Competitive review

Red Hat Virtualization vs Vmware Vsphere: A Comparison


Red Hat® Virtualization is an open, easy to use, efficient infrastructure and centralized management platform for virtualized Linux® and Windows workloads. Built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) technologies, it allows customers to virtualize traditional applications and build a foundation for cloud-native and container-based workloads. 

Red Hat Virtualization offers a high-performance, highly available platform with built-in security for business-critical workloads, providing a stable, scalable infrastructure. Offering integrated management with a self-service user portal, Red Hat Virtualization helps customers increase efficiency through consolidation and provides predictable, virtual infrastructure value and costs. 

This document compares the technical features and pricing of Red Hat Virtualization 4.1 and VMware vSphere 6. It is not an exhaustive list for either product, but it explains features that are asked about most frequently. 


A subscription to Red Hat Virtualization, or any Red Hat solution, goes beyond gaining access to the software. Red Hat’s stable code is backed by a dedicated team of engineers who monitor, identify, and address risks to protect your data—and your customers’ data—from meaningful security concerns. If you need to open a support case, it will be routed to a product specialist. Resolutions enable future updates to our products, making you an active participant in improving open source technology. In addition, Red Hat publishes thousands of solutions in our community-driven Knowledgebase so you can learn from others, resolve issues yourself, and proactively manage your systems. 

Benefits of a subscription include: 

  • Technology—Security, stability, and reliability 
  • Assurance—Enterprise-grade certainty
  • Expertise—Experience you can trust


When comparing Red Hat Virtualization to VMware vSphere, Red Hat Virtualization offers a number of benefits, as detailed in Figure 1, including: 

  • Significantly lower total cost of ownership (TCO). 
  • No capital expenses (CapEx). 
  • Operating expenses (OpEx) charged via subscription—VMware charges via support. 
  • Subscription sold per socket pair—VMware licenses are sold per single socket. 
  • No extra charges for management. 

On top of VMware’s higher cost, customers also have to purchase licenses and subscriptions for operating systems. Red Hat provides you with the support you need at a much lower cost than what you would pay to get both the product and support from VMware.


image container Figure 1. VMware vSphere 6 Enterprise vs. Red Hat Virtualization 4 price comparison. Note: These are list prices only. Discounts would be applied depending on volume, length of contract, and other factors.

Compared with other leading virtualization solutions, Red Hat Virtualization delivers a lower TCO year over year, helping to reduce OpEx budget pressure and concerns. 

TCO results

• 103% return on investment (ROI) 
• US $447,665 net present value (NPV) 
• 5.6 months payback period

IMPROVED SECURITY Red Hat Virtualization includes sVirt and Security-Enhanced Linux® (SELinux), technologies in Red Hat Enterprise Linux that were specifically developed to detect and prevent complex security threats present in today’s IT environment.
HIGH PERFORMANCE Red Hat Virtualization has demonstrated consistent leadership in industry-accepted virtualization benchmarks—SPECvirtensuring better virtual machine (VM) performance, faster management control, and greater scalability responsiveness.
NO VENDOR LOCK-IN Red Hat Virtualization provides freedom and flexibility to support your IT infrastructure. It is an open, software-defined solution. Community-designed with the continuous input and participation of Red Hat  engineers, Red Hat Virtualization delivers on the value of a Red Hat subscription with a certified ecosystem of software and hardware partners. Provided application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs) help to extend and support the Red Hat solution to your existing and preferred management tools.


