Hyper-V and Vmware Comparison

Posted on 2008-11-06
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I have worked with virtualization apps from vmware to microsoft virtual-pc/server to virtual box.

My organization is thinking about moving towards Server 2008 next year. We have only recently started virtualizing servers and for that we use vmwares paid server product and it works well for us.

I am looking into hyper-v and have installed server 2008 enterprise in the lab.  i have added the hyper-v component but so far i am not impressed.  It seems to merely be microsoft version of vmwares free "vmware server" product meaning it has to be loaded and run within a windows os.  I thought that in a production environemnt the vms should be os independent.  I found that microsoft offers a stand alone version of hyper-v but they state that it is only for lab and testing environemnts.

So am i missing something?  It appears to me that hyper-v is no where near vmware right now in terms of being able to run virtual servers in an enterprise production environment.  Even if we bring in server 2008 should we stay the course with vmwares products and not think about hyper-v?

Question by:master_windu
    LVL 2

    Accepted Solution

    You hit the nail on the head when you said "It appears to me that hyper-v is no where near vmware right now in terms of being able to run virtual servers in an enterprise production environment."
    You are comparing a tested and proven, and very mature, product (VMware ESX) with a brand new product, Microsoft Hyper-V).  Where VMware has a full suite of management components available, not only from VMware but from third party ISV's as well, Hyper-V has very little of this today.  
    Will Hyper-V get there eventually?  I suspect that it will in a few years. Microsoft has seen the light when it comes to virtualization, and is pulling out all the stops.  Having said that, VMware is by no means standing still. They have been doing virtualization for something like eight years, and have fairly deep pockets.  
    The development cycle of a company like VMware is much shorter than Microsoft's cycle.  Not only is VMware running many tens of thousands of production servers, those servers are running high end finance, Oracle, Exchange, and many other truly mision critical apps.  Also, for the moment VMware supports more OS's in VM's, and offers much better performance than Hyper-V.  You will run many more VM's on ESX than you will on Hyper-V, given the same host hardware configuration.
    For my money, I'd stick with VMware for the forseeable future.  You already have the initial investment made, you have the knowledge, and you are up and running.  Stick with a winner!
    On the other hand, for someone that is dabbling a little, or only wants to virtualize some basic servers, perhaps some development boxes... Hyper-V will likely work fine - as long as the high availability features are not needed.
    LVL 14

    Assisted Solution

    Hyper-V right now is like VMWare Server, not like ESX.  That might change.  But you're right, for the best performance you'll want to run a bare metal hypervisor like ESX, or the free ESXi.

    Hyper-V is new, and it has some catch-up to do.  But it probably will catch up.  Will it by next year - that is hard to tell.  Quite possibly.

    I really like Oracle VM (free) which is very fast, although right now a lot faster for linux/unix than it is for windows guests.  That should change by the end of the year though.

    Unless you're running something like Oracle that doesn't support running on vmware, I'd say vmware is the most mature product right now and probably your best bet.  Especially being a windows shop.  If it were linux/solaris/etc I'd go a different (and cheaper) route.
    LVL 87

    Expert Comment

    In my opinion VmWare is the way to go. The M$ stuff is just years behind. Maybe another product to look at is Xen though.
    LVL 13

    Assisted Solution

    I second what bereanbs said, and just want to add, if management is looking at Hyper-V mainly because it is "free", look into ESXi. It's also free, but doesn't need to run on top of Windows. Plus if you decide you like it (and you probably will), the upgrade path is easy to get from free ESXi to adding features like vMotion, high availability, VirtualCenter, etc.
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    Regarding the comment "Unless you're running something like Oracle that doesn't support running on vmware..."  ...
    Technically speaking, Oracle does not "certify" running the Oracle DB on VMware.  However, VMware and other vendors DO support Oracle in the ESX environment.  VMware is an Oracle development partner and has many resources for optimizing Oracle on their platform.  Many very mission critical Oracle apps are running in the VMware environment.
    Oracle's stated policy is that they will provide support for an Oracle problem in a VMware environment if the problem can be reproduced on a physical server outside of the virutal environment.  That is their legal "out"... but in practice I have not seen Oracle refuse to support the virtual.  They will provide "best practice" support.  Sometimes your best bet is to call VMware support FIRST, and they can engage Oracle support if needed.
    From Oracle's official statement of VMware support:
    Please refer to Metalink Note 249212.1 titled Support Status for VMware, here is a cut/paste:

    Support Status for VMWare
    Oracle provides support of the Oracle Stack when running on a VMware
    vitual machine in the following manner. If a problem arises and it is
    a known Oracle issue, Oracle support will recommend the appropriate
    solution. If that solution does not work, the issue will be referred
    back to VMware for support. If the problem is determined to be an unknown
    Oracle issue when running on a VMware virtual machine, the issue must be
    reproduced on a physical system by the customer or VMware before a bug
    will be submitted to Oracle Development for resolution. All issues which
    are determined to be VMware specific will be referred back to VMware for
    Bottom line... Oracle does not "certify" VMware, but in practice does support it.  The only "officially" certified virtualization platform for Oracle is the one produced by Oracle - go figure!  This is more a marketing ploy than a technical one.
    My apologies for running off-topic... but wanted to clarify in case the questioner was looking at Oracle VMs.

    Author Comment

    Thanks to all!
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    Crashdummy - excellent point made about ESXi.  I had forgotten about that option!  At least at this stage of the game, ESXi is a HyperV killer.
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    Just an additional point of note:  Per Microsoft, live migration capability (similar to VMware's Vmotion) is slated to be released for HyperV sometime in the first half of 2010.... This is a feature that VMware has offered for something like 2-4 YEARS.
    Don't wait on HyperV to mature... Microsft is still a long ways behind! Get the advantage of virtualization today.
    ere's the link to the source article that I read this morning:

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