Packer vs VMware vSphere: What are the differences?
Developers describe Packer as "Create identical machine images for multiple platforms from a single source configuration". Packer automates the creation of any type of machine image. It embraces modern configuration management by encouraging you to use automated scripts to install and configure the software within your Packer-made images. On the other hand, VMware vSphere is detailed as "Free bare-metal hypervisor that virtualizes servers so you can consolidate your applications on less hardware". vSphere is the world’s leading server virtualization platform. Run fewer servers and reduce capital and operating costs using VMware vSphere to build a cloud computing infrastructure.
Packer and VMware vSphere are primarily classified as "Infrastructure Build" and "Virtualization Platform" tools respectively.
Some of the features offered by Packer are:
- Super fast infrastructure deployment. Packer images allow you to launch completely provisioned and configured machines in seconds, rather than several minutes or hours.
- Multi-provider portability. Because Packer creates identical images for multiple platforms, you can run production in AWS, staging/QA in a private cloud like OpenStack, and development in desktop virtualization solutions such as VMware or VirtualBox.
- Improved stability. Packer installs and configures all the software for a machine at the time the image is built. If there are bugs in these scripts, they'll be caught early, rather than several minutes after a machine is launched.
On the other hand, VMware vSphere provides the following key features:
- Powerful Server Virtualization
- Network Services
- Efficient Storage
"Cross platform builds" is the top reason why over 24 developers like Packer, while over 6 developers mention "Strong host isolation" as the leading cause for choosing VMware vSphere.
Packer is an open source tool with 9.1K GitHub stars and 2.47K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Packer's open source repository on GitHub.
According to the StackShare community, Packer has a broader approval, being mentioned in 115 company stacks & 21 developers stacks; compared to VMware vSphere, which is listed in 56 company stacks and 25 developer stacks.
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LaunchDarkly is almost a five year old company, and our methodology for deploying was state of the art... for 2014. We recently undertook a project to modernize the way we #deploy our software, moving from Ansible-based deploy scripts that executed on our local machines, to using Spinnaker (along with Terraform and Packer) as the basis of our deployment system. We've been using Armory's enterprise Spinnaker offering to make this project a reality.
Our base infrastructure is composed of Debian based servers running in Amazon EC2 , asset storage with Amazon S3 , and Amazon RDS for Aurora and Redis under Amazon ElastiCache for data storage.
We are starting to work in automated provisioning and management with Terraform , Packer , and Ansible .
We use VMWare vSphere to allow us to virtualise our environment. This means that we don't have to have as many physical servers to split our infrastructure as we would otherwise. vSphere also enables us to move our virtual machines between different servers as required such as if we need to perform essential maintenance on a host while keeping to our belief of having high availability of all of our services wherever possible.
vSphere provides a central management interface for the entire stack. In addition to application level redundancy, VM level redundancy is offered through HA and DRS.