FEATURE VSPHERE Red Hat Virtualization Manager NOTE
User interface (UI) vCenter Red Hat Virtualization Manager Red Hat Virtualization Manager is a secure, web UI built on Red Hat JBoss® Enterprise Application Platform (EAP) and Postgres.
Hypervisor or host ESXi Red Hat Virtualization Host Red Hat Virtualization Host is built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and KVM technologies. It can be updated with third-party drivers and software while still retaining a smaller footprint as compared to a full operating system deployment.
Virtual machine (VM) migration vMotion Live migration Red Hat Virtualization allows users to tune the VM migration policy.
Highly available (HA) virtual machines Yes Yes Red Hat Virtualization also features “resource reservation” at the cluster level, guaranteeing that central processing unit (CPU) and random access memory (RAM) are available in the cluster for designated VMs so that the cluster does not become over-subscribed.
Resource management DRS Cluster scheduler and policies, affinity  Red Hat Virtualization supports load balancing, power management, VM placement, HA, and policies. These features are available for any cluster, not just specially designated clusters
Security ESXi Firewall,  VShield Endpoint sVirt, SELinux, firewall Red Hat Virtualization provides pretuned configuration for SELinux and firewalld, set to protect VMs and hypervisors.
Yes Yes Red Hat Virtualization also supports
snapshot merge.
Role-based access control (RBAC), Active Directory (AD) integration, tiered access Yes Yes Red Hat Virtualization has a long list of supported directory services that extend RBAC, including Active Directory and many others.
Automation and
Only with vRealize Red Hat Ansible Automation® Engine integration included, Red Hat CloudForms® integration available 

Red Hat Ansible Engine 2.3 integration is included in Red Hat Virtualization 4.1. CloudForms integration and orchestration is available.

Self-service portal Via vRealize Via Red Hat Virtualization (standard) or CloudForms (advanced)  Red Hat Virtualization provides a basic self-service portal for administrators and power users. A highly customizable portal is available via CloudForms.
Native disaster recovery (DR)  No—requires storage vendor integration via SRM No—requires storage vendor integration via representational state transfer API (REST API). Red Hat Virtualization backup and recovery API (REST API) available for custom and third-party use. Native DR solution targeted for Red Hat Virtualization 4.2
Native backup Yes via vSphere Data Protection Limited via backup and recovery API Red Hat Virtualization backup and recovery API (REST API) available for custom and third-party use.
API and SDK Web services API/ SDK, common information model (CIM), Perl, .NET, JavaTM SDKs REST API, Python command line (CLI), Hooks, Java SDK, Python SDK Red Hat Virtualization provides a well-published REST API for ease of automation and orchestration as well as SDKs for integration.
Over-commit Memory ballooning Memory ballooning Red Hat Virtualization Hypervisor can mark sections of a VM’s RAM as not in use, reallocate the RAM to other VMs, or use the memory for other host processes.
Container support Photon and  Sphere
Integrated  Containers
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host and Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform Red Hat Virtualization has container insight into Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host-based containers by way of the Red Hat Virtualization guest agent.
Networking Virtual LAN (VLAN) tagging, quality of service (QoS), Bonding, Jumbo Frames VLAN tagging, QoS, Bonding, Jumbo Frames, IPv6, virtual network interface controller (vNIC) profiles Red Hat Virtualization can streamline network configuration with profiles and tags.
networking (SDN)
NSX Neutron integration with Red Hat OpenStack® Platform, native SDN (open virtual network—OVN) in 4.2 Red Hat Virtualization can integrate with Red Hat OpenStack Neutron services. Open virtual network is targeted for general availability in Red Hat Virtualization 4.2
Hot add virtual devices Disk, virtual central
processing unit (vCPU), memory, network interface controller (NIC)
Disk, vCPU, memory, NIC Red Hat Virtualization supports hot add and hot remove of vCPU, memory, NICs, and disks.
Storage supported Network file system (NFS) (v3, v4), storage area network (SAN) (internet small computer system interface—iSCSI, fibre channel over ethernet—FcoE, fibre  NFS (v3, v4), SAN (iSCSI, FCoE, FC) Red Hat Gluster Storage (NFS, Red Hat JBoss Fuse, Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure), local Red Hat Virtualization supports most
modern storage protocols.


Max RAM per host 12TB 12TB
Max hosts per cluster 64 200
Max vCPU per VM 128 240
Max RAM per VM 4TB 6TB



Red Hat Virtualization is a complete infrastructure solution for virtualized servers and technical workstations. Built on the powerful Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform and KVM, Red Hat Virtualization provides ease of use, agility, and security for virtualized, resource-intensive workloads. It helps organizations optimize their IT infrastructure with better performance, competitive pricing, and a trusted Red Hat environment.