Blog New Survey Ranks Top Hypervisor Options as Users Seek VMware Alternatives

Mar 25, 2021

Feedback from Over 700 Respondents Highlights Leading vSphere
Replacements within the TrueNAS Open Storage Community

San Jose, CA – February 28, 2024. 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 licenses.

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.

Hypervisors Alternatives

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.


About iXsystems and TrueNAS

iX is an Open Source pioneer and the company behind TrueNAS, the world’s most deployed storage software. Relied upon by millions in all 195 countries, TrueNAS is an award-winning universal data platform used by a majority of Fortune 500TM companies. The platform harnesses the power of the legendary ZFS file system to provide scale-up or scale-out unified storage with the reliability and performance demanded by virtualization, backup, and many other data-heavy workloads. As an alternative to legacy storage systems that are proprietary, restrictive, and often overpriced, TrueNAS helps organizations modernize how they store and protect data by leveraging open storage to simplify operations and drastically reduce cost.

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