VMWare or Hyper-V

I have a Dell R710 with around 400GB on a RAID5 array and 8GB RAM running Windows Server 2008 R2.  I want to use this as a simple VM server to run a couple virtual servers and allow me to retire some old hardware.  I know it has the specs to do it but I'm not sure whether I should be using VMWare or the Hyper-V role in Server 2008 R2.  I'm not looking to spend any money on this as it's just supposed to be a simple project that will get rid of a few old servers and consolidate some apps.

Any advice/opinions on which I should be using and why?
LVL 10
Who is Participating?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Yes it's called VMware vCenter Converter Standalone, it's available free, or it's built into vSPhere vCenter Management Server, you can just use the Import function to import physical or virtual servers.

I've used it thousands of time with great success, so  " It did't do very good", look at the EE posts, hundreds of EE users are using it with success.

Download VMware vCenter Converter here


VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.x Documentation


VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.3 User Guide


For the conversion steps, read fellow Expert Bestway's article.


Best Practice Video Guide here


Both are great!  I prefer to use HyperV.  I have used it for building a Windows 2008 Domain with Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2007.

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
VMWare vSphere Hypervisor (new name for ESXi) and Hyper-V are both very good products.

VMWare vSphere Hypervisor is a free download here.


It would probably easier for you to add the Hyper-V role, and you could use your Win2k8 R2 server as is and start.

Otherwise you would have to install VMWare vSphere Hypervisor on the bare metal.

You are going to need more Memory for your server, at least double 16GB or 24GB, for Hyper-V or VMware.

My preference is VMware, but I would say that! (VMware is more popular, look at the number of questions here on EE!)
Improve Your Query Performance Tuning

In this FREE six-day email course, you'll learn from Janis Griffin, Database Performance Evangelist. She'll teach 12 steps that you can use to optimize your queries as much as possible and see measurable results in your work. Get started today!

Going virtual helps with consoldating and opens up space on the computer racks.  You take snapshots of the virtual machines, so if you made a configuration change and it crashes the machine you can revert back- quickly.
You definetly need to add more memory.
simonseztechConnect With a Mentor Commented:
It's difficult to tell without more informations.

With R2 up to date Microsoft bring dynamic memory allocation. If you are already familiar with windows environement I'll sugget to go with hyper-v role.

Free version of Vmware ESXi is great too but require specific hardware. If you want all the advanced feature you will need vCenter. But vCenter is not free. Plus if you need to optimise or debug is more like linux command line.

Here's a chart but since it's from VMware it's biased.

You can also read :

But if it's just to consolidate a few old server and you are already a windows guy. Ill recommend to stay with windows.
qbakiesAuthor Commented:
Why would I need more memory?  I'm planning on adding two virtual servers and allocating 2GB RAM to each.  The physical servers these will replace have 2GB or less of RAM now.
Svet PaperovIT ManagerCommented:
Since you already running Windows Server 2008 R2, I will suggest to stay with and add Hyper-V role. Major advantage: GUI. Otherwise I would say that both, VMWare vSphere Hypervisor and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 are good products, provide similar functionality, and are free. It all depends on personal choice.

You don’t need more RAM. Windows OS with Hyper-V role needs around 1GB, the rest can be used for the virtual machines.
qbakiesAuthor Commented:
Is there a free way to grab a snapshot of a server and create a virtual machine out of it in Hyper-v or VMWare?
Bryan ButlerCommented:
There is a "Physical to Virtual" operation in VMWare.  Not sure about Hyper-V.  I have used the VM on a couple years ago.  It did't do very good, but I didn't try more than a couple times.

Looks like there is one for Hyper-V too.  IMHO, I'd just rebuild them from scratch; it will probably be less time in the short and long run.
Bryan ButlerCommented:
Svet PaperovConnect With a Mentor IT ManagerCommented:
It depends on what your physical machines are running?

SCVMM is not a free product (the link provided by @developedtester). You could use a small tool Disk2VHD: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/ee656415 but it can convert Server 2003 or higher only.
qbakiesAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the help.  I'm going to go with Hyper-V and see what happens.
Bryan ButlerCommented:
hanccocka, I'm curious as to how complex the machines were as far as apps.  If I had a DB, appserver, or something complex installed, it never worked for me.  This was a 2 or 3 years ago.   Has your experience just been with basic servers running IIS?  Has it all been recent work?  Thanks.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.