A few months ago Chris Childerhose, a consultant and MCITP with a local Microsoft Partner, impressed me when the afternoon of Day 5 of my class on Windows Server Virtualization (10215A) he sat the exam 70-659 and scored a perfect 1000. He has since gone on to pass the remaining exams to earn the certification Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Virtualization Administrator 2008 R2. As an advocate of Microsoft virtualization he was asked to put together a comparison to vSphere 4.1. This is what he came up with.
Microsoft Hyper-V – Bundled Virtualization Software
With Microsoft’s Hyper-V you can consolidate many servers down to fewer physical servers without compromising on services. Hyper-V allows for the consolidation of multiple server instances as separate virtual machines running on a single physical machine (the Virtualization Host).
So how does Hyper-V compare to VMware, the de facto standard for virtualization? Microsoft has made great improvements to Hyper-V and with the latest release (2008 R2 SP1 has added many features that can be found in VMware. This list outlines many of them:
There are differences in the products with VMware having some features that Hyper-V does not have, and vice versa. With Microsoft’s Server Management Suite Enterprise (SMSE) products like SCVMM (Service Center Virtual Machine Manager), OpsMgr (Service Center Operations Manager), and ConfigMgr (System Center Configuration Manager) you can monitor and administer not only the virtualization environment, but also the virtual machine operating systems, host operating systems, and the physical hardware much more richly and robustly than the VMware products can.
The Hyper-V role is available in all versions of Windows 2008 R2, as well as with the free Hyper-V Server 2008 R2. Guest OS licensing for the operating system does not favour either platform, because the Virtual Licensing Model that Microsoft released with Server 2003 R2 applies to both platforms. The licensing is “1 + N” which means that based on the version of Windows 2008 you purchase you can run “N” virtual machines.
· Windows 2008 Standard – 1 + 1 virtual machine
· Windows 2008 Enterprise – 1 + 4 virtual machines
· Windows 2008 Datacenter – 1 + Unlimited virtual machines
While there is no difference on licensing, there is a huge difference with regard to the cost of the platform. VMware does offer a free hypervisor (ESXi) but in order to use any of the advanced features (vMotion, DRS, etc…) you have to purchase licenses for it. As well VMware is sold on a per-CPU basis, and with a ‘core tax’ for CPUs with more than six cores per CPU.
Microsoft also has the Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 which is a dedicated standalone product and contains only the Hyper-V role, Windows Server driver model and virtualization components. No additional license is required to use any of the advanced features, which can be implemented using tools such as Failover Cluster Manager.
One last major difference is to the certification program for each. In order to become a VMware Certified Professional (VCP) you must take a one week class (which the instructor can decide to pass or fail you) and then take the exam. In order to achieve any of the Microsoft certifications you can take a class, or you can choose to learn the technology on your own, and then sit the exam.
For further information on Windows 2008 R2 with Hyper-V please visit – http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/hyperv-main.aspx
For further information on Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 please visit – http://www.microsoft.com/hyper-v-server/en/us/default.aspx
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