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VMWare ESX vs. Hyper-V

Posted on 2014-03-04
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Last Modified: 2014-11-12
I am trying to decide whether to go with VMWare ESX v5.1 or Hyper-V (W2012).
I will need to set up two VMs - one SBS2011 server and MAYBE one W2008 Terminal Server for 4 users. I am going to buy new server box with two 600GB SAS 15K (RAID 1) with 32GB RAM.

I personally tried both and like VMWare a lot even though they both will let me accomplish my goals. On the other hand VMWare does not have Windows-GUI based RAID controller management program like Windows, so it is hard to tell what is going on with hard disks other than lights on hot-swap hard drive cages. I know CLI interface is available but it was "HELL" trying to figure out the commands.

What is your opinion?
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Question by:sglee
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jhyiesla earned 488 total points
ID: 39904254
I've never used Hyper-V so I can't comment on it.  We're a big VMware shop, both server side and VDI (View). I'm a huge fan. I've seen us really stress the environment, both on purpose and accidentally and even when I've held my breath that we'd lost a VM or really messed something up, ESXi just continues to perform.  Not that you can't break it, but it's just so full featured and well thought out. Again, I can't speak against or for Hyper-V.  However, in the last few years I've become less and less impressed with MS as a whole and that would give me pause to really think about putting my whole server environment in their hands at that level.
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 244 total points
ID: 39904366
I've occasionally used VMWare and find it frustrating -
*MAX of 32 GB of RAM (free version, only one I've use)
*No GUI for management on the server
*Weird issues if you ever have to rebuild the server (Sorry, I can't remember exactly what but I had a client I had to rebuild a VMWare server for and on the rebuild it claimed about matching IDs or something like that - I interpreted it like Windows SIDs in a VMWare world and that made things more difficult).
*No Replica capability for redundancy.
*Third party
*MUST support your hardware - cannot add drivers to it due to Kernel design.
*You don't have easy access to the VMDK in the event you need to move them to another server (Hyper-V stores VHDs on NTFS file systems - you could pull the drive and attach as a slave if you had to -very easy and quick)

For a small environment ESPECIALLY, Hyper-V as a role on a Windows Server should be easy to manage and full featured.  I DO deploy the free Hyper-V as well, but whenever possible, I use the role on a full server install for managability.  Also, the VHD format can be mounted on a Windows 7/2008R2 and later computer for easy access to VM data on VHDs.  (VHDx can be mounted on Windows 8/2012 and later)
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by:bluedan
bluedan earned 244 total points
ID: 39904385
You can also refer to this experts-exchange KB we answered before for additional info.

VMware vs. Hyper-V
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Virtualization/Q_28215148.html

Hope this help.
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by:sglee
ID: 39904402
For those who favors VMWare ESXi, I wanted to get your take with respect to my question lack of GUI inteface  --->
"On the other hand VMWare does not have Windows-GUI based RAID controller management program like Windows, so it is hard to tell what is going on with hard disks other than lights on hot-swap hard drive cages. I know CLI interface is available but it was "HELL" trying to figure out the commands."
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by:Abhilash
Abhilash earned 244 total points
ID: 39904442
I'm not sure if there is any way to manage RAID in ESXi other than command line but there are some VIB's that are there which will help you monitor them. I know its not the same but you will need monitoring more than management. You will not build RAID everyday but you need to monitor it on a regular basis to see what's happening.
This below link will help you with the configuration of one such VIB
http://www.thomas-krenn.com/en/wiki/Monitoring_LSI_RAID_Controllers_in_VMware
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by:jhyiesla
jhyiesla earned 488 total points
ID: 39906113
I suppose some of the disk management boils down to what you buy.  Yes, ESXi itself has no GUI for anything to do with the disks as far as RAID and the like.  In our environment,which is fairly good size by some standards, we have an array from IBM and we can manage it through an IBM GUI disk management app. We are about to move to an SSD array solution for our disks and I believe that has a GUI management tool as well.

I'm glad that Lee mentioned that he was commenting on the free version as the "real" ESXi does not have those limitations, especially on RAM. Our experience with a server farm with 5 ESXi hosts and a VDI farm with three hosts and a number of SAN arrays has been excellent. Not that ESXi has always been perfect, but for what we ask of it and put it through,it's an amazing product.
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