When we talk about servers today, we automatically associate them with virtualization. Gone are the days when we used bare-metal servers to run just one application. With the ease of virtualization and better use of server resources, it has become almost mandatory to use your server with some virtualization software.

Currently, two big names are leading the way when it comes to virtualization: VMware and Proxmox. Even more so after the news of VMware‘s sale to Broadcom, this subject has become even more hotly debated. And the question on most people’s minds is: VMware or Proxmox? Which virtualizer to choose? Which is the “best”?

Throughout this post, we’ll make some comparisons between the two virtualizers so that you can decide which one best suits your needs and, of course, get to know the main features of each one!

Overview of services

Proxmox is an open-source virtualizer updated and maintained by Proxmox. It is based on Debian and uses KVM/QEMU as a virtualizer and LXC for containers. It stands out because it’s free and has a wide range of features, so the limit to how much you can grow and evolve is directly linked to your knowledge of the tool. Proxmox also stands out when it comes to compatibility with older hardware, as it is directly linked to the Linux kernel being used.

VMware is a proprietary code virtualizer and has recently been updated and maintained by Broadcom. Currently, it is no longer free, but only requires a license to use it. It uses proprietary server virtualization technologies as a virtualizer, and its high performance and stability are undeniable. It stands out for its simple interface and features that add a lot to large scenarios. The compatibility part of VMware depends on the version it is in, and the newer the version, the less compatibility with hardware considered to be old.

Ease of use

Proxmox, at first glance, may seem confusing and difficult, especially since some configurations require integration with the CLI. However, once you get used to its interface and the functions you need, everything becomes easier. It also has excellent documentation that covers all the available functions. It also has paid support, which users can choose whether or not to purchase, and has a good active community.

VMware has a user-friendly and more objective interface. With just a few clicks, you can get a VM up and running. On the other hand, if you want access to other features, you will need to purchase a new license and/or configure other software (e.g. VEEAM, vCenter). It has excellent documentation and several KBs (knowledge base) explaining various problems that can occur.


Both services perform well. VMware stands out for running its OS in RAM memory, thus allowing you to better navigate its interface. Other than that, both are very close in terms of performance in mixed scenarios, using Linux and Windows VMs and different types of storage.


Both virtualizers allow you to increase the resources (CPU/MEM/DISK) of your VMs without any problems, and if necessary, even increase internal resources such as adding more space to some of your VMs’ datastores or disks.

Now, if you acquire another server and want to increase your server infrastructure, Proxmox handles the addition of a new server to your system better. While in VMware this server would be isolated and a new service (vCenter) would have to be configured to unite the servers under its management, in Proxmox all you have to do is create a Cluster and register the new server in the cluster (literally just these two configurations).

Features and functionality

Both services have similar features and functionalities. In the case of VMware, access to them will depend on the license you have, while in Proxmox it will depend on whether or not the version you are on has support for it.

Examples of some of the features they have in both:

  • Cluster 
    • Accessible via vCenter in the VMware scenario.
    • Accessible from any Proxmox node, no additional software required.
  • H.A.
  • Storage 
    • Proxmox: LVM, LVM-thin, iSCSI/kernel, iSCSI/libiscsi, Ceph/RBD, ZFS over iSCSI, ZFS (local), directory, NFS, CIFS, GlusterFS, Proxmox Backup Server
  • Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI)
  • Backup/Restore 
    • Proxmox: native (Proxmox Backup Server / PBS)
    • VMware: Need a license or third-party software (VEEAM or others)
  • Live Restore
  • Migration
  • Live Migration
  • Storage Live Migration
  • SnapShot
  • Replication
  • Template and Clone


We did a simulation for a server with 1 CPU (Socket) and these were the costs

  • VMware Cloud Foundation: US$1400
  • VMware vSphere Foundation: US$540

For Proxmox you don’t need a license to use it, only direct support from the manufacturer if you want to.

  • Proxmox VE Basic Subscription 1 CPU/year (Optional): € 340.00 per year (R$ 1800)

Case studies and practical examples

Let’s assume a few scenarios and understand where it is interesting to implement VMware or Proxmox.

PS: I’m going to draw attention to the on-premises scenarios of Internet providers!

Scenario 1:

I have a used server from before 2015 and would like to add it to production to virtualize 5 non-critical VMs.

VMware scenario:

  • Purchase license
  • Talvez não conseguir executar a versão mais recente por conta de incompatibilidade de hardware! 
    • CPU not supported
    • Network card not supported
  • Configuring VMs
  • Configure a backup scenario using one more VM with the VEEAM Backup software (Free Version Supports Backup/Replication of 10 VMs)
  • Configure a Zabbix Agent on the Backup VM to monitor the Backup.
  • Monitoring via API (Integration by Zabbix)

Proxmox scenario:

  • Install Proxmox
  • Configuring VMs
  • Configure the tool’s native backup
  • Monitoring via API (Integration by Zabbix)

In other words, in both scenarios you will be able to implement your scenario. Of course, in the case of VMware, in addition to the price of the license, you have to pay attention to the model of your server and especially its year. Very old servers are not supported by the latest versions of VMware, and you will have to make more investments to support the backup scenario if you have more than 10 VMs in your scenario.

Upgrade Scenario 1:

I saw that the virtualization worked very well, and now I want to add more VMs, but now there will be critical VMs, and to run these VMs I upgraded and bought a new server.

VMware scenario:

  • Purchase license for new server
  • Configuring VMs
  • Add VMs to backup policies (if more than 10 VMs, I need to buy a VEEAM license)
  • If I want to move to a cluster scenario to improve my management, I need to purchase the license for the vCenter software
  • Setting up a new VM for vCenter
  • Cadastrar os servidores no vCenter 
    • PS: If vCenter stops, I don’t have access to my cluster, but I still have access to my servers.

Proxmox scenario:

  • Install Proxmox on the new server
  • Configuring VMs
  • Add VMs to the backup policy
  • You can set up a Proxmox Backup Server and share it between servers.
  • If you want, you can create a Cluster and add both servers.
  • With the cluster configured, you can migrate VMs from one side to the other.
  • As you have two servers in a cluster, you could think about setting up High Availability (H.A) .
  • As we have two servers in a cluster, you can configure replication if you are using storage with a ZFS file system.


Anyway, we’ve seen that Proxmox and VMware are very similar and can deliver the same result, as long as you meet a few requirements!

It all depends on the size of your infrastructure and its criticality. The first thing we have to take into account is the investment I’m going to make in licenses. If I choose to use VMware, what if that investment couldn’t be more useful in some other area (for example, upgrading some part of my internal server)?

My recommendation is this: if your infrastructure is 100%, with new servers that don’t need to be upgraded, and you can afford the licenses, go with VMware, because it will give you the best in the virtualization world.

However, if you have a small/medium-sized infrastructure, Proxmox will serve you VERY well, as we already have access to all its features from the moment we install it. Unlike VMware, which requires us to invest in licenses, we can take that investment and improve our infrastructure, whether we’re buying new disks, memory or even a new server.


In the comparison between VMware and Proxmox, the right choice depends on the size and needs of your infrastructure. If your structure is robust and you can afford to invest in licenses, VMware offers the best in virtualization. For small/medium businesses, Proxmox stands out, delivering all the functionality right from installation. Whichever path you choose, Made4it is ready to support you in implementing or migrating from VMware or Proxmox. Count on us to optimize your virtualization and boost your infrastructure.