Commercial software: Not cheap, but has maintenance

The other option for running VM software yourself is to use commercial software. Most people automatically think of commercial software as a ‘safe’ option, and it usually constitutes the bulk of installed applications. But commercial software has drawbacks, so consider these points:

  • Commercial software costs real money. You have to buy it, and that requires budget, process, and paperwork to convince the boss to sign the purchase order.
  • You must pay every year for the right to continue using commercial software. Technically, buyers don’t actually own anything except a license granting them ‘entitlements’ to using the software.
  •  Maintenance brings higher assurance. Well, maybe. A commercial venture is hopefully developing the VM software with industry standards for software assurance and security. Ask your vendors about how they do this. On the other hand, mistakes are virtually assured in any software application so you must regularly and rapidly install updates and new patches. Find out how that process works and how you’ll have to integrate it with your internal process for updates and patching. Check on the provider’s training and support programs to ensure that your security staff will be able to deploy and use the solution.
  • Commercial software costs the same to run as Open Source solutions. Be ready to pay for the same long list of things that you’d have to pay for with Open Source.