VMware Converter 4.0 vs PlateSpin Migrate 8.0

I’ve been looking at the recent VMware Converter 4.0 release, and can’t help but think it spells trouble for PlateSpin. Converter is one of those products that’s kind of evolved from good enough for small time use to blossoming into an Enterprise worthy product. Now I must admit, I didn’t pay that much attention to Converter 3 – the demand for a single X2X migration tool in the Enterprise killed any chance it had of knocking PlateSpin out at my place. But alas, times change, budgets are tight and most places have a fair amount of experience with virtualisation by now. So when we looked back and saw that there wasn’t a single V2P migration in the past year, the old notion of placing high priority on a V2P backout plan for converted workloads was starting to look a bit wobbly.

Lets stack up some of the features quickly. Both support 32 and 64 bit migrations. Both support the major Linux distros (RedHat, Suse, Ubuntu) and the most popular filesystems (ext2, ext3, ReiserFS). Both can personalise the guest (including Windows services startup). Both can run tasks concurrently. Both do hot migrations. Both support the currently shipping versions of Win… oh hang on. Sorry, PlateSpin doesn’t have Windows Server 2008 support. WTF? OK, sure it may not be massively deployed yet, but the product has been out for a YEAR. Both have nice GUI interfaces.

Now, let’s compare the price. VMware Converter: free. PlateSpin Migrate: A ton of licensing options, none of them cheap. Hmmmm. The rest of the features listed here are fading into insignificance, fast.

Oddly absent from the VMware Converter 4.0 release was an enterprise counterpart. No prizes for guessing why. But I’m hoping the team aren’t just resting until the release of VI 4 – they still got some work to do. What you ask? First and foremost, it needs it’s own API or integration with the VI API. PlateSpin has this currently, and it’s only my laziness that’s stopping me from reverse engineering the fuck out of it (it’s all web services, but undocumented). Logically following from that, it needs to be PowerShellified just like Update Manager. The server can run on Linux if it has to, but don’t give me some cruddy command line executable with inconsistent switches and cyptic XML input files for each little piece of the VMware puzzle. Message to VMware – A UNIFIED MANAGEMENT CLI WOULD BE MOST WELCOME. And there’s none better than PowerShell. Finally… V2P support. Yes, I will make ppl go through hell and high water to get back onto a physical box, but sometimes ppl just need to be shown that their app issues have fuck all to do with virtualisation. If I have a quick and easy way to V2P something and then take it straight back, I can throw down the gauntlet to the doubters by offering a painless process to prove virtualisation is not to blame, should the need arise. Having V2P is kinda like having kung fu skill – you have it so you need never use it 🙂

So I’ll be looking very seriously at VMware Converter 4.0 for an Enterprise migration tool. If you are like me and haven’t given it much of a chance for the past few years, maybe it’s time for another look.

DISCLAIMER Yes there are other products on the market (Vizioncore, I’m looking at you) but I only write about what I have used. Unfortunately I haven’t had my hands on their products in the enterprise to date.


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9 Responses to “VMware Converter 4.0 vs PlateSpin Migrate 8.0”

  1. Vinf Says:

    Good article, I’m looking forward to trying out 4.0 in an upcoming project, not sure VMware would ever get to a V2P product tho, but that is one of my favourite features of Platespin…. for the times when there is no other option.

  2. Vinf Says:

    Hit enter too quickly – the DR aspect of Platespin Protect is also pretty compelling – something like this would be pretty cool if they developed it http://vinf.net/2009/01/23/workload-portability-ultimate-cloud-edition/

    • stu Says:

      Thx Simon, yeh I too have been pretty sold on PlateSpin for the past few years, but their licensing for starters is way too complex (and expensive given the current economic climate IMHO). As I said in the post though, the lack of V2P has surprised everyone where i work. And we haven’t even rolled out ESX 3.5 yet, so once that kicks into gear on RVI capable CPU’s, I just don’t see us ever having a need to. That cloud product does look very cool though 🙂

  3. Mr.Tester Says:

    Converter is a neat little tool, it’s just not stable enough to be considered a real solution for anything more than a couple of P2V migrations. I find myself having to go through a very thorough check list with every migration, in the end I spend more time checking the VM than the whole migration took. I don’t think it’s stable and reliable enough yet, and the fact that it scales so poorly means I’ll be sticking with PlateSpin for the time being.

