Is Red Hat Virtualization a Good Proxmox VE Alternative?

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Proxmox Virtual Environment (VE) and Red Hat Virtualization are two popular virtualization solutions designed to support organizations of varying sizes. Both are solid, dependable choices for virtualized architecture with their own sets of strengths and weaknesses.

Proxmox VE vs. Red Hat Virtualization at a glance

Features Red Hat logo Proxmox logo
Web-based UI
Free option
Large enterprise suitability
SMB suitability
Minimum hardware requirements (RAM) 4GB 2GB
Scaling Very good Average
Easy to administer

Red Hat Virtualization: Best for enterprises

Red Hat Virtualization, as an enterprise-grade platform, elegantly addresses modern businesses’ diverse and demanding needs by enabling the virtualization of essential resources, processes, and applications.

Built on the robust foundations of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and KVM, this powerful virtualization solution seamlessly supports your organization’s key workloads, including resource-intensive applications and mission-critical systems.

Proxmox Virtual Environment (VE): Best for SMBs

Proxmox VE is an open-source solution that provides a large selection of features. By seamlessly integrating the KVM hypervisor, Linux Containers (LXC), software-defined storage, and networking functionality all within a single platform, Proxmox VE presents an advanced virtualization ecosystem that allows you to take complete control of your IT infrastructure. 

In addition, the integrated, web-based user interface equips you with the tools to manage virtual machines and containers effortlessly, monitor high availability for clusters, and utilize effective disaster recovery solutions.

Best for pricing: Proxmox VE

Proxmox offers the more competitive pricing model of the two solutions. Proxmox VE’s source code is released with a GNU AGPL, v3 license, meaning it can be downloaded and used free of charge. You can install the ISO or inspect the code.

Why pay for a Proxmox VE subscription instead of going with the free version? For one thing, it helps IT professionals keep their deployments up-to-date. Subscribers have access to a stable software repository for updates, security upgrades, and support.

Four pricing tiers are available to subscribers: Premium, Standard, Basic, and Community. In general higher rates come with faster response times, more support tickets, and offline subscription key activation. 

€ 980 per year & CPU socket
(See USD Conversion)
€ 490 per year & CPU socket
(See USD Conversion)
€ 325 per year & CPU socket
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€ 105 per year & CPU socket
(See USD Conversion)


  • The company quotes prices in Euros. Click the USD conversion link to see the real-time rate.
  • The prices above do not include Value Added Tax (VAT), which may be added to the final invoice where applicable.

In contrast, Red Hat does not publish its pricing information publicly but our prior research found that a standard Enterprise Virtualization subscription costs $999 per managed hypervisor socket pair each year for business-hour (standard) support. A premium subscription, with round-the-clock support, goes for $1,499 per managed hypervisor socket pair per year.

Best for scalability: Red Hat Virtualization

When it comes to scalability, Red Hat Virtualization is the clear winner. It provides a more robust and reliable virtualization solution, allowing users to easily scale up their infrastructure as needed. 

Additionally, its support for high availability makes it ideal for mission-critical applications and tasks that require uninterrupted uptime. Designed for large-scale data centers, Red Hat Virtualization (RHV) is equipped to handle up to 400 hosts in a single cluster with no capacity limit.

Best for long-term use: Proxmox VE

The easy winner here is Proxmox VE. As of August 2022, the development of Red Hat Virtualization has been halted and is only available for maintenance updates, though extended life phase support will be provided until 2026. Red Hat’s OpenShift container platform has replaced the former RHV system as its successor product.

Proxmox, on the other hand, is still actively developed and updated with new features. As an open-source project, it offers a community version as well as a supported Enterprise Edition. The latter provides enterprise-grade maintenance services, including online support and bug fixes.

Best for customer support: Red Hat Virtualization

In terms of customer support, Red Hat provides superior hands-on technical assistance. It offers an extensive range of services, including deployment and migration consulting, patching and version upgrades, system tuning and performance optimization, capacity planning, hardware compatibility testing, and more. 

