In this series of posts that we'll be creating over the next couple of weeks, we'll try to list the best VMware Alternatives for virtualization of servers. Many alternative vendors does not do VDI so we won't include those in our series. VMware does VDI pretty well and their Horizon/One products got pretty good over the years. However, I have completely lost interest in VDI and shifted my interest over the years so my thoughts on this are that it is certainly a big plus for VMware compare to the other vendor, but hey, not everybody needs VDI, right?
VMware just announced that they discontinue the VMware ESXi FREE hypervisor. (In fact, I saw a tweet from Anthony Spiteri, a fellow blogger. This is sad for all homelabbers and ESXi FREE users. This is a very black day for me too.
The KB is here.
Along with the termination of perpetual licensing, Broadcom has also decided to discontinue the Free ESXi Hypervisor, marking it as EOGA (End of General Availability).
Regrettably, there is currently no substitute product offered.
VMware is one of the most popular and widely used virtualization platforms in the world. It offers a range of products and services that enable users to create, manage, and run virtual machines (VMs) on various operating systems and hardware. VMware also provides cloud computing, networking, security, and storage solutions for enterprises and individuals.
Why You Should Consider Switching to a New Virtualization Platform and How to Do It?
However, VMware is not the only option when it comes to virtualization. Many other alternatives may offer similar or even better features, performance, and pricing. In this blog post, we will explore some of the best VMware alternatives and what are the constraints to switch to a new virtualization platform.
All VMware users might probably hate me after publishing this article, but for me, it's important to talk about alternatives as they no longer suck. That was the case probably 10 years ago when very little of them were actually in production. Now with Broadcom's acquisition of VMware, it seems that things has changed and everybody has an electroshock for a couple of months, or even over a year.
Are you 100% VMware shop and after the Broadcom acquisition of VMware you have counted that your subscription licensing costs will explode if you keep using what you currently use? Congratulations, you are locked in. No, but seriously, vendor lock-in isn't good, so even if you are 100 % VMware shop and you like VMware products, the company, and the ecosystem, you still should look around and make a small move and start building an alternative!
If you are 100% locked in, the switch is more difficult. Depending on your situation, getting out of VMware lock-in may be easy or hard, cheap or expensive, fast or slow. You need to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of switching versus staying with VMware and decide what is best for you.
Constraints to Switch to a New Virtualization Platform
Switching to a new virtualization platform may not be as easy as it sounds. There are many constraints and challenges that users may face when they decide to migrate from VMware to another alternative. Some of these constraints are:
- Compatibility – One of the main constraints to switch to a new virtualization platform is compatibility. Users may have to ensure that their existing VMs, applications, data, and hardware are compatible with the new platform. This may involve converting, importing, exporting, or reconfiguring their VMs, as well as testing and troubleshooting their functionality and performance on the new platform. Users may also have to deal with potential conflicts or errors that may arise from different virtualization formats, drivers, or protocols.
- Cost – Another constraint to switch to a new virtualization platform is cost. admins may have to incur additional costs to acquire, install, and maintain the new platform. This may include hardware, software,
licenses, training, and support. Users may also have to consider the opportunity cost of switching, such as the time, effort, and resources that may be required to migrate and adapt to the new platform. Users may have to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of switching versus staying with VMware.
- Risk – A third constraint to switch to a new virtualization platform is risk. Administrators may have to face various risks when they switch to a new platform, such as data loss, downtime, security breaches, performance degradation, or compliance issues. Administrators may have to back up their data, ensure their security, monitor their performance, and comply with their regulations when they switch to a new platform. Users may also have to prepare for contingency plans and recovery strategies in case of any failures or disasters.
The actual process might be less painful than you think
Back in the day, when we started with the virtualization of servers where we P2V'd our servers from bare metal to virtual infrastructure. We did not know much about virtualization, or management of VMs, but we've learned it all.
Once we've done that, we had the cloud, where we migrated our workloads to the cloud. Now we want to migrate it back take control, run it cheaper because the cloud is too expensive and the costs are not under control… The cycle…
Build a lab for testing – one of the ways that you could go is the way of the low risk and I think that everyone like to not to take too much risk. We've tightened with compliance, backups etc, so risk is important part of the job. By building a small lab with an alternative hypervisor solution, you'll get use to it, explore the tooling, create and (or) migrate some test VMs, test performance, monitoring, backups, restores. You have to do it by yourself. Even if I publish the best class review about some alternative platform, you'll probably still have doubts, you'll need to lab it!
Start small, grow bigger – put some small workloads on this alternative lab system, migrate some monitoring VMs, some non-critical workloads, test whether you can restart if one of the hosts goes down (HA). The alternative solution should have migration tool build-in. If not, you can use one of V2V or P2V software around (Hypervisor switch with StarWind V2V/P2V converter) If the alternative solution has vMotion (it should imho), test it to see the performance degradation. Test backups and or replication (if included). Check with your favorite backup vendor whether they're planning to support this solution.
Validate migration scheme – once those testings done, time to grow this lab system into a small production system. Continue migrate more VMs to it while backing them up. Reconfigure your backup software so you don't lose any backups and stay in compliance.
We will still be monitoring this space, and over the next couple of weeks/months, we try to look into alternatives, like many of you do to. I alredy looked at some, but needs to gather more data about about some solutions such as XCP-NG (Frenchies!!), VergeIO, Nutanix (needs hardware to buy with), KVM, Proxmox VE, Hyper-V, and more….
- XCP-NG Virtualization Platform with management by Xen Orchestra
- Another VMware Alternative – Verge.IO
More posts from ESX Virtualization:
- Best VMware Alternatives – ESXi FREE is DEAD
- vSphere 8 U2 Identity Federation with Entra ID/Azure AD – vSphere never sees the users credentials
- VMware vCenter Server Converter 6.4 Released
- VMware vSphere 8.0 U2 Released – ESXi 8.0 U2 and VCSA 8.0 U2 How to update
- What’s the purpose of those 17 virtual hard disks within VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) 8.0?
- VMware vSphere 8 Update 2 New Upgrade Process for vCenter Server details
- VMware vSAN 8 Update 2 with many enhancements announced during VMware Explore
- What’s New in VMware Virtual Hardware v21 and vSphere 8 Update 2?
- Homelab v 8.0
- vSphere 8.0 Page
- Veeam Bare Metal Recovery Without using USB Stick (TIP)
- ESXi 7.x to 8.x upgrade scenarios
- A really FREE VPN that doesn’t suck
- Patch your ESXi 7.x again
- VMware vCenter Server 7.03 U3g – Download and patch
- Upgrade VMware ESXi to 7.0 U3 via command line
- VMware vCenter Server 7.0 U3e released – another maintenance release fixing vSphere with Tanzu
- What is The Difference between VMware vSphere, ESXi and vCenter
- How to Configure VMware High Availability (HA) Cluster