How does VMware vSphere 5.5 compare to the competition?

VMworld 2013.png

Yesterday VMware release vSphere 5.5 which includes many new features and enhancements, again raising the bar for the competition.

But how does VMware vSphere 5.5 relate to Microsoft Server 2012 Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer 6.2 or RedHat RHEV 3.2? Check out our new Enterprise Hypervisor comparison in which I added the new vSphere 5.5 features and enhancements.

Hyper-V? Not in my datacenter… (continued)

Simon Cowel NOIn 2008 I wrote an article named “Hyper-V, not in my datacenter!” which was based on Hyper-V version 1. In 2009 I wrote an article named “Hyper-V, the laughter continues” and “ESX vs Hyper-V mythbusting myth” which was based on Hyper-V version 2.

Microsoft promised/warned us that with Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V version 3 this would all be history. But as Sander wrote in a more recent article named “Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V: overpromising and underdelivering” this turned out to be a marketing statement based on a premature product with no suitable management tools.

But now with the release of System Center 2012 Service Pack 1, Hyper -V version 3 should be the VMware vSphere-killer (according to MS).

Too bad, the sequel continues! Yesterday Edwin pointed me to a great article by Justin Paul, a fellow blogger, vExpert, VCP and EMC specialist, in which he describes his recent struggles with Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.
True, in the last four point Justin refers to some information which is a bit outdated, but he has a valid point stating “Then explain why it happened to a 2012 hyperV cluster if it is fixed ?” when people in the comment section claim that Microsoft solved this in the new version of Hyper-V. Apparently they weren’t fixed.

When I read Justin’s comments on the CSV issues and the hassle to setup a Hyper-V environment, I stand by my earlier position, this is not a product which I trust to base my enterprise IT infrastructure on. So still, “Hyper-V? Not in my datacenter…”.

Check out Justin’s article on “Justin’s IT Blog”.

Enterprise Hypervisor feature comparison (RHEV added)

Back by popular demand, the Enterprise Hypervisor feature comparison.

After the release of our latest comparison I’ve received a lot of requests to include RedHat’s RHEV to the comparison. Although I’ve never encountered it in enterprise environments, I decided to add it as a service to our readers.

I based the RedHat features on their 3.1 version which is in beta right now. This is because I’ve limited knowledge of the product and I received an updated comparison from one of our readers based on this version.

I hope you find the new Enterprise Hypervisor comparison useful and feel free to contact us when you have feedback for us to improve the list.

Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V: overpromising and underdelivering

A few weeks ago Microsoft released Windows Server 2012 and with it also Hyper-V 3. Hyper-V logoThe newest release of Hyper-V has some great improvements and new features which will in some cases definitely challenge VMware. To make use of these features and to manage your entire environment you need a management tool, just like VMware vSphere uses vCenter Server.

However at the time of writing, Hyper-V has no management tooling available. Normally System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 (which is part of the System Center 2012 suite) would be used to manage the Hyper-V infrastructure. But the current version of System Center can’t handle Windows Server 2012, meaning no management for Hyper-V 3 servers either. The support for Windows Server 2012 is coming with the release of SP1 for System Center 2012 which will probably be released somewhere at the end of Q4 2012 or Q1 2013.

“It’s like selling a car without a steering wheel, dangerous and unsuitable for every day use.”


NEW Enterprise Hypervisor comparison

Two weeks ago VMware released the new version of their vSphere hypervisor, so it’s time to update our Enterprise Hypervisor comparison. It very impressive to see how quick VMware has reacted to the Hyper-V 3 announcements and has taken most of the wind out of the Microsoft sails.

I hope you find the new Enterprise Hypervisor comparison useful and feel free to contact us when you have feedback for us to improve the list.
The information on Microsoft Server 2012 Hyper-V features is very inconsistent, many different values out there.

In this version I added 10 new criteria. Many of these criteria should, in my opinion, be available in hypervisors suitable for enterprise environments.

You can find the new and improved Enterprise Hypervisor comparison here.

Last update: August 27th, 2013

StarWind and Windows Server 2012 Scale-Out Servers

StarwindThursday 12th there was a press release by StarWind stating “StarWind completely eliminates the need for shared storage when implementing Windows Server 2012 Scale-out file servers”. At first, while reading the title, I was a bit confused. Starwind itself offers shared storage solutions with it’s software. But after reading the article, it´s clear that the intention is to eliminate the implementation of hardware-based storage solutions.

(more…) at Microsoft’s Techdays 2012

Last weekend I received an invitation to attend the Microsoft Techdays 2012 in The Hague (Netherlands).

Because I’d like to keep a broad view and I want to be able to evaluate and judge techniques based on a complete solution, I changed my calender and accepted the invitation.

Unfortunately I missed the keynote session because traffic was a nightmare that morning.

