Outranking
Proxmox vs ESXi

Is Proxmox an alternative to ESXi?

Introduction

Virtualization is a hypervisor software technology that allows one physical host to run many virtual machines as guest operating systems. It’s trendy for server consolidation.

The VMware solution has the top spot by market share. However, VMware is getting more expensive in maintenance fees. Management realizes costs are climbing practically every year. Is it still worth it? 

Proxmox is a complete open-source server management platform for enterprise virtualization. It is an alternative to ESXI, running Linux with a straightforward, powerful user interface.

Both hypervisors have a bare-metal installer that directly installs on the physical hardware, including all necessary management tools.

Proxmox vs ESXi is a hot topic in IT departments. What should I choose? In this article, I will try to answer this question or at least give you my view. 

What Is a hypervisor?

A hypervisor is software that runs on top of the operating system, isolating it from the hardware and enabling multiple virtual machines to run concurrently on the same hardware.

A hypervisor is a virtual machine monitor that interfaces between the guest operating system and the host operating system. A hypervisor provides the guest operating system with access to hardware resources and also manages the virtual machine’s memory by controlling its

What is VMware ESXi?

ESXi provides a hypervisor for server virtualization. Without running an operating system, ESXi runs on bare metal. It contains its Linux-based operating system. The primary purpose of ESXi is to provide a hardware abstraction layer between the guest OSes and the underlying hardware. This means that all guests are managed through a single interface which makes administration easier. In addition, ESXi supports multiple platforms such as Intel processor X86 and X64, ARMv7, PowerPC, IA32e, SPARC, etc.

Vmware Vcenter Server is the central management point for all your hosts or ESXi server. It’s a web-based management interface.

VMware Vsphere is a set of tools that includes vCenter Server, vMotion, Storage vMotion, Fault Tolerance, High Availability, and much more. Vcenter Server makes it easy to manage all the tools and your hosts and virtual servers from a central location. 

Vsphere offers everything you need for perfect virtualization infrastructure. It’s available in different editions. Essential, Standard and Enterprise. 

Features found with ESXi 7.0. Some features are only available in the Enterprise edition.

  • High Availability (HA)
  • online migration feature – Storage Vmotion for disk and Vmotion for processor
  • Backup and Restore
  • VM encryption
  • Instant Clone
  • Distributed Switch
  • Server Profile
  • Host Profile
  • Guest tools

The current version is ESXi 7.0, always the latest version and built you find here

What is Proxmox VE?

Proxmox Cluster
Cluster

Proxmox Virtual Environment (VE) is a Debian GNU/Linux distribution designed to host virtualized environments. Proxmox uses KVM instead of Xen or other proprietary solutions. It was created because of the lack of support for KVM in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. In addition, it is a lightweight alternative to other virtualization platforms. Deployed from scratch in less than ten minutes and has an easy-to-use web interface for managing both the host system and all of its guests, further offering Linux Containers (LXC) as “Proxmox VE Clones” to create containers. Proxmox can be used as a single virtualization platform for small and large enterprises, educational institutes, and home users with distributed IT projects.

Developed by Proxmox Server Solutions in Austria under the Internet Foundation of Austria and is released under the GNU General Public License. With VMware ESXi, you can run multiple operating systems (OS) and virtual machines. However, it is not as customizable as Proxmox. 

When deployed, the resource manager, Proxmox VE HA Manager, monitors all VMs and containers on the whole cluster and automatically gets into action if one fails. There is also an integrated live/online migration feature. This enables the movement of VMs from one Proxmox VE cluster node to another without any downtime.

Several features make it a viable alternative to VMware ESXi.

Here are some features:

  • Server virtualization
  • Kernel-based Virtual machine (KVM)
  • Container-based Linux virtual machine (LXRC
  • web-based management interface
  • Cluster file system
  • Live online migration
  • Command-line interface (CLI)
  • REST API
  • High Availability cluster (HA)
  • Bridged networking
  • lots of storage types like ceph, ZFS, NFS, CIFs, iSCSI, and much more
  • Backup and Restore
  • Distributed Firewall
  • IPv4 and IPv6 support
  • more features here

The current version is 7.01.

Proxmox vs ESXi - Backup Server
Backup Server

What are Proxmox VE advantages vs. ESXi?

Why choose Proxmox VE instead of Vmware ESXi?

