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New Survey Ranks Top Hypervisor Options as Users Seek VMware Alternatives

February 2024 by iXsystems®,

the company behind TrueNAS Open Storage, recently conducted a community survey
with 741 respondents that revealed which hypervisors VMware customers are
considering most as they seek alternative options to maintain business
operations. Considering TrueNAS is designed to provide storage for any
hypervisor of choice, the survey aimed to capture insights on user preferences
for non-VMware hypervisors in this next era.

With the move by many organizations away from Broadcom as the company
shifts its strategy for VMware post-acquisition, users have begun seeking alternatives in an effort to
avoid steep price increases and the end of VMware’s free ESXi hypervisor. In addition to cost advantages, Open Source software infrastructure is
easy to evaluate with community engagement and documentation available, and
without need for special hardware or specific software

For those who can afford it, some will continue with VMware. For the
majority who cannot, or have the flexibility to opt out of an uncertain future
in the ecosystem, there are a range of options including Microsoft Hyper-V and
several solutions based on either KVM or Xen, which are Open Source. Many are
considering Open Source alternatives with permissive licenses and collaborative
business models that provide organizations with the confidence that they will
not be locked into or out of the technology in the future.

All major commercial and open source choices were presented in the
survey. According to the results, 17.8% of respondents are considering sticking
with VMware despite its higher cost. The top alternatives identified by the
survey were based on KVM, or the “Kernel-based Virtual Machine”, which is a free
and open-source module for the Linux kernel that allows the Linux kernel to act
as a hypervisor. Based on Linux, KVM is the integrated hypervisor for TrueNAS.
58.8% of respondents are considering KVM-based alternatives, contrasting with
deployments of other hypervisors such as Hyper-V (11.9%) and Xen-based
hypervisors, including XCP-ng (11.5%).

"Open-source Linux has become the dominant operating system by far, just
about everywhere. It includes KVM (hypervisor), Kubernetes, containers, and
more.” states Marc Staimer, President, Dragon Slayer Consulting. “Alternative
open source hypervisors have proven to be strong viable alternatives, most of
which are based on Linux KVM, just as open-source storage alternatives such as
TrueNAS have become very viable options to VMware vSAN. Again, most of those
alternatives are Linux based.”

The survey’s findings underscore the growing role of Open Source
infrastructure as a viable alternative to proprietary technology when vendors
choose to focus more on profitability and less on the success of those who have
standardized on their offerings. In addition to becoming prevalent in nearly all
areas of infrastructure, Open Source alternatives have the advantage of
interoperability, making them easy to test and evaluate with no need for special
hardware or specific software licenses. The added advantages of having community
engagement and documentation make Open Source infrastructure faster and easier
to integrate and manage in existing environments.

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