Home > Hyper-V, Virtualization Basics, VMware > Microsoft Hyper-V vs. VMware ESX

Microsoft Hyper-V vs. VMware ESX

This is not just another post to compare VMware ESX with Microsoft Hyper-V since i certainly believe without any doubt at this moment VMware ESX is leaps ahead of other competing hypervisors including Microsoft Hyper-V. What Microsoft has done with Sp1 for Windows 2008 R2 is introduce couple of cool features in Dynamic Memory and Remote FX to Hyper-V but these are not game changers. In this post , I am just trying to portray the  advantages and short comings of both ESX and Hyper-V.

What works for VMware ESX ?

  • Virtual Center, the management console of VMware for managing multiple ESX Servers generally does not get the credit it deserves. A single management console for managing , monitoring and patching of ESX hosts and the Guest VMs and it’s Applications makes administrator’s work easier.
  • Ability to configure Customized roles for administrators in Virtual Center.
  • Huge list of supported of Guest Operating Systems
  • Memory Management features such as TPS , Ballooning , Swapping and Memory compression.
  • HA & DRS Clustering capability of ESX is technologically superior to Microsoft’s Hyper-V Cluster giving the ability to provide high availability to VMs and at the same time distributing loads evenly across the hosts.
  • Fault Tolerance capability of VMware ESX
  • Third party plugin support from various vendors like EMC , NetApp , f5 , Dell etc.. that helps administrators manage them from Virtual Center
  • Advanced technologies like Storage vMotion , Storage IO Control , Network IO Control , Host Profiles and DPM ( Distributed Power Management)
  • VAAI (vStorage API for Array Integration)  helps offload the load of Storage related task on to Storage Array’s
  • Whole community of bloggers and lots and lots of free tools for VMware environment
  • VMware KB – Knowledge base site of VMware that is constantly updated and contains step by step resolution for most of the issues on VMware environment.
  • Stability/Resiliency of ESX

What VMware ESX lacks ?

  • There is no single management console for managing multiple free ESXi Servers. This can be achieved for Hyper-V using Hyper-V Manager..
  • Cost – Costlier when compared to Hyper-V but one has to consider the amount of features that comes packed with ESX which makes ESX worth every penny spent !!

What works for Microsoft Hyper-V ?

  • Microsoft recommends Hyper-V as part of their solutions and tight integration and support with various other products of the Microsoft Eco-system helps in adoption of Hyper-V.
  • Hyper-V Manager that helps in managing multiple Hyper-V Servers from a single console . Please note that there is limited functionality but still one can manage multiple Hyper-V Servers from a single console.
  • Cost ( Hyper-V is part of Windows 2008 family of products) – If the Virtual machines that run on Hyper-V are based on Windows , the cost associated with Hyper-V goes down dramatically since in a VMware environment we have to account the OS cost of VM’s as well.

What Hyper-V lacks ?

  • Dependency on multiple applications for managing ( SCVMM) , monitoring ( SCOM) and patching (SCCM/WSUS) of Hyper-V hosts and VMs and also the fact that there is no tight integration between these components.
  • Lack of Customizable roles for Administrators in Hyper-V Manager and SCVMM
  • Resiliency/Stability of Hyper-V cannot match that of ESX
  • Lack of advanced technologies supported by ESX like Storage vMotion , SIOC , NIOC , VAAI etc…

These are my personal opinion of what works for the hypervisors and what they lack ? Would love to hear your comments as well.

  1. Ramesh
    April 11, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Thomas Bittman, VP Distinguished Analyst of Gartner Says

    “Hyper-V is under-performing. Maybe my expectations were too high, but Hyper-V has not grabbed as much market share as I was predicting. I especially thought that Microsoft would be the big beneficiary of midmarket virtualization. Surveys show otherwise – VMware is doing pretty well there.”


  2. Murali
    July 31, 2011 at 10:33 am

    thank you.

  3. Simon
    October 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    lol. Ashton-Tate (A-T) once reigned in the DB field for PCs. When Microsoft (MS) entered the scene with its own offerings, A-T still reigned, but only for a time. Today, no one even remembers the company. Netscape veritably dominated the browser arena. And when MS entered the scene it still dominated, but only for a time. Now no one even remembers Netscape. Lotus 1-2-3 completely dominated the spreadsheet arena, and when MS entered it still dominated – but only for a time. Novell completely dominated the network server field, and when MS entered it still dominated, but only for a time. MS has only recently entered the Virtualization field, and yet we are actually debating whether it is a contender with VMWare, which has been around forever. Soon, MS Hyper-V will equal or surpass VMWare, and MS will bundle more and more features in its Windows Server product so that users will flow to Hyper-V naturally, and VMWare will eventually vanish like all the rest.

    Not an MS fan. Just telling it like it has always been.

  4. October 29, 2011 at 5:47 am

    Microsoft hosting has everything i value, especially reliability. and i like the bare-bones approach a lot; it fits my style. I read this post think about its reality Microsoft Hyper-V appearing as a Market Leader http://www.hypervhd.com/news-f7/microsoft-hyper-v-appearing-as-a-market-leader-t1690.html

    • Glib
      March 20, 2012 at 9:42 pm

      I have a vmware server that’s been up for a year and a half.

      “Reliability” was sarcastic humor?

      No Windows system can run continuously for a year and a half. No one in their right mind would dare attempt it. If ya gotta boot the hypervisor so that Microsoft Update can break the SSL stack, again, what do ya think happens to the guests?

  5. Susantha
    November 5, 2011 at 7:35 am

    I agree with Simon for some extend. Microsoft just entered for Virtualization arena recently with intend for Enterprise market. Even after that with short time period they went behind VMware and manage to capture the market.
    It’s matter of time where they will create the ecosystem of hybrid virtualization theory and customers will have VMware and HYPER-V side by side in their data centers. Microsoft will keep on improving the System Center to manage that heterogeneous environment.

    • Larry
      November 30, 2011 at 4:38 am

      Hyper-V is not even close to VMWare. With the release of vsphere 5 hyper-V should not even be in the same market.

      There is a reason microsoft is giving away hyper-v for free, even free support and other free products if customers choose them over VMWare. There is a reason for that, hyper-v is terrible and microsoft knows it.

  6. Derek
    April 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Two year and two OS later MS is still behind VM… Makes me wonder if they will ever catch up. Hyper-V became a nightmare in testing environment. just trying to recover VMs without hassle was a big problem. Merging took forever. Export, import.. Talk about no easy way to work with this. Can’t imagine putting this in production. For now.

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