You may have figured out that we’re really big fans of virtualization around here. A few months ago, we did a post that squared industry leading VMware against Microsoft Hyper V, the number two option. We went pretty deep to take a look at how both products interact with the hardware, as well as some pros and cons of their respective approaches to the technology in general. This time around, I want to go even further by exploring some key factors to consider when choosing between these two virtual heavyweights.
As it goes in virtualization, the hypervisor creates the guest operating systems or virtual machines you need to test your apps, consolidate your hardware or whatever you have to do. Just about any product can get you there, but the path you take to virtual land might either be smooth or rocky depending on your choice. vSPhere, vmWare’s current flagship hypervisor, is admired for an intuitive interface that aims to make administration simple for all experience levels. After firing up the built-in Virtual Machine wizard, you can literally have your new VMs up and running in minutes.
Hyper V basically gives you two ways to create new VMs. With the default option, you can assign your VMs a predetermined amount of memory, and save them in a predetermined location. The second option allows you to customize the creation process to meet your specific needs. While the Hyper V approach is generally straightforward, it doesn’t always go off without a hitch. In fact, TechRepublic has a very timely article explaining how licensing, hardware, and capacity issues can slow deployment down to a halt if you’re not prepared.
The similarities between VMware and Hyper V can be seen as deep as their approach to resource management. Although they use slightly different methods, both dynamically allocate resources by borrowing from idle VMs and giving to those in need. Administrators are the real winners here because they no longer have to manually allocate resources. The biggest difference is that while VMware “overcommits” by allowing a VM to retain more memory and storage than it needs to be on the safe side, Hyper V actually lets you control how those resources are dynamically distributed in exact numbers. This has been highlighted as an advantage crafty administrators can use to maximize the potential and performance of their virtual server infrastructure.
Cost and Availability
VMware has a range of products, but if you want to use vSphere, you’ve pretty much got three options:
- Buy it outright
- Download the free trial
- Use the free version
If you were somehow able to guess that the free and trial editions of vSphere are missing a little something, then you’re spot on the money. They let you virtualize your servers, but you’ll be minus features that are essential to optimizing centralization, performance, and availability. When you purchase a VMware license, you unlock fuctionality that can further improve your IT infrastructure in the process.
Microsoft takes a much different approach to availability. You can use its Hyper V product in two ways:
- Buy Windows Server 2012
- Use the free version
Hyper V comes bundled in Windows Server 2012, an enterprise-grade operating system many businesses have running on their servers. Boasting features that allow you to manage company devices, optimize storage, and build custom applications, it’s a nice product to have, but unlike the standalone version of Hyper V, it’s not free. Unloaded and ready to go, this edition provides the full functionality right off the bat, eliminating the need to make an upgrade later. In a tightly contested battle, the deciding factor often comes down to aspects such as price value and cost effectivenessm, two areas where Hyper V scores big.
As you can see, these virtualization giants are pretty evenly matched. IT administrators have their favorites, of course, but as the game’s two biggest players, you really can’t go wrong with either. Having said all that, I still gotta know – who ya got?