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„Our story in virtualization dates back quite some time. Initially, we were using SUN Microsystems Servers and built the services needed for our customers using Solaris Zones. The reason for this was quite simple: At that time, Solaris was still free of use – and Linux wasn't quite where it is now.

Which virtualization software fits our needs?

We already played around with VMware (Workstation) in 1999 but it was not before 2003 (with VMware Server and later ESXi) when it was really usable for real server virtualization purposes. Although VMware was a good solution, some things were really annoying us as well as our customers. For example, there was the client software which didn't really work on nothing else but Windows. As we had to support customers with different versions, it pretty soon became kind of messy. And more, over time VMware became more and more bloated.

Alternatives? Sure! But Xen wasn't much better there... and with it's 32Bit kernel beneath the solution it was not really feasible for us. It looked well on the surface, but if you had to dig deeper it's real ugliness became obvious.

So we had to ask ourselves where do we get a solution that is sleek, fast, efficient, and not a mess to support? Being a NetApp Partner, the integrability of NetApp Storage Systems was a priority, too. (I have to admit that at this feature, VMware really has some sweet spots to offer.)

Then, some years ago we discovered Proxmox VE. At that time it was on release 0.9. It was not yet exactly what we really wanted to present to our customers...but at least it left a mark. Soon, with the release of Proxmox VE 1.0 we gave it a try and moved our complete production environment to Proxmox. All-In.

If we told you now that there has never been an issue, we wouldn't be honest. But for every issue arising we found a quick solution on the forums (keep in mind, Proxmox VE didn't offer commercial subscriptions at that time). Support from the Proxmox team was superb, too. The staff has always been very helpful – and still is...and this at the most impossible times (migrations mostly take place when Joe Average sleeps).

Proxmox VE simply works

Over time, we virtualized more and more hardware devices. Today, we run a fully virtualized stack including firewalls, Routers, VPN-Gateways, and more. We build our complete solutions around Proxmox VE – and it really works and scales outstandingly well. Be it a small infrastructure with ATOM based servers or big, fat Cisco UCS systems – Proxmox VE just works.

Over the lasts couple of years we also have migrated several VMware infrastructures to Proxmox VE. Reasons were on the one hand because of the many changes concerning VMware licensing and pricing, but on the other hand because the overhead of Proxmox VE is – in our point of view – massively smaller, simply because you are able to use LXC (Linux Containers). Even the integrability with NetApp Systems, although not (yet) officially supported by Proxmox, is easily possible today.

Dockerized apps with Proxmox's LXC containers

Today, we are watching all the hype around Docker. And we often wonder why zoned virtualization views such a rise in popularity just now although it's not a new concept at all, and we have been using LXC for ages now. But also our customers benefit a lot because we already implement large parts of their infrastructure using LXC and thus saving loads of CPU cycles…

Back to Docker: with most of the solutions offered today, the only way to get Docker up and running is to set up a VM and place Docker inside... Honestly? That actually turns the whole zoning useless. With Proxmox VE, LXC is available and it is exactly the right thing for dockerized apps.

With the move to version 4.2, Proxmox has completely re-designed the UI – which is a huge improvement. But why, one might ask, didn't they wait until version 5? Well, because they don't have to. And because, obviously, the marketing department of Proxmox is technology driven (and not as in many other companies vice verca).

Proxmox is everything we ever wanted from a virtualization solution:

  • KISS-Principle
  • FAST
  • Reliable
  • Flexible
  • Scalable
  • Easy to handle
  • Easy to support
  • Easy to integrate
  • Future proof
  • Based on standards

And the best thing: It still gets better with every release.“

Tobias Göller, CTO at Compination GmbH

Organization name: Compination GmbH
Web: http://www.compination.ch
Country: Switzerland
Sector: IT