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» VIEW ALL POSTS Jun 30 2008   4:30PM GMT

Why (or why not) switch from VMware to Hyper-V?



Posted by: Eric Siebert
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Eric Siebert
Microsoft Hyper-V
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Now that Microsoft has finally delivered Hyper-V, everyone is waiting to see how many VMware shops will make the switch. Are there any compelling reasons for a company that already has a large investment in VMware products to switch to another product? Here are some reasons why companies may or may not make the switch from VMware to Hyper-V:

Some reasons why companies may choose Microsoft Hyper-V:

  • It’s Microsoft. Companies that mainly use Microsoft products could switch to get better support for running their products running on virtual hosts and to not have to rely on a separate vendor for virtualization.

  • Cost. It’s definitely cheaper then ESX, but I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for. Yes, Hyper-V is a lot cheaper then ESX but it lacks the maturity and high-end features that ESX has. It’s probably just a matter of time though before VMware lowers its cost for large enterprises as they have already done with the SMB market with its bundled foundation acceleration kits.

  • Versatility. Hyper-V will pretty much run on any hardware that Windows will run on. ESX only supports a very specific set of hardware. VMware has recently expanded their hardware support and will continue to do so.

Some reasons why companies stick with VMware ESX:

  • Cost (again). Companies with a lot of in-house VMware experience will have to re-train staff to learn Hyper-V and basically start from scratch. There is a large pool of skilled and experienced VMware architects and administrators available today as well as many VMware consulting firms and business partners.
  • Less features. ESX and VirtualCenter have a very rich tool set including vMotion, DRS and HA. Hyper-V lacks the ability to team NICs on vSwitches and their Quick Migration feature requires downtime.
  • Less third-party products. A large number of 3rd party products and add-on’s are available for ESX to enhance it. It will take time for vendors to release products for Hyper-V.
  • It’s VMware. ESX is a mature, stable product that has been around for many years, Hyper-V is a 1.0 product that will take to develop and get all the bugs out of it.

Will I make the switch? Probably not anytime soon. I’ll definitely be looking at Hyper-V and will make my own comparisons, but the lack of certain features is a show stopper for me right now. I’ll keep an eye on Hyper-V to see how it develops, re-evaluating it later as new versions are released.

The competition is going to be great in the virtualization market, as it helps to drive down costs and force vendors to innovate. The race is on between VMware and Microsoft with VMware already miles ahead. Nevertheless, Microsoft has a lot of money and the determination to be on top (take Lotus Domino, Novell Netware and Netscape as examples). Expect Microsoft to slowly whittle away at VMware’s dominance as their product matures and to see VMware to do whatever they can to maintain superiority in the virtualization market.

11  Comments on this Post

 
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  • Eric Siebert
    How did MS make this price comparison to appear like it is $28 vs several thousands? All journalists and bloggers that took it up for a fact and swalloed it? Windows Server 2008 license = $$$ VMware Server = $0 ESXi = $89 if bundled with OEM hardware
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  • Eric Siebert
    you also forgot about Oracle. SQL server as a joke when it first appeared in the scene, but luck at it now, Oracle DB's are being pushed out of the door. VMware have to continue to inovate, the Hypervisor will soon become redundant as more virtualisation functions are added to the processor. what VMware need to do is continue to invest in inovation surrounding the management of VM's. the beast has awoken in MS releasing Hyper-V but they are not yet out of the blocks and the business world is alot more IT savvy today than when NetScape, Novell and Notes were pushed asside. the Techies that argued against the removal of Netware for NT4 are now in the boardrooms as CTO's and CIO's, these people will demand proof about MS claims and not just believe the Marketing speel.
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  • Eric Siebert
    I am also talking to others whom have a concern around cost due to the fact that the consolidation ratio on Hyper-V is significantly less than ESX. For a small platform, this is not an issue, but for medium to large installs, this increases the cost per VM using Hyper-V due to the requirement of more infrastructure.
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  • Eric Siebert
    Hank, The free Vmware server is ok if you want to install it on 1 server (can't use as much memory,etc) but the functionality of ESX is a whole lot better and it does cost a lot more. We bought it where I work at so it is installed on 2 HP Blades so if we need to do maintenance on 1 blade we can move the virtual machines over to the other one (VmMotion)(can't do that with the free Vmware) and the HA so if one blade fails it moves all of the virtual servers for you even if you're not at the job site. We use the free Vmware server hosted on a Windows 2003 server for development servers but it is very underpowered since the version of Windows 2003 server that we had already can't use any more the 3 gb of memory. But, it's ok for those needs. I personally haven't looked up the Hyper-V but I'm assuming since it's a Windows product it's going to need a lot more updates and reboots then Vmware ESX that runs on a Linux platform does.
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  • Eric Siebert
    Obviously $28 is a misleading number. If you start adding the features to ESXi that you will need in a enterprise environment the cost goes up. An ESXi standalone license only gets you VMFS and vSMP support. Plus take a look at the cost of a VirtualCenter license that is needed to use any of the advanced features with ESX. If you do a overall licensing cost comparison of implementing Hyper-V vs. ESX in a enterprise with all the features Hyper-V will be much cheaper right now. However you will get better performance, scalability, features and functionality with ESX. David did a good cost comparison of the two here--> http://searchvmware.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid179_gci1314298,00.html#
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  • Eric Siebert
    Agreed SQL has become a powerhouse especially with the latest 2005 release which is a very worthy alternative to Oracle. Innovation is definitely the key, those that continue to innovate thrive (most of the time) and those that don't slowly wither away.
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  • Eric Siebert
    I disagree with the cost of Hyper-V being cheaper. With all the features that ESX gives and the benefit of memory overcommitment, the costs per VM are in VMware's favor. You can see this discussed here: http://blogs.vmware.com/virtualreality/2008/06/a-look-at-some.html
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  • Eric Siebert
    I would like to make a correction to the statement: "Hyper-V will pretty much run on any hardware that Windows will run on. ESX only supports a very specific set of hardware. VMware has recently expanded their hardware support and will continue to do so." Not quite--unless something has changed from the last Beta release, Hyper-V needs a processor with VT technology implemented. When I tried to install Hyper-V on a 64 bit machine running 64-bit Windows 2008, it refused to install because the processor did not have VT implemented. So care has to be made to purchase a processor that will support Hyper-V. Don P.
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  • Eric Siebert
    It seems that no-one has bothered to look at Hyper-V pricing before slamming the $28 figure. First, you can get Hyper-V, as a standalone product (without any licenses for Windows) for only $28. Secondly, MS is actually selling (or planning to sell) versions of Windows 2008 without Hyper-V included, and those copies retail for exactly $28 less than the full-featured O/S at each level. So that $28 figure is very accurate. You just have to remember it does not include your first Virtual O/S... but then again, neither does VMWare.
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  • Eric Siebert
    28USD is the price of the hyper-v stand alone server license. Also, the differences between the the features of both may not be as bad as they seem: http://blogs.technet.com/virtualization/archive/2008/04/24/hyper-v-quick-migration-vmware-live-migration-part-3.aspx Quick Migration in seconds is hardly a problem for the majority of servers.
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  • Eric Siebert
    Those who mentioned VMware server (aka free) forgot, he needs to buy Windows license to run it.. Or show me a company who will use linux + it (company, not students ;))
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