How do I choose the right virtualization solution?

Being on the vendor side & visiting many customers a day who is looking to find out which virtualization solution fit them best has made me used to the question:  “Which virtualization solution is the right one for me?”

I wish there was an easy answer, where I can say this solution or that solution is best for every customer. As each customer is unique & has its own unique requirements there is no one solution that fit all. Below are few points I always bring to my customers attentions to take into consideration when helping them decide on the best virtualizaiton solution for their enviornment & thought might help many of you taking the right decision.

1-The customer has to size their environment & to decide if they are going to use virtualization for the purpose of production, test environment, development, or several of the previous purposes.

2- The customer has to figure out what features are critical to his business in a virtualization solution, which one are nice to have & which one are not required at all.

3- The customer has to consider the total cost of the virtualization solution including management software, hardware, services, as well as ongoing maintainence & operation. Its very important to learn how to think outside the initial cost of the hyper-visor as that can be just a small fraction of the full solution total cost of ownership & one area where many vendors would love to mislead customers.

4- The customer must look at their virtualization solution vendor long term vision & history. Is the vendor product well tested in the past in production environments at similar companies? Is this product still being developed & will be supported & enriched with the required features in the future.

5- The customer must check the ecosystem of software, hardware and services partners that support the virtualization vendor you are considering. No vendor can provide every single tool on their own, so its important to ensure your vendor has reliable partners that will enrich its functionality to meet your needs.

6- Don’t only consider your today needs, but ensure that you have an upgrade path with vendor you are considering to meet all your future needs.

7- Always remember being forced to switch between virtualization vendors in the future can be too expensive, so ensure you study your choices carefully against your road map.

I hope this help you make the right choice for your enviornment. If you have learned one lesson of this post then make sure its to choose your virtualizaiton solution carefully.


  1. One thing to keep in mind is the hardware that is being used. If they are using brand new servers, all options are open. If they are looking to reclaim a server or two for their “initial” VM deployment, HyperV/Xen/VirtualBox all require CPUs that are VT enabled. VMWare works fine on first generation Opteron’s from 5 years ago run ESX4 fine.

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