What should I consider when choosing between Hyper-V and VMware?

I just started with this company and I am there first IT employ.  We have 11 different locations and are spread out.  There is no infrastructure in place at this time, and I'm looking at making thing better.  We are about to install a SQL Server, Web Server, Apps Server, Terminal Server and Domain Controller and I have two groups of consults coming in to help me design things.  One consult is pitching VMware while the other is pitching HyperV.  We are moving from QuickBooks Enterprise to MAS 500 and we’ll have about 30 people in that system.  I also need people to be able to scan in files and store them on the server so every can access them and such.  I'm also considering virtual desktop for business critical applications.  Any input would be appreciated.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
whats your budget?
It depends upon the budget and if what type of licensing you already have with Microsoft.

Also what technical skills people have. if they are more Microsoft technical team then it will be a point of consideration.
Unless you have the cash to buy a few really heavy CPU/Memory servers, I would suggest against virtualizing SQL.  Terminal servers can also take a pretty heavy usage hit in virtual environments.  As far as the domain controller, keep disaster recovery in mind when thinking virtual.  If you're only going to have one DC, then I suggest you leave that physical as well.  If you'll have more than one, make sure each is on a separate virtual host.  Other than that, the rest should be fine.  

The main thing to be aware of is license pricing.  There is a difference between licensing based on CPU cores vs. licensing per Proc.  Memory generally comes into play with license pricing as well.  Keep in mind that Hyper-V is much cheaper until you start delving into Live Migration, which then you'll need a server to host System Center Virtual Machine Manager.  Live Migration is the same as VMware's vMotion.  Keep in mind that VMware has a very cheap/free option if you don't care about vMotion also.  

My main suggestion when pricing hardware is to focus mainly on CPU and Memory.  Those will be shared between the servers the most.  Do you have a storage (hard disk) plan in mind?  It doesn't sound like your company is large enough to shell out the cash for a SAN back-end, so I'm assuming the storage would be allocated from the servers themselves.  That will definitely limit you in vMotion/Live Migration anyway.  

Keep in mind comfort too.  Hyper-V is Windows, whereas VMware is Linux-based.  I strongly suggest VMware for performance gains, but Hyper-V is getting a lot better.  

Virtual Desktops are better served through something like Citrix.  You can also do some of this through Terminal Services/Remote Desktop Services (in 2008).  You have many options in that realm.
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Aaron TomoskySD-WAN SimplifiedCommented:
I'd keep vdi on the back burner until you get your servers squared away. I can't believe there are 11 locations and you're the first it staff!
SpammyChickenAuthor Commented:
Good information guys.  To answer your questions, I haven't been given a budget; I don't mind spreading the money as long as it's well spent. As far as licensing unfortunately everyone has OEM copies of Windows XP Pro or Windows 7 Pro and OEM Office 2007 or Home and Business 2010 with Product Key cards.  We will be investing in a SAN.  As far as my technical background I have worked for small computer stores for the last ten year so I have mainly support small business and home users.  I mainly have experience with Windows desktops and servers. Also can I do the Citrix VM desktops from ether platform?
Yes, you can ..

Seeing from above.. Hyper V seems to be better option..
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
@Minoru7: VMware is not Linux based. ESXi 5.0 has no service console or Linux functionaility. There is also no requirement to visit the console, unless instructed by VMware.

OEM copies gives you a small issue, as you cannot move them. So you will need purchase Windows XP/7 again.

Hyper-V or VMware are both good solutions.

This has been one of the most discussed items over the past couple yrs. Hyper-V, though making strides, is behind VMware's ESX/i product. Below are some good and even somewhat recent (still applicable) discussion threads from EE:


VMware's take:


Other posts on the topic (some are a bit more legacy-based):

Before you settle on which technology to select for your Thin Client Solution or Virtual Desktop solution, checkout this indepedant guide to VDI, which Compares them ALL, Microsoft VDI/Hyper-V, VMware VDI, Citrix, Quest, 2x etc

@hanccocka This isn't the place really to argue, but VMware is most definitely built on a Linux kernel with Linux command-base:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VMware_ESX.  I support the product here at work, and have visited the Linux command-console on occasion.  We are strictly VMware here.  However, you are correct in that you shouldn't have to touch the console very much, if at all.  I only brought this up from a comfort stand-point.  