    • stu Says:

      @Mr.Tester – those commetns would have been my own with regards to any version of Converter prior to 4.0. Have you found the same with the latest release though?

  4. VMware Converter 4.0 versus PlateSpin « UP2V Says:

    […] An opinion on VMware Converter 4.0 versus PlateSpin Migrate can be read on the site Vinternal.com http://vinternals.com/2009/02/vmware-converter-40-vs-platespin-migrate-80/ […]

  5. PlateSpin Evangelist Says:

    Dear Author,
    Let me start off by saying that using words like “fuck” in your reviews will not help you gain respect of your peers. Also, you are making a lot of statements that may be appropriate for your organization like speaking about the “insignificance” of PlateSpin Migrate’s features, but could be quite critical to others.
    Now, on to the technical comparison:
    – PlateSpin Migrate will support Windows Server 2008 in the upcoming June release. The simple fact is that there just isn’t that much of a Win2008 infrastructure looking to migrate in any direction. and I am sure that their developers were spending time building more requested features that needed attention first or were being developed for large clients such as support for 64-bit Linux migrations
    – PlateSpin Migrate is not “a P2V product” – there let that sink in… Migrate is a long-term workload management product covering migrations in any direction, they call it X2X – anywhere to anywhere and that feature is very important to a lot of companies. Migrate covers Linux X2P (anone else? no) and Windows imaging and is very very good at all those things – they’ve been doing it for 6 years
    – Migrate offers post-conversion scripting, authentication, authorization, logging – see how many financial companies are willing to use a product that doesn’t
    – Migrate supports for an insane number of platforms, ability to inject drivers, run pre-flight checks and a lot more
    – Migrate offers post-mortem job analysis (like vm-support in ESX), a full staff of geniuses who will resolve your problems fast – something that is also critical to enterprise clients
    – Migrate also hooks into Recon which lets you plan and execute things from a single interface
    – Migrate is also Protect with a different license, so again a long term investment for business continuity
    – Also, let’s talk speed – how about 200 Mbps sustained transfer speeds and 40 simultaneous conversions?

    That just covers some topics. There’s no doubt that Vmware Converter is a good product, it will fit well for some companies and some tasks, but it’s not a true competitor.

    • admin Says:

      Hi Platespin guy,

      Apologies for the delay in publishing your comment – I’ve been out of town and off the net.

      I’ll start by saying my language is not some kind of gimmick or marketing ploy, or me trying to “get respect” or be “cool” – I write the same way that I speak. But I can appreciate not everyone is as tolerant of swearing, so if you fall into that category then all I can say is stop reading my blog – I’ll write however the fuck I want.

      Now with that out of the way, I’ll address your other points by saying that you’ve missed the point of the post. Did I say “everyone kick out platespin because the product is shit”? NO. I was simply saying that before this release, the 2 products were so far apart that even the massive price differential could not bridge the gap. Now however, is a completely different scenario. You want to talk about enterprise migrations? Adding over $10K USD in P2V licensing fees for a 100 server migration versus adding zero is _not_ something that will be overlooked in these financial times. 2 or 3 years ago, sure. But not now.

      Glad to hear that Platespin will be supporting 2008 in June. One can only hope it will support vSphere 4.0 sooner than 15months after it is released.

  6. gabriel Says:

    I am very constrained by language and semantic terms when engaging in business terms so it is an absolute pleasure to read the vernacular when it makes perfect sense. My american friends get very bogged down in their flaming and usually forget the original post’s intention which is is to offer advice and opinions. Personally, I am delighted to see that Converter allows to the majority of users the functionality they require for free. Platespin is also excellent but not free. Software companies have made huge amounts of cash over the years by fleecing consumers when they already had sufficient business (symantec) . a good example of the new breed of software which is truly freeware is this , Veeam and avast AV. Nuff said and a big fuck of to anyone who feels aggreived about free stuff

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