Web hosting firms, MSPs, and other IT solutions providers are using various forms of virtualization to meet the needs of their clients. About five years ago, had you asked them what technology was at the core of their virtual platforms, most probably would’ve told you something by VMware. While VMware is still the main industry darling, if you asked those providers the same question today, some of them may respond with Hyper V.
Microsoft’s Hyper V has come so far since its inception in 2008 that it really can be considered “the other hypervisor”. In fact, IDC estimates that in those five years, its share of the hypervisor market has increased by over 30 percent. By comparison, Citrix XenServer and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Hypervisor, which we’ve also talked about, have considerably smaller shares.
Like most software, Hyper V has gradually improved in each release. With Hyper V Server 2012, it’s like Microsoft said the heck with gradualness and went for dramatic improvements. This product uses the same virtualization technology found in Windows Server, yet is missing the extensive set of roles and features the popular server operating system offers. Being scaled down in this manner enables it to run more efficiently from a resource standpoint and minimize IT overhead.
Key Features in Hyper V
Virtualization aims to make server consolidation simple and effective. Microsoft believes Hyper V Server 2012 accomplishes both with these core features:
Network Virtualization: The latest edition of Hyper V Server isolates server configuration and network configuration to create an environment that consists of several dedicated virtual networks. As a result, implementation on physical servers is simplified, while security and stability are enhanced.
Extensible Switch: One of the biggest challenges in deploying a virtual infrastructure is getting it to play nice with your current setup. Microsoft addresses this issue with the Extensible Switch, a feature that allows the hypervisor to work seamlessly with existing infrastructure systems and tools.
Enhanced VM Scale: The main selling point of this hypervisor is its ability to support a larger number of virtual machines with processing power and RAM. To be specific, it can run up to four TB of RAM per host box and 64 nodes per cluster, which according to one Hyper V Server 2012 review, balances out to 1024 virtual machines. That number may be a bit too precise, but the point is that it enables a single physical server to run huge workloads in efficient fashion.
Better Mobility: Finally, the 2012 version of Hyper-V Server makes mobility a priority by providing a plethora of ways to move and manage virtual machines throughout the infrastructure. Whether it’s moving a single VM to another physical machine or relocating several at once, the software delivers the ultimate in migration flexibility
Microsoft is confident that it has crafted a winner in Hyper-V Server 2012, a cost effective solution that fits seamlessly into existing IT infrastructures, while enabling organizations to maximize resource utilization, improve performance and increase availability. Although its simplicity caters to smaller, less tech savvy organizations, its ability to effortlessly support huge virtual environments makes it ideal for companies of all sizes. Available in the Windows Server 2012 bundle or as a free standalone product, it offers easy entry into enterprise-class virtualization.
Hyper-V is great, but how does it stack up against VMware? Take a look.