In addition, the Enterprise Virtualization Subscription includes 24×7 customer service with a 1-hour response time.

Why shouldn’t you use Proxmox VE or Red Hat Virtualization?

Both Proxmox VE and Red Hat Virtualization have clear use cases where they excel—and some where they fall behind.

Who shouldn’t use Proxmox VE

Proxmox VE may not be suitable for enterprise-level virtualization needs, because (despite its name) the Enterprise Subscription does not provide some of the more advanced features found in Red Hat Virtualization. These include live migration, NUMA balancing, and resource management, as well as high availability clustering.

Who shouldn’t use Red Hat Virtualization

Red Hat Virtualization won’t be suitable for users looking for a free solution or SMBs whose needs are relatively simple. The subscription-based pricing model is quite expensive compared to other open-source virtualization solutions. Furthermore, its development has been discontinued in favor of the OpenShift container platform, so organizations looking to invest in a long-term virtualization solution will want to search elsewhere.

How we evaluated Proxmox and Red Hat

We evaluated Proxmox VE and Red Hat Virtualization based on several criteria, including pricing, scalability, long-term use, and customer support. We also considered the features offered in each product and the level of technical assistance available.

How to choose your virtualization software

We recommend you consider the following factors when choosing virtualization software for your business.

1. Assess whether your organization can benefit from virtualization

Start by making a list of the potential advantages of virtualization for your organization. Virtualization is intended to solve a variety of problems, including server consolidation, testing and development, disaster recovery, cost savings, security, and more. By understanding your business needs and the potential benefits virtualization can bring, you’ll be able to better evaluate which software best fits your organization’s requirements.

2. Identify the resource requirements

To successfully implement a virtualization solution, you’ll need to assess the minimum requirements for memory, storage, and CPU. If your organization is planning to use multiple virtual machines you should consider adding an additional layer of networking hardware and software to support that infrastructure.

3. Determine whether you need a centralized or decentralized workload

A centralized environment requires less management and maintenance than a decentralized one. Centralized environments allow you to manage all the workloads from a single point of control, while decentralized environments distribute workloads across multiple nodes.

4. Evaluate the cost of the software

When evaluating the cost, ensure you’re comparing apples with apples. This includes the license cost, any additional features you may need, and the cost of support.

5. Confirm the level of support offered by the vendor

Support is an important factor when selecting a virtualization solution. You should consider the terms of the software’s license agreement, and whether there are any additional support services available through the vendor.

6. Assess scalability of the software

The scalability of your virtual environment will depend on your hardware requirements and your ability to scale up or down as required.

7. Ensure effective security

The security of your virtual environment is paramount, so make sure you are fully aware of the security measures offered by the vendor and whether they can be integrated with existing systems.

8. Evaluate ease of use

Determine the level of training that will be required for both IT and end users. A web-based, user-friendly interface will enable users to quickly become familiar with the solution and increase efficiency within their organization.

Bottom line: Red Hat Virtualization as a Proxmox VE alternative

When it comes to virtualization, Proxmox VE is a cost-effective solution for small and medium-sized businesses that need an open-source platform for their virtualization needs. It offers basic features as well as an Enterprise Edition with additional support services. 

Red Hat Virtualization provides more advanced features, costs more and is better suited to enterprises, but is also approaching end of life and being replaced by Red Hat’s OpenShift solution.

The decision between the two ultimately boils down to your needs and budget. Both solutions have their own merits and drawbacks, so make sure to conduct due diligence before making a final choice.

If you’re still having trouble deciding, we evaluated the best network virtualization solutions to consider for your business.

Kihara Kimachia
Kihara Kimachia
Kihara Kimachia is a writer and digital marketing consultant with over a decade of experience covering issues in emerging technology and innovation. In addition to appearing regularly in Enterprise Networking Planet, his work has been published in many leading technology publications, including TechRepublic, eSecurity Planet, Server Watch, Channel Insider, IT Business Edge, and Enterprise Storage Forum.

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