Home VM Tips Proxmox vs ESXi: A Comprehensive Comparison of Everything

Proxmox vs ESXi: A Comprehensive Comparison of Everything

2023-12-12 | Dan Zeng

Table of contents
  • What is VMware ESXi?
  • Benefits of ESXi
  • What is Proxmox?
  • Benefits of Proxmox
  • Proxmox vs ESXi
  • Ensuring robust VM protection with Vinchin Backup & Recovery
  • FAQ: How does the performance compare between Proxmox and ESXi?
  • Conclusion
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What is VMware ESXi?

VMware ESXi is a bare-metal virtualization platform developed by VMware and carefully designed to host multiple independent VMs on a physical server. Its bare-metal nature allows it to excel in performance and resource utilization. With intelligent tools such as the vSphere client, administrators can easily manage and monitor virtualized environments and perform VM creation, configuration, and maintenance tasks. Also known for its flexibility and reliability, ESXi is widely used in enterprise data centers, providing robust virtualization support for the entire IT ecosystem.

Benefits of ESXi

VMware ESXi, the leading virtualization platform, offers the following four advantages:

Superior performance and efficiency: ESXi is known for its high-performance hypervisor that maximizes resource utilization while minimizing overhead to ensure efficient operation of VMs.

Powerful management tools: VMware offers a comprehensive set of management tools, including the vSphere Client and vSphere Web Client. Provides a user-friendly interface for managing, monitoring and configuring VMs.

Scalability: ESXi is extremely scalable and supports the creation and management of large-scale virtualized environments. It allows the virtual infrastructure to be scaled according to business needs.

High Availability (HA) and Fault Tolerance (FT): ESXi provides features such as High Availability and FT to ensure continuous operation and minimize downtime. HA automatically restarts VMs on healthy hosts in the event of a failure, while FT provides continuous VM availability.

What is Proxmox?

Proxmox Virtual Environment (Proxmox VE) is a feature-rich open source virtualization platform and management tool. By integrating KVM virtualization and LXC container technology, Proxmox enables administrators to effortlessly create, manage and monitor VMs and containers. The platform features an intuitive web interface that simplifies the operation and management of virtualized environments. In addition to a user-friendly interface, Proxmox offers advanced features such as high-availability clustering, versatile storage options, and robust security features, making it ideal for implementing enterprise-class virtualization solutions.

Benefits of Proxmox

Proxmox Virtual Environment (Proxmox VE) also has unique advantages, and the following are four of the highlights:

Open source platform: Proxmox VE is an open source virtualization platform that gives users free access to its core features. This allows small businesses, individual users, and cost-sensitive organizations to take advantage of advanced virtualization technology without paying high licensing fees.

Convenience of cluster management: Proxmox VE provides centralized management of multiple servers through a single web-based management dashboard. Its clustering feature makes it possible to easily migrate VMs and containers within a cluster, while providing multiple authentication mechanisms that offer users flexibility and security.

Integrated backup and recovery tool: Proxmox Backup Server is an enterprise-oriented backup and recovery tool that supports backup solutions for VMs, containers and hosts. Its support for Zstandard compression, de-duplication, incremental backups and authorized encryption provides comprehensive data security.

GUI ease of use: Proxmox VE has an integrated graphical user interface that enables users to perform all management tasks in one place without the need for additional management tools. Built on ExtJS JavaScript framework, the web interface supports all major browsers and provides an intuitive, user-friendly experience.

Proxmox vs ESXi

Proxmox Virtual Environment (Proxmox VE) and VMware ESXi are both powerful virtualization platforms, but they have some key differences. Here's a comparison between Proxmox vs VMware ESXi:



VMware ESXi


Open source; free to use

Proprietary license; free version available with limited functionality, requires license to access all advanced features and management tools

Virtualization Types

Virtualization technology with KVM and LXC support

Virtualization platform based on VMkernel


Proxmox enables centralized management of multiple servers through a single web-based management dashboard and supports clustering capabilities. Proxmox Cluster simplifies the process of migrating VMs and containers within a cluster and provides multiple authentication mechanisms. Using the online console, users can easily create clusters of up to 32 physical nodes and configure each node individually.

ESXi requires VMware vCenter Server to create clusters in order to provide multihost support for processor, memory, and network resources.


Proxmox's integrated GUI allows users to perform all administrative tasks in one location, eliminating the need for a separate administration tool. The Proxmox GUI is built on the ExtJS JavaScript framework and supports all browsers.

ESXi can be easily managed through the vSphere Web Client, offering advanced configuration tools. However, managing multiple ESXi hosts requires the use of the vCenter Server tool.


Proxmox supports a wide range of image formats, such as HDD, QCOW, QCOW2, QED, VDI, and etc. Proxmox realizes image import and export through Proxmox Backup Server software and CLI.

ESXi makes VM portability easy through the GUI. Users can easily migrate VMs by shutting them down on one server and then importing them on another or seamlessly moving VM to another host even when using SAN storage.


Proxmox is a Linux-based system. It offers enterprise-class performance, advanced integrated security features and automatic backup of user-specified nodes.

ESXi improves security by starting only the required services. By default, ESXi disables the Shell and SSH interfaces and restricts users to using only the vSphere Client for all tasks.

Hardware compatability

Proxmox VE is compatible with many different types of hardware, so it can be used even on very old computers that support virtualization.

VMware specifies what hardware is compatible and what is not by keeping an updated Hardware Compatibility List (HCL). If the hardware is not on this list, installing VMware ESXi is not recommended.

Ensuring robust VM protection with Vinchin Backup & Recovery

Whether you choose Proxmox vs VMware ESXi, it is critical to ensure effective protection and backup of your virtual machines VMs. Consider leveraging third-party backup software to provide more comprehensive and flexible backup options for data security.

Vinchin Backup & Recovery is a backup solution designed for virtual machines of Proxmox, VMware, Hyper-V, XenServer, XCP-ng, oVirt, RHV, etc. With features like agentless backup, instant recovery, V2V migration, Vinchin offers robust and complete virtual machine backup and recovery solutions that are intended to safeguard and manage vital data in virtualized environments.

Vinchin Backup & Recovery's operation is very simple, just a few simple steps. 

1. Just select the Proxmox VMs on the host

Vinchin Backup & Recovery

2. Then select backup destination 

Vinchin Backup & Recovery

3. Select strategies

Vinchin Backup & Recovery

4. Finally submit the job

Vinchin Backup & Recovery

You can start to protect your Proxmox or VMware virtual environment with Vinchin's free 60-day trial for users to experience the functionality in a real-world environment. For more information, you can contact Vinchin directly or contact our local partners in your region.

FAQ: How does the performance compare between Proxmox and ESXi?

Proxmox vs ESXi both perform admirably in terms of performance, but the specific performance comparison depends on the particular use case and hardware configuration. Some users may prefer Proxmox for its open-source features, while others might lean towards ESXi for its proprietary solutions.


Whether you choose Proxmox or VMware ESXi, prioritizing effective virtual machine protection and backup is critical. Explore third-party solutions like Vinchin Backup & Recovery for comprehensive, flexible backup options.

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Categories: VM Tips