I meant to write about these guys earlier, but a vacation (and general laziness) kept it from happening in a timely manner. I recently had a briefing with Convirture, a startup that is striving to bring the full slate of virtualization bells, whistles, and management tools to the Xen and KVM hypervisors. Our pal TPM wrote a …
VMware is for rich fools
having used all of the VM systems out there it seems that VMware is there for the rich and lazy. Not only do you pay for any of the useful basics but as your system gets more convoluted, the costings only go up.
compare this to 'free' options such as KVM and XEN - both are just as capable of host virtualisation - but you get some added bonuses for free too - such as being able to monitor (eg via SNMP) the underlying 'metal' via the ring0 host. you can do live host moving (what vmware gives the buzzword vmotion) with KVM and XEN. it just takes , gasp, some knowledge..and horror, command line actions...oh, unless you pay for some fancier GUI options.
oh, these events can also be triggered automatically with scripts if, eg the local environment gets too hot...or the UPS has just kicked in - features that VMware charge for again.
in the current climate, I'd say that any public sector bodies that use our tax money must make a damn seriously hard and good case for using VMware rather than the free options.
And the free options...
... will keep us PCI compliant. I don't think a QSA would go with that one.
VMWare is for the rich, not fools
Just try scaling up your home-grown shell scripts to an enterprise-scale deployment of hundreds of boxes and thousands of VMs, all of which require dynamic load management, where the business cost of an hour's downtime is most of the cost of your annual licensing. THEN tell spending money on your VI is for fools.
Also when you account for the sort of management tools you need in a large scale deployment, the costs go from free to rather a lot - even when using 'free' software. It's also worth noting you can run ESXi on a box for nothing...
Xen scales rather well - Amazon EC-2 cloud for example..
The issue with Xen is that for the longest time it had zero practical support for non-*nix guests. That limitation is long gone.
KVM is getting more linux happy press, but has a long way to go. For now Xen (Not to be confused with Citrix's XenServer) is a great choice even though the hardcore want KVM (despite its relaitve immaturity)
Convirture do a nice pretty front end to KVM/Xen that suits the CLIphobic, but if you're going to build large scale then it's pretty much irrelevant.
Re: Xen scales rather well
For people running virtual machines on the desktop, KVM is far easier than XEN. XEN requires major customizations to the host OS.
I realize that XEN is targeting servers, but I could not get video drivers working properly with XEN on the desktop, and fairly or not, it left me with a bad taste.
Contrast that with KVM, one can trivially boot a KVM virtual machine off a cdrom or hard disk. It's a one-liner with no config files. My personal preference is that the virtual instances will run as well on my desktop as they do on the server, KVM does that naturally.