If you’re already familiar with VMware, you may wonder what the difference between them is. Well, here are some key differences between Proxmox and VMware ESXi.

  • Open Source – Proxmox VE is open source software meaning anyone can download the latest version and modify it however they see fit. There are even third-party companies offering commercial services. VMware requires annual subscription fees depending on how large your environment is.
  • Security – Because Proxmox uses Linux-based operating systems, it’s much more secure than traditional hypervisors such as ESXi. As a bonus, since all VMs run within containers, this also means that any malicious code running inside one VM will not be able to affect others.
  • Availability – Proxmox VE offers built-in High Availability features while ESXi doesn’t (additional cost). Also, unlike ESXi, Proxmox VE lets administrators configure multiple nodes simultaneously. So if one goes offline, another automatically steps in.
  • Support – The community behind Proxmox has been around for years now, so you’ll have plenty of resources at hand should you ever encounter problems.
  • Customization – One of the most significant advantages of Proxmox is that it gives admins complete control over the entire system. They can customize almost every aspect, including hardware, OS, networking, storage, etc. All these options make it easier for Software development to build exactly what you need rather than shoehorn something into a prebuilt image.

License options for Proxmox and VMware Vsphere

Proxmox VE is open-source software. Everyone can download and use the product for free. Purchasing support gives licensees access to the enterprise repository with automatic periodic updates and support. The support tickets with a 2-hour response time are included in the highest licensing tier. In addition, supports includes technical assistance, installation help, troubleshooting, and training.

However, ESXi is only available in a free trial version, after which subscriptions are required. Standard and Enterprise Plus are the two paid licenses. For up to three hosts, there is another edition Essential available with limited features available. 

There are three different levels of support available from VMware. These include standard, professional, or advanced. Each tier comes with its benefits. With standard support, users get basic phone support, email responses, and online forums. Professional help adds live chat and ticketing capabilities. Advanced support allows customers to receive 24/7 telephone support, remote desktop sessions, and video conferencing.

A good articel about VMware Editions

How to migrate a Proxmox VM to ESXi

This article tells you how to convert a Proxmox VM to VMware in 3 steps

My Thoughts on the product features and what to choose

The decision to choose Proxmox or VMware ESXI is not a one-size-fits-all decision. What is most important is your organization’s financial resources. It is essential to consider how your choices will impact your organization with the two significant players differentiating themselves in features, pricing, and support options.

VMware ESXi is a top-rated virtualization platform that provides enhanced performance and usability. If your company can manage getting locked into VMware, you may benefit from the increased performance and usability. However, Proxmox is a cheaper alternative that also offers comparable features in comparison to VMware.

Suppose you have more experience or internal resources than money. In that case, Proxmox may be a better option for your company because the features and pricing of Proxmox are more attractive than VMware.

I think in most cases, Vmware Vsphere is the better choice with its enterprise features. VMware is a big company, and the software suite is well documented, and you find a vast knowledge base online. ESXi is a very popular virtualization software. In addition, Veeam (third-party tools) provides a rich and solid backup infrastructure for Veeam. 

A perfect barebone ESXi host

Are you looking for an inexpensive ESXi host for a small environment or homelab? You need look no further than the Supermicro barebone E300-9D. It’s a beautiful small computer which offers all the features you need for an ESXi host. It runs ESXi 7.0 right out of the box

Q&A section

What is the best hypervisor for a homelab in 2021

Proxmox also markets strongly in this sub, so the best answer is likely to be that one. As long as you don’t care about learning an enterprise hypervisor and it’s primarily used for home labs, it’s okay. Since it is essentially just a frontend for Debian with many virtualization packages installed, it is messy. You might need to SSH into the host and edit config files in Linux to adjust options that aren’t present in the web interface.

How to Get Started with Proxmox

Making the transition to Proxmox (and KVM in general) more effortless, it is advisable, to begin with, Linux basics and learn LVM (a thorough understanding of LVM is vital). The web UI is generally intuitive and easy to use.

What is type1 hypervisor?

directly on the host hardware. The operating system allows bare metal servers (hosts or nodes) to be managed individually with one or more virtual machines each.

What are the limitations of free ESXi

must, therefore, implement file-based backup using native backup applications. In addition, you do not have additional functionality with the vCenter appliance. As a result, I don’t recommend using the free version in a business environment. 

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