Which gives better performance - Citrix Essentials or Microsoft VMware

We are planning to setup integration environment (Mirth instances) deployed on several VM machines created over two high end production servers.

I want to know which is better in terms of performance, relaibility , ease of maintenance and cost effective to create virtualization layer
Citrix Xen server essentials or Microsoft VMware ?
kris_indAsked:
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Microsoft doesn't make VMWare products - EMC does.

If you're looking into virtualization, I would suggest learning about hypervisors - and the two types that exist - literally, Type 1 and Type 2.

See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypervisor

I'm not familiar with Xen myself, but VMWare and Microsoft are probably the two most dominant (definitely VMWare; Microsoft, if it's not #2, is probably climbing rapidly).
Type 1 is better for performance and the following are Type 1 hypervisors:
VMWare ESXi
Microsoft Hyper-V

Type 2 is slower and the folowing are Type 2 Hypervisors:
VMWare Server
VMWare Workstation
Microsoft Virtual Server
Microsoft Virtual PC

VMWare is generally considered the best and it's biggest advantage, in my opinion, is that it supports USB devices.  Microsoft doesn't support USB devices (beyond keyboards and pointing devices). Performance is reasonably close... but generally VMWare has a little better performance.

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kevinhsiehCommented:
Important point here, what is Mirth, and what OS does it run under? Anything not Windows is a second class citizen in Hyper-V. There is support for SUSE and Red . Other OSen do work, but not really well.

Performance and reliability of all 3 products is very good and isn't really a distinguishing factor, though VMware has released bad patches that caused outages for their customers, and I am not aware of Microsoft or Citrix doing anything like that. As for pricing, Microsoft does very well here (free), and their full management suite (which I honestly don't even NEED for my 12 physical server, 70 VM environment) is pretty cheap, especially when compared to VMware. Xen seems to be the forgotten product, and there was concern for a while that Citrix was even going to continue to develope it.

http://gcn.com/articles/2008/08/12/vmware-ceo-apologizes-for-faulty-patch.aspx 

FYI, I have only used Hyper-V, so I can't give honest opinions on VMware or XenServer other than to say that they are both better for Linux/Unix Vms and that VMware seems to want to charge you for everything, and then charge you even more down the road.
amichaellCommented:
I've used mostly XenServer with a bit of VMWare.  No Hyper-V, though that will be changing soon.  VMWare has been around the longest and is generally regarded as the best Type 1 platform for virtualized servers.  All three offer free products I believe, though the free products are limited in scope.  As an example, the free version of XenServer does not offer dynamic memory allocation.  

I think an important factor here is securing support from your software vendor.  It might be worth asking them if they support their production on virtualized platforms.  I've ran in to a few that don't or will only do so on a particular platform.
brian_vt_hokieCommented:
You can't beat free.  If you're buying two high-end servers, beef them up with RAM, load Windows 2008 R2 Datacenter on them - and you're entitled to an *unlimited* number of Windows VM's to run on them without having to purchase any licenses.

Combine that with Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV), and you can run hundreds of Highly Available VM's (any version of Windows, some Linux) essentially for free.
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