Configuring & deploying a private cloud with System Center 2012
The first session I attended was “Configuring & deploying a private cloud with System Center 2012″. Looking at the demo, System Center Virtual Machine Manager is very much like vCenter Server 5 but with a touch of vCloud Director in it. This requires administrators to use a different, cloud based mindset. Based on my experience with vCloud Director and the fact that cloud based solutions elevate the complexity level, I think this may be an obstacle. Also, because a private cloud is nothing more or less than a private datacenter setup, I don’t prefer a cloud based approach here. On the other hand, this approach eliminates the need for a different method for private or public cloud solutions.

The item I really like is the application template functionality. With this you can create a template for a SQL, Sharepoint or Exchange server, which further reduces service implementation time and quality. This is really an area where Microsoft benefits from being the application owner/developer.


Updated Enterprise hypervisor comparison

During the last few years we published several Enterprise Hypervisor comparisons and we got very positive comments and feedback on it. With the release of vSphere 5, XenServer 6 and a service pack for Hyper-V it was time for an update.

It very interesting to see how some of the products have improved over the years and how the three major manufacturers look at each other and copy features. But you can’t trust all manufacturers by just a simple green checkbox. Some claimed features need third party add-ons, aren’t suitable for production workloads or are only supported on a limited set of operating systems. You have to investigate further and I hope I’ve done most of that work for you with this new enterprise hypervisor comparison.


New Enterprise Hypervisor comparison


Last year we published an Enterprise Hypervisor comparison and we got very positive comments and feedback on it.

During the last few weeks I received many update requests so I decided to update the old hypervisor comparison but this time I changed the setup a bit.


  • No beta or pre-release versions are used. In the last document we also compared Hyper-V R2 beta which wasn’t officially released.
    This time all software is available and no features are subject to change due to beta-test, etc.;
  • The versions used are the platinum/ultimate/fully-featured versions of the hypervisors. Product features can be limited by lower license versions;
  • No free versions have been used in this comparison.


Hyper-V R2 vs vSphere: A feature comparison

At the end of May of this year we wrote a article concerning Hypervisor comparisons and we got a lot of positive feedback on it. The downside to that is that people want an update as soon as one of the companies launches a new version of its product, and who can blame them. However the issue is that this takes a lot of research and because of that, a lot of time. And because two of us are ill and in bed wearing a sombrero ;-) and the other two are extremely busy, we simply don’t have that time right now.

However, Scott Lowe has written an excellent article on the feature comparison between VMware vSphere 4 and Microsoft’s Hyper-V R2 which is a must read for everybody who’s advising customers on hypervisors.

It’s not as extensive as the Enterprise hypervisor comparison we did earlier but it gives you a good image how both products relate to each other. To extend the picture I added a list of supported operating systems.


Project VRC: Clock drift and test results

VRCProject Virtual Reality Check finally posted a new document about previous results and possible clock drift when using the “Login Virtual Session Indexer (VSI)”.  Previous test setups and results didn’t take into account how different hypervisors handle passing time.

In my opinion this is a serious setback to Project VRC which is considered an institute in the virtualization world. People will start questioning the results when no new tests will be performed.

Below is a description from the Project VRC website explaining the new whitepaper they published on September 14th 2009. This is a must read for people that already did some testing as well as new tests. In short: ‘Because of Windows clock behavior in virtual machines the results were affected and some hypervisors may come out better than they really are.

This whitepaper is a review and reflection on previous Project VRC publications, the benchmark: “Login Virtual Session Indexer (VSI)” and Windows clock behavior within virtual machines.  This discussion is fueled by the fact that results from the individual Project VRC whitepapers are set side-by-side to compare hypervisors. Project VRC has been in discussion with both vendors and community, and performed additional research in this context. Before Project VRC can publish new results, it is important to address any questions, review the impact of this discussion and improve VSI where possible.

You can download it at

The major conclusions in this Whitepaper are:


Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 has been Released To Manufacturing (RTM)

I was checking out the news and was checking out the competition on Microsoft’s Virtualization Team Blog and ran into some interesting news.

Microsoft just announced that their Windows Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft hyper-V Server 2008 R2 have been released to manufacturing.

I guess my ‘Microsoft-informant’ was right, Microsoft’s intention is to release Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V at the same time and not 3-6 months later as they did with version 1.0.

After the initial Hyper-V R1 release, Microsoft interviewed their customers to discover what they wanted in their new v2.0 product. These are the improvements and priorities which their customers want (according to Microsoft).


Free Hyper-V training from Microsoft

I use TWeetDeck on my laptop to follow the news concerning virtualization. vSphere, Hyper-V and Xen have their own column. It’s because of these queries I noticed a tweet from @ilijabrajkovic about a free Hyper-V training from Microsoft.


Hyper-V: Do you want to run HA OR Linux?

Last night, after my son’s first birthday,  I checked my missed twitter messages and a retweet from Duncap Epping caught my eye. It was a link to an article from Eric Gray on vCritical about HA for Linux guests on Hyper-V. Now you will probably think, nice an HA for Linux on Hyper-V whitepaper/how-to, but this is not the case.

