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Why You Should Consider XCP-ng as an Alternative to VMware

  • February 27, 2024
  • 11 min read
IT and Virtualization Consultant. Vladan is the founder, and executive editor of the ESX Virtualization Blog at He is a VMware VCAP-DCA and VCAP-DCD, and has been a vExpert from 2009 to 2023.
IT and Virtualization Consultant. Vladan is the founder, and executive editor of the ESX Virtualization Blog at He is a VMware VCAP-DCA and VCAP-DCD, and has been a vExpert from 2009 to 2023.

If you are looking for a reliable, cost-effective, and open-source virtualization platform, you might want to check out XCP-ng. XCP-ng stands for Xen Cloud Platform-next generation, and it is based on XenServer, a popular enterprise-class hypervisor that was discontinued by Citrix in 2017.

XCP-ng (by aims to provide a fully-featured and community-driven solution for replacing VMware, the market leader in virtualization.

In this post, I will explain some of the benefits of using XCP-ng over VMware, and how you can migrate your existing VMware infrastructure to XCP-ng with minimal downtime and hassle. Note that this solution might not be for anyone. It requires a learning curve, getting use to another hypervisor platform, tooling, workflows, but if the times are hard and your company is tight on a budget, it might be the solution for you.

Benefits of XCP-ng

XCP-ng offers many advantages over VMware, such as:

Lower cost – XCP-ng and its web-based management tool, Xen Orchestra, are free to use and do not require any license fees or subscriptions. You can also choose to pay for professional support and additional features if you need them, but they are optional. VMware, on the other hand, charges hefty fees for its products and services, such as vSphere, vCenter, and vSAN.

XCP-NG console view is similar to VMware ESXi

XCP-NG console view is similar to VMware ESXi

Open source – XCP-ng is an open-source project that is developed and maintained by a very active community of developers, users, and partners. You can access the source code, contribute to the development, report bugs, request features, and get help from the community. VMware is a proprietary platform that limits your access and control over the software.

Compatibility – XCP-ng is compatible with most of the hardware and software that VMware supports, such as Intel and AMD processors, NVIDIA and AMD GPUs, various storage and network devices, and Windows and Linux operating systems4. You can also use XCP-ng with other open-source tools, such as OpenStack, Kubernetes, and Ansible, to create your own cloud infrastructure.

Performance – XCP-ng leverages the power and efficiency of the Xen hypervisor, which is widely used by major cloud providers, such as Amazon, Alibaba, and IBM. XCP-ng supports advanced features, such as live migration, high availability, thin provisioning, snapshots, backups, and more, to ensure optimal performance and availability of your virtual machines.

Security – XCP-ng implements strong security measures, such as encryption, firewall, SELinux, and XSA (Xen Security Advisories), to protect your data and systems from unauthorized access and attacks. XCP-ng also supports TPM (Trusted Platform Module) and UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) for enhanced security and boot integrity.

How to Migrate to XCP-ng

If you are convinced by the benefits of XCP-ng and want to switch from VMware, you might wonder how to migrate your existing virtual machines and data to XCP-ng. Fortunately, XCP-ng provides a simple and efficient tool for this purpose. The tool is integrated into Xen Orchestra management solution. V2V (VMware to Vates).

V2V is a feature of Xen Orchestra that allows you to migrate your VMware-based virtual machines to XCP-ng hosts with minimal downtime and hassle. The process is as follows:

Connect your VMware vCenter or ESXi server to Xen Orchestra

Connect your VMware vCenter or  and select the virtual machines you want to migrate.

Choose the destination XCP-ng pool, storage, and network for your virtual machines.

Start the migration process and monitor the progress in Xen Orchestra

Start the migration process and monitor the progress in Xen Orchestra.

The migration process will first export an initial snapshot of your virtual machines while they are still running, which might take some time depending on the size and number of your virtual machines.

Once the initial snapshot is done, the virtual machines will be shut down and only the modified data blocks since the snapshot will be exported, which will be much faster.

The virtual machines will then be imported and activated on the XCP-ng hosts, and you can resume your operations.

The V2V feature ensures that your virtual machines are migrated with minimal disruption and data loss, and that they retain their configuration and settings on the XCP-ng platform. You can also use V2V to migrate back to VMware if you ever need to.

This is not the only way to migrate VMs from VMware to XCP-NG. You can obviously use the tools you already know such as StarWind V2V Converter or simply Export your VMs as OVF file (need to shut down VMs for those to be used). But both those methods works too. You can “prepare” and export several VMs in advance, and import them into XCP-NG as it may be lengthy process depending on the size of the virtual disks.

The best way to proceed with move to another hypervisor platform?

There is no best way. It depends on many factors such as size of the environment, skills, hardware. The fact that there are alternatives to VMware and some people got frustrated with the recent news about discontinuation of VMware perpetual licensing on most (if not all) VMware products, this is one thing.

Ask your VMware representative right now what would be your renewal costs. Right now, you might still be fine as the renewals is 2 years ahead. If his/her answer will shock you and the price is too high, you know that in two years’ time you must be already running something else for your business.

The other thing is certification, skills, ease of use, the familiarization with those new platforms, the backup and recovery, monitoring, performance….

But I’d have one advice still. Start small and grow bigger. If you a 100% VMware shop, fix a deadline and plan ahead, for your migration. You can, let’s say, create a small lab with a hardware you already have, configure to fit to your enterprise environment, then migrate few VMs and wait.

Do your testing of basics: Backup, recovery, DR, monitoring. Then migrate more non critical VMs to this new platform. Remember, XCP-NG is not the only one virtualization platform out there. There are many others that are also open source, with paid support. Take your time to review all requirements you have before making any move.

XCP-NG, Vates is a French company, sure, but there are partners located in the US and all over Europe. Vates partners are trusted advisors to guide users of our solutions to the virtualization solutions of the future. They support you in your deployments and help you choose the products that best fit your needs.

Hey! Found Vladan’s insights useful? Looking for a cost-effective, high-performance, and easy-to-use hyperconverged platform?
Taras Shved
Taras Shved StarWind HCI Appliance Product Manager
Look no further! StarWind HCI Appliance (HCA) is a plug-and-play solution that combines compute, storage, networking, and virtualization software into a single easy-to-use hyperconverged platform. It's designed to significantly trim your IT costs and save valuable time. Interested in learning more? Book your StarWind HCA demo now to see it in action!