ESX, GSX, or Virtual Server?

Posted on 2006-05-23
Last Modified: 2013-11-16
Hello Everyone,

           I am currently researching Virtual Server products in order to choose which product the company I work for will specialize in selling to clients. Our clients range in size from small local business (10-50 users) to large firms (1,000+ users) and everything in between. There are of course the big three Virtualization platforms (ESX, GSX, and Virtual Server) and I am currently looking through documentation comparing and describling each one. However I also wanted the opinion of experts that have used these products in the real world rather than just the opinion of white papers. Our customers are 99% Microsoft so these Virtual Servers will be running Microsoft Oprerating Systems (2000, 2003 server). Any input on the Pros and Cons of each of any of these platforms is much apreciated! I wll of course split the points with a grade of "A" for anyone that takes the time to provide their input on these platforms.
Question by:MitchV85
    LVL 32

    Assisted Solution

    I can narrow it down for you.  GSX is gone:
    LVL 32

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    I've not used the ESX Server but one advantage to it is that since it runs natively on the hardware platform, no Windows license is needed for the host machine.  Of course that's one reason why MS included Virtual Server with Server 2003 R2 but if you don't have R2 (or Software Assurance and can get it) you don't get this advantage.

    One drawback to ESX is that not all possible hardware that works with Windows Server 2003 (and therefore a MS VS host) will be supported.  Be sure your intended hardware platform is supported by ESX if you plan to go that route.

    I like the VMWare VMs better thant he MS VS.  It just seems to me that they run better.  Benchmarks are not so different but just the subjective "feel" of the VM is better with VMWare.  Not sure why but if you try one and then the other on the same host hardware you'll see it also.

    As always, MS support is what it is.  Bad for everyone but if this site is already deep into MS software, they know the drill.  VMWare was pretty good until the EMC takeover.  Now they have "ivory tower" support.  You get nothing without a svc. contract.  I've found that user and news group support and information is better for VMWare but I think most such issues are VMWare Workstation related.  Not nearly as many ESX installations out there.

    I've worked a bit with MS VS and don't like the web-based interface for administration. Nothing really wrong with it but I just think it's clunky.

    Bottom line?   I think this is the key:

    "Our customers are 99% Microsoft..."

    You had better have some solid technical and/or business reasons to upset that status quo.  Not sure that anything I've seen would swing the balance strongly enough over to VMWare to suggest you go with them vs. MS.
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