Ruben Spruijt wrote a comprehensive overview of Hyper-V over at Brian Madden's site. In my view, Hyper-V is the most important component of Windows Server 2008. Although Microsoft's new virtualization solution is still in beta, it can't be wrong to get started with learning about it now. Even though, its user interface is fairly simple, Hyper-V is quite a sophisticated piece of software. This means that many different things can go wrong and you will only be able solve those problems if you understand the architecture of Hyper-V. Although parts of this overview are probably only for those who already have experience with virtualization solutions, it is also a good introduction into Hyper-V.

I only played a little with Hyper-V, but I am already looking forward for the final to be released. At the moment we have two VMware Server 1.0 hosts and one Virtual Server 2005 machine. Both solutions work fine, but only for server applications that don't need much performance. We tried a couple of more demanding applications, but those tests all failed. It is interesting to note that VMware Server was always slower than Virtual Server when Linux was the guest OS.

We have been considering buying VMware ESX, but in my view, it is too expensive. The main advantage of virtualization is to save costs, but in our environment it would get more expensive with VMware ESX. Even though, VMware certainly has the better product, I see hard times are coming for them as soon as Hyper-V is released. But who knows, maybe they will reduce their prices. VMware GSX once was quite expensive, too. I guess we will soon know what the lowest possible price for VMware ESX is.

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We are planning to test Hyper-V soon to see if its performance is really better than with Virtual Server and VMware Server. I will then report about it here. Stay tuned!

6 Comments
  1. Dave 14 years ago

    I agree that hard times are ahead for VMWare. Microsoft looks to be forming an alliance with every hypervisor maker except VMWare. Maybe if they step it up and bump up that capabilities (like USB support in ESX – it’s there in the free version but not the $1000 version….good thinking) they’ll be okay.

    I think they can defiantly compete with Microsoft on capabilities, but the real question is can they compete with the Microsoft marketing machine and can they compete on pricing?

  2. Jeffrey 14 years ago

    VMware ESX server pricing is much more competitive since December when they released 3.5 and their acceleration packs. The cost is much more easily recovered in server consolidation projects, even in a smaller business. The older prices made it more difficult to get immediate ROI, but that does not appear to be the case anymore.

    VMware has also announced plans to embed an ESX hypervisor in Dell, Fujitsu-Siemens, HP and IBM servers. So that server you buy is going to already have the potential to run VMs out of the box – before even installing Windows. It was a smart move for them to get those agreements made, as it slips them in under even Microsoft’s attempt to get admins to use the MS hypervisor.

    @Dave
    I’m not sure why I want USB support for my guests on an ESX box. My ESX box lives in the server room, I rarely even see the box – much less be around for plugging USB devices in. What use case am I overlooking?

  3. Michael Pietroforte 14 years ago

    Dave, I don’t think that Microsoft’s marketing is dangerous for VMware. Actually, in my opinion, Microsoft’s marketing is one of the weakest in the software industry. It is their money that VMware has to fear. At the moment, VMware is technologically far more advanced. But if Microsoft claims the leadership in this market, only governments can stop them. VMware is not Google. If they are lucky they will have a similar role as Citrix has today. When Microsoft decided to enter the market for terminal server solutions, the good times were over for Citrix. They came to an arrangement with Microsoft which allowed them to survive. Hopefully, VMware will do the same.

    Jeffrey, to embed the hypervisor in hardware was certainly a smart move. But you probably know that Microsoft has the same plans. I think in the future, the hypervisor will only play a minor role, anyway. The quality of the management tools will decide who rules the virtualization market.

  4. Ben Farr 14 years ago

    VMware might be in some serious trouble. What does all this mean for their product support?

  5. Michael Pietroforte 14 years ago

    Ben, I wouldn’t worry about VMware’s product support at the moment. They are still the market leader and it will take quite some time until Microsoft becomes a real threat to them.

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