As you probably know, very little Linux distributions are supported on Hyper-V and therefore no integration tools are available. Because the lack of integration tools Microsoft Clustering Services, the service which provides HA services for Hyper-V, you can not gracefully shutdown an unsupported Linux host and when shutdown MSCS will desperately try to keep the guest up and running. Because of this shortcoming you will have to choose, run HA OR Linux because you can not run both.

A complete desciption can be found here in Eric Gray’s article on If you are considering a Hyper-V implementation you should definitaly read this article.

Get Ready for all Microsoft virtualization products? Why should I?

Yesterday I attended the ‘TechNet – Get Ready for all Microsoft virtualization products’ session in Utrecht (NL). This was a new style paid (€99,-) Technet session, max of 20-30 professionals in a classroom. The program consisted of Hyper-V, App-V, Med-V, Terminal services and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008.

We started with an introduction to Hyper-V, luckily the trainer had updated his lab to Hyper-V 2, so we could check out the new features which should compete with VMware. After explaining the architecture, networking and storage it was very obvious that this was the standard Microsoft propaganda. They were comparing Hyper-V 2 to VI 3.5, which were practically the same, but of course Microsoft’s hyper-V solution was much cheaper. Grrrrr! Again, when you do a comparison, do a fair comparison and compare Hyper-V to vSphere 4 (because the release is not far away I will allow Microsoft to use Hyper-V 2 in this comparison). Then the numbers are very different and maybe the VMware solution costs more but obviously you will get a lot more.

I also disliked the insinuation that when they compare a microkernel hypervisor to a monolithic hypervisor Microsoft  makes it look like VMware’s hypervisor is one out of the stone ages. Play fair, win the fight based on your own strong points.

When he explained the Hyper-V I/O architecture with the parent partition, VM Bus, synthetic drivers, etc, I asked him if this didn’t introduce a singe point of failure and a possible I/O bottleneck. In true MS fashion he denied both, claiming that I/O was tested and you shouldn’t install Exchange in the parent partition. Duh!


Enterprise Hypervisor comparison (updated 04-06-09)

April 25th we published our Enterprise Hypervisor comparison and we got very positive comments on it. A few people were kind enough to provide us feedback so we could improve the document, thanks for that.

I collected all comments and feedback and created version 1.3 of our Enterprise Hypervisor comparison which can be found here.

Again, feel free to contact us when you have feedback for us so we can improve the list.


(Gabrie, thanks for the detailed feedback. I hope  you will find that all points are taken care of.)

Update 4-6-09: Updated to version 1.3 after feedback from Jorge

Last update: November 29th, 2011.

Don’t let Microsoft “Quick” on you again

As you may have noticed, we at have been extremely busy the last few week. Tons of work accompanied with the right amount of stress, illness and personally the build of my new house. This certainly shows in the amount of article we posted lately.

But I try to keep up-to-date, certainly with the release of vSphere 4. So today I read a great article on vTeardown by E. Horschman which I did not want to keep from you.

The article describes the quick migration feature in Microsoft’s Hyper-V, compares this to the live migration feature in the new version and warns customers on the  ‘Quick’ features provided in the next version of Hyper-V.

In the past Microsoft claimed that their Quick Migration feature was enough and Live Migration, as VMware’s vMotion, was not needed.  In vTeardown’s article you can see how quickly Microsoft changes its opinion as soon as they have finally added the feature themselves.

‘Now that Microsoft has live migration on their Hyper-V roadmap, we’re starting to learn that they never really thought much of Quick Migration themselves.  I heard Mark Russinovich, one of their technical luminaries who gave a talk about Hyper-V R2 futures, actually come out and say what we all knew to be true, “Quick Migration was our first attempt to do a live migration, and to put a nice spin on it, we called it Quick Migration. [...] Even though we said, [...] ‘trust us this is really cool, this is what you want, you don’t want instant, that’s not as good as this, this is quick,  but people didn’t seem to buy that, so we ended up [...] implementing live migration, so that Quick Migration stuff is crap, this is really good.’”  Mark’s honesty got some laughs from the packed session, but it puts us on notice that we should be skeptical when Microsoft tags a feature as “Quick”.

Not very trustworthy in my opinion. E. Horschman agrees and adds a warning to beware of Microsoft’s ‘Quick’ features as they now use the same b*lls*!t motivation on their new Quick Storage Migration feature.

So check out ‘When Microsoft Says “Quick”, Do They Really Mean “Crap”?‘.

Hyper-V, the laughter continues,

Today my twitter popped up and I saw a retweet from Duncan Epping pointing to an article on VInternals. Duncan added a warning ‘Please sit down before reading my latest post‘, this caught my attention.

I read the article and I must say, this is a MUST READ for all virtualization architects, admins, decision makers!

The article, published January 2009, contains information directly from employees from Microsoft explaining the design considerations in relation to Hyper-V. Make sure you’re sitting down when you read the excerpts, are somewhere private like your own home, and have the bathroom door open and an Ambulance on hold. Because it is very likely you will piss yourself laughing.

This article is the next article in a long sequel of Microsoft Hyper-V vs VMware ESX articles, like:

VMware dedicated a blog to this so called Microsoft mythbusting, you can find it here.