Memory overcommit has been a hot topic recently as it drives down the cost of using VMware over other vendors. An online survey was taken from 110 VMware customers. See the results.


I recently attended VMworld and wrote the following pieces: “VMware Says Memory Overcommitment Makes Them Cheaper than Both Microsoft and Xen Server” and “Microsoft Responds to VMware’s Ability to Overcommit Memory.” After I wrote these posts, a colleague, John Troyer, pointed out an online survey that was conducted with 110 VMware customers.

Here are the results of the poll. After reviewing the poll, please continue reading to see my take.

In the first poll, it is definitely apparent that memory overcommitment is being used. In the second poll, 87 percent of people are using memory overcommitment in both Test/Dev & Production. This number seems very high to me, and I have my doubts.

At VMworld during partner day, they took a hand poll of how many people were using memory overcommitment in production and very few people raised their hands. There were definitely more than 110 people in this room. Furthermore, do you believe this 110-person survey is a random sample of VMware users or was it handpicked?

I firmly believe that Microsoft intends to add memory overcommitment to its product line in the near future, but my big issue with memory overcommitment isn’t what vendor has it or doesn’t have it. My issue is that it is being used as a factor to buy a certain vendor’s product. I do not agree with this tactic at all.

Memory Overcommitment has its place in test and development but should not be recommended for production systems. VMware doesn’t even recommend it in their documentation. If you are a “newbie” in the VM space and you start messing with your memory in a production system, you are asking for trouble.

Please take my poll on how you feel about memory overcommitment.

If you are interested in reading this survey, please see “Memory Overcommit–Real Life Examples from VMware customers.”