30 reviews of Hyper-V on IT Central Station, with an average of 4 stars out of 5 for Microsoft's hypervisor. One of our users, an architect at a manufacturing company, provides a review of Hyper-V compared to VMware's vSphere.

He says that Hyper-V does not have 100% feature parity with VMware vSphere 5 and vCenter combo. For instance, it lacks a feature like Enhanced vMotion to aid in dong live migrations between different processor families. He also found Hyper-V to be a bit more complex to configure some of the features that vSphere seems to make really simple, like High Availability (HA), which requires Microsoft's Failover Clustering feature.

VMware: There are more than 70 reviews of VMware vSphere ESXi, with an average rating of four stars out of five. One of our users, an IT administrator at a tech services company, says that setup can be very simple if you are using local storage, or in-depth if using network storage and wanting to customize the virtual network configuration. While he thinks that VMware is the best virtualization product, he says that Hyper-V may be appropriate for some small businesses with just a couple of servers to virtualize.

Microsoft Hyper-V vs VMware vSphere: One reviewer provided an in-depth comparison of the products. He says that one of the main differences in the two approaches is that Microsoft wants virtualization, cloud and datacenter management to be an extension of the infrastructure, whereas VMware would like the vCloud Suite to be the complete infrastructure. This starts with VMware developing vCloud as an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) to fulfill the company's promise of the software-defined data center (SDDC).

Citrix XenServer: One of our users, a director of infastructure at a tech services company, gives XenServer three stars out of five, saying that the product is hard to maintain because its management tool lacks orchestration features offered by Microsoft and other vendors. However, XenServer provides APIs to develop other tools, the user notes.

Open Source solutions: Our users have also written reviews of open source solutions such as Proxmox and KVM. One of our users writes that Proxmox provides simple install open source, but poor support for USB and OS X. Another user says that Proxmox performs well with Windows but lacks Mac support due to Mac's EULA. One of our users compares KVM with VMware, explaining how KVM's small footprint (about 10,000 lines) and relative ease of use make it a compelling choice for many users.

On IT Central Station you can find more reviews of the leading server virtualization solutions from VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, Oracle, Red Hat, IBM and more (free registration required). There are also reviews of VDI and application virtualization solutions from real users. All reviewers are validated with their LinkedIn profile to ensure that their posts are authentic.

Russell Rothstein is founder and CEO of IT Central Station. He has spent more than two decades in the enterprise technology industry at the crossroads of technology and business. Before founding IT Central Station, he worked at enterprise tech vendors including OPNET (acquired by Riverbed) and Oracle. Russell was co-founder of Zettapoint (acquired by EMC) and Open Sesame (acquired by Bowne/RR Donnelley). He received a BA in computer science from Harvard University, an MS in technology and policy from MIT and an MS in management from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Follow Russell on Twitter @RussRothsteinIT.

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This article was originally published on Thursday Sep 26th 2013
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