Historically, VMware has had a reputation as the preferred server virtualisation solution in the large enterprise market. It’s been renowned for its performance, stability and slick management tools, but also a premium price point - not least when compared against open-source options like OpenStack.
But is this a harmful myth, or is it true to say the hypervisor is a better fit for a large enterprise with a well-resourced IT function than a small business with less cash to go around? And is this also valid when VMware cloud hosting is bought through a third-party provider rather than used as the basis of a private cloud environment?
In our view, there’s actually a lot to be said for VMware as a small business solution. While it may not have the upfront commercial appeal of an open-source alternative, it’s still a smart option that can deliver significant ROI for small business cloud hosting users. Here’s why.
VMware receives a lot of attention for its array of first and third-party management tools, which allow users to tweak their environments to quite an extensive degree and perform quite sophisticated actions without ever taking their virtual machines offline.
Before you start poking around under the hood, however, it’s worth bearing in mind that VMware also offers exceptional out-of-the-box usability. While some hypervisors take a lot of time and a lot of technical skill to set up, tools like vCloud Director are quick to learn and do a good job of keeping to a minimum the number of hurdles you need to jump to spin up a production-ready server.
For a time or resource-limited small business, this alone can justify the price of admission for a VMware cloud hosting solution.
Quality of management tools
When you do reach the point where you want to exercise more control over your virtual environment, VMware’s management tools make this process simple and convenient. The aforementioned vCloud Director, for example, provides a single management portal for virtual machine provisioning and cataloguing, load balancing, hot-adding memory and CPU, security, and creating snapshots.
For the small business user, this means a minimal admin overhead and a low barrier to entry for some of the platform’s more sophisticated, value-add features.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that your experience of a hypervisor - as with any complex software tool - can be very easily coloured by the availability of support, documentation and an active user community. This is all the more true if you’re not a seasoned cloud professional with previous experience of managing cloud environments, and don’t plan to spend on new staff or skills in the near future.
When you invest in VMware cloud hosting, you unlock a vast support network that makes it comparatively painless to upskill and solve complex problems in your cloud environment. For a small business without much resource to go around, and with even less inclination to waste time troubleshooting, that’s a big plus.
Consider too, that you'll be able to enhance that support network by choosing a provider that can offer the knowledge and experience of VMware trained and certified support engineers - another big advantage that will help you to get the most out of your cloud deployments.