Virtualization Primer: Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware VSphere?

Server and Desktop Virtualization Part 2: VMware or Microsoft?

Businesses small and large are turning to virtualization as a way to expand computing power, by creating multiple virtual workspaces (or virtual machines—VMs) that share space on a single server. As we discussed in the previous section, these VMs are administrated by a software layer called a hypervisor. Similar to the rivalry between Mac and PC in hardware products, two hypervisor programs currently seek to dominate the market: Microsoft’s “Hyper-V” and VMware’s “VSphere.” Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s briefly explore them both.

Microsoft’s Hyper-V

Microsoft developed Hyper-V as a broad solution for in-house servers, cloud-based solutions, or a hybrid of these options. Hyper-V exists either as part of Microsoft Server or as a standalone program.

• The Advantages: Hyper-V is relatively easy to learn, creating new virtual environments in minutes. It offers live migration and maintenance functions without downtime. It integrates fairly seamlessly with Microsoft products and services, and it is the lower-cost alternative.

• The Disadvantages: Using Hyper-V means you’ll have to keep up with regular Microsoft OS updates. The hypervisor also works with only a limited number of guest-OS programs, and there have been complaints of inadequate support for some of the program’s features.

VMware’s VSphere

VSphere is currently the dominant player in the virtualization space. Known for its flexibility of configuration, the program, too, was designed for in-house, cloud-based and hybrid virtualization, and it comes in several tiers, based on your company’s size and needs.

• The Advantages: Once you’ve mastered the learning curve, VSphere is highly intuitive and adaptable for many systems and a wide range of OS programs. It also allows for more guests per host than Hyper-V, often making it attractive for larger companies. Finally, VMware is known for its high-caliber support.

• The Disadvantages: VSphere licensing can cost considerably more than Hyper-V, and many consider it to be less user friendly, at least at first. (Good customer support may compensate for this downside.)

Which Is Right for You?

Both hypervisor programs accomplish the same basic objective; the question is which benefits you need more than the others. If you’re a newcomer to virtualization, or if your company already works with Microsoft products extensively, Hyper-V may provide the solutions you need at a decent price.

However, if your company growth demands greater flexibility or more users per host, VSphere might be a better option. If you need more help determining which virtualization program would best suit your company’s needs, reach out to our offices today. We’re glad to assist.

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