Both products are great.  It really comes down to comfort and environment restrictions.  And yes, Citrix is basically a beefed up Windows Terminal Services, and may be run from either solution.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
@min.... ESX has been discontinued. I was referring to ESXi, not ESX which is old legacy. And Wiki is hardly a good reference!

any new installation is likely to be on ESXi 5.0, no Linux Service Console.
@han...Honestly, it doesn't matter one way or the other.  You're picking hairs, and it's not relevant to helping the author of this question.  The point in the matter has to do with comfort, and that was the main reason for bringing it up.  Even without the console, VMware is more of a foreign world to a Windows-only administrator.  And that was the main point I was making here.  Your nitpicking doesn't change the context of my answer.  

With that said, Spammy, the web console, etc. are quite friendly from earlier versions of VMware.  It is quite easy to use, and from my perspective, has more functionality than Hyper-V.  But that's my opinion based on using both.  Take it as you will.  

Good luck with your decision!
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
@min... ensuring the Asker has the correct facts. VMware ESXi is not based on Linux, giving the impression he needs to be a Linux Administrator to Administer a VMware vSphere environment is wrong.

Both have Windows management GUIs.
Sorry...that was not my intention.  I did not mean to mislead.  And as much as both have Windows GUIs for managing the virtual environment itself, those GUIs aren't the part that manage the physical hardware.  You will need to know both parts, especially when the hardware goes bad, which it will.  Albeit, usually the hardware is replaced with identical parts, not requiring you to touch the back-end pieces.  It still brings to mention that it's not as comfortable of an environment as a fully Windows solution such as Hyper-V to a Windows-only Administrator.  Obviously, hanccocka has cleared up that it's not as bad as having to be a Linux Administrator.  Just know that VMware is a full OS for virtual environments, and Hyper-V is a Windows Role (not a whole OS in itself).  The closest you can get to VMware's model with Hyper-V is if you install it with Windows Server Core.
You pick VMware if you need features that are only available on VMware, today. From a cost perspective, VMware will cost you more, but it's also the most mature, feature-filled option for a Type 1 hypervisor. You also have to buy the most expensive edition (Enterprise Plus) to get all those features.

Don't get me wrong: I am a VMware guy, and think its the best for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with cost.

But you're going to end up with a bunch of paid-for Hyper-V just by buying MS operating systems, and your new entry into a truckload of higher-end IT projects suggests that you can certainly stand to begin with Hyper-V.

As another posted, however, you need to be very careful when sizing your environment for SQL: absolutely virtualize it, but plan for it to consume LOTS of resources to run well: CPU, memory AND disk.

And if you're going to get the most out of whatever you decide, you need shared storage; I didn't see that listed in your rundown. An iSCSI "starter SAN" might have the capacity you're looking for, but the demands of SQL could push you into a higher tier to get the IOPS needed.

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SpammyChickenAuthor Commented:
Thanks to everyone for all the great information.   One more question, when I asked the vendor that suggested Hyper-V to justify that decision one thing he said was that VMware was better to manage lots of smaller servers, but Hyper-V was better with handling resource intensive servers like the SQL server.  Is there any truth to this?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
No truth whatsoever.

Both hypervisors are very good. but work out your requirements and features your require including backup and management.

It would seem one consultant is familiar with hyperv and the other vmware but neither has skills with both!

License costs are key ask both for licenses costs and see which is acceptable for hypervisor licenses and server os.

Its very easy as a vendor to win a sale by putting down the competition; there are maybe other reasons but that is made up!

VMware is the world leader for Microsoft to play catch up.
Be careful of consultants hyping virtualization.  Unless you have dozens of servers to install, virtualization may not even be a good idea.  I have worked with both VMWare and MS Hyper-V.  Both have issues and must be handled with care.  Virtualization introduces a layer of complexity that adds to other issues and may not provide substantial benefit.  Don't get caught up in the latest glitz.  Why are you not considering VirtualBox?  I have had great experience with it.

Do you really need a SAN?  Are you handling multi-Terrabytes of data?  Have you looked to "Cloud" solutions.  Sounds like you might need a vendor agnostic consultant to assist you in developing an infrastructure strategy.  Good idea to ask many questions.  Way to go!
SpammyChickenAuthor Commented:
Thanks guys, lots to consider.
Another option to consider is professional hosting of your MAS 500 environment, utilizing hardware and infrastructure you otherwise wouldn't have access to, then using technology like Citrix XenDesk to deploy it securely and quickly, so it performs like a local install and is scalable.

Check out these two solutions specific for MAS 500:

Managed Hosting:

Disaster Recovery:
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