Virtualisation is a widely used technology for businesses of all sizes, and VMware has established itself as the leading platform with its robust solutions. However, other emerging platforms like Proxmox offer cost-effective alternatives and compelling features. For those who are experienced with VMware, exploring Proxmox can be a challenge, but it also presents an opportunity to discover its advantages, disparities, and features. This journey aims to provide a closer look at Proxmox from the perspective of a VMware user, to help them make an informed decision.

Understanding the Basics

Before we begin comparing, let’s take a moment to understand what Proxmox is. Proxmox VE, or Virtual Environment, is an open-source virtualisation platform that combines two virtualisation technologies: KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) for virtual machines and LXC (Linux Containers) for lightweight containerisation. It is equipped with a user-friendly web-based management interface, which simplifies the deployment, management, and monitoring of virtualised environments.

Key Differences

When moving from VMware to Proxmox, one of the most noticeable differences is the technology used. VMware relies primarily on its proprietary hypervisor, whereas Proxmox utilizes open-source technologies like KVM and LXC. This difference in technology can impact certain functionalities and performance characteristics. However, it also provides the advantage of greater flexibility and customisation options.

Another difference lies in the management interface. VMware has its vSphere platform, which is renowned for its polished interface and comprehensive feature set. Conversely, Proxmox has a functional web-based interface that may not match the level of refinement seen in vSphere. Nevertheless, Proxmox’s interface is easy to navigate and intuitive, and it provides most of the essential features required for virtualisation management.

Features and Capabilities

Proxmox is a virtualization platform that offers a wide range of features that are suitable for both small businesses and enterprise users. These features include live migration, high availability, built-in backup and restore capabilities, and support for a variety of guest operating systems that can accommodate diverse workloads.

One of the areas where Proxmox shines is its native support for containerisation through LXC. Unlike VMware’s container solutions such as VMware Tanzu, Proxmox’s integration of LXC provides a lightweight and efficient way to deploy and manage containers alongside virtual machines. This makes it an ideal choice for organizations that want to adopt containerisation without the overhead of traditional virtualisation.


VMware, a stalwart in the virtualization domain, boasts an extensive array of features such as Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), High Availability (HA), Fault Tolerance, Live Migration of VMs, Storage vMotion, and rich API support. These features empower administrators with robust resource management, fault resilience, and seamless VM mobility.

Proxmox, emerging as a formidable competitor, offers analogous functionalities including High Clustering, Live Migration, Live Storage Migration of VMs, High Availability, Workload Balancing, and Rich API Control. With feature parity to VMware, Proxmox caters to diverse virtualization requirements while maintaining cost-effectiveness.


VMware is known for its unmatched scalability, making it a trusted solution for large-scale virtual environments worldwide. ESXi can effortlessly manage thousands of VMs, while vCenter can seamlessly orchestrate hundreds of hosts and many thousands of VMs. On the other hand, although highly scalable, Proxmox is not as widely adopted in massive or intricate environments. Nonetheless, it offers functionalities similar to vCenter and can efficiently scale to accommodate extensive physical hosts and VM workloads.


VMware offers a wide range of professional support services, comprehensive training programs, certifications, publicly available knowledge bases, and a large community that fosters a robust ecosystem for users. On the other hand, Proxmox relies mainly on community support but also provides professional assistance through Proxmox Server Solutions GmbH, which offers four support tiers tailored to different business needs.


There have been recent changes in VMware’s licensing which may make the ESXi and vCenter less accessible to many users. Broadcom has recently decided to restrict access to the ESXi free hypervisor, which could potentially create financial challenges for businesses. VMware’s offerings such as VCF and VVF come with a price tag of $350 per core per year and $135 per core per year, respectively.

On the other hand, Proxmox VE is a cost-effective alternative, offering all features for free. Professional services are available for a fee, which can significantly enhance the overall effectiveness. Proxmox’s Enterprise pricing at €1020 per CPU per year offers competitive value, catering to a diverse range of budgetary considerations.


VMware employs a type-1 hypervisor with a lightweight kernel, operating in a closed-source environment. This architecture emphasizes efficiency and security, albeit with limited transparency into the underlying codebase.

Proxmox leverages a type-1 hypervisor based on Debian Linux, embracing open-source principles. Proxmox offers a more transparent and customisable architecture with a custom Linux kernel, catering to users seeking flexibility and community-driven innovation.


Both VMware and Proxmox provide similar performance metrics, making it possible to utilize hardware resources efficiently and ensuring optimal operation of virtual machines. However, ESXi has documented limits on the amount of RAM per host and hosts per cluster, while Proxmox does not have such restrictions. This makes Proxmox more flexible when it comes to scaling and allocating resources.


VMware’s web-based GUI, which is based on HTML5, simplifies the management of hosts and virtual machines. It provides an intuitive interface for administrators. However, the ESXi web GUI is designed to perform only basic management tasks. As a result, users may have limited experience with it.

Proxmox’s web GUI, which is based on the ExtJS JavaScript framework, offers comprehensive management capabilities. It allows administrators to manage hosts, VMs, LXC containers, and clusters. The platform includes features like live migration and backup functionalities, which provide a seamless and user-friendly experience for administrators.


If you are a user of VMware and you want to explore other virtualization platforms, Proxmox is a great alternative to consider. Proxmox offers an impressive range of features and capabilities, although its technology and interface may differ from what you are used to in VMware. While VMware is still a major player in the virtualization space, Proxmox can be a suitable option for some users and organizations looking to expand their virtualization toolkit. So, if you want to try out other platforms, Proxmox is definitely worth considering.