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VMware vs. Hyper-V: Which one is better?

For a very long time, the best choice for enterprise class server virtualization was VMware ESX (now known as VMware ESXi). But all that changed when some very serious changes were made to Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 by Microsoft. Suddenly, there was something else that could be considered which was just as good. But most people still want to know what the main differences between the two are and which one is the better hypervisor.

This can be a little tricky as both VMware Inc. and Microsoft are reputable companies offering great products for the enterprise environment. At a first glance, you will find that both VMware and Hyper-V offer highly capable solutions. Both of them have a very similar feature set. Both offer similar core feature set like virtual machine (VM) migration, network interface card teaming, network virtualization and even virtual machine (VM) migration.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any differences between the two. You just have to look closely to point them out.

· Dynamic Memory

Both VMware and Hyper-V adjust dynamical physical memory usage, putting the needs the guest OS (Operating System) first. However, VMware presents Dynamic Memory support to all guest OS. While on the other hand Hyper-V has historically supported Dynamic Memory only for virtual machines that ran Windows only. This feature has been changed since then.

· Scalability

When you consider scalability, you will find that the Hyper-V hosts can offer support as much as 320 logical processors, as opposed160 offered by VMware. Likewise, Hyper-V servers can handle up to 4TB of RAM, but VMware vSphere 5.1 Enterprise Plus is capable of addressing only 2TB of RAM.

· Licensing

Now we come to bigger differences and the most major of them is the way in which the products are licensed. Microsoft includes Hyper-V with Windows Server 2012. Singular Datacenter Edition license is valid for up to two CPU cores. It also permits an unlimited number of virtual machines running on the host. Without requiring an extra OS license the bonus feature of the Datacenter Edition license permits every virtual machine running on the host to run Windows Server 2012.

All core capabilities of Hyper-V are included in a Windows Server license. Extra features like ‘Live Migration’ don’t have to be paid for separately. While on the other hand, you have to pay premium prices for some of VMware’s core features.

· Services

As mentioned before, Hyper-V is included with Windows Server 2012. But it is likely that large organizations that necessitate enterprise management capabilities will also require System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager. But that is about it as far as the extent of Microsoft’s Hyper-V offerings go.

While on the other hand, VMware offers dozens of different products (or variations of products). But it has to be noted that while the offer of multiple feature capability might seem promising, most inexperienced administrators find it difficult to know which products to purchase.

SO which one of them is better? Honestly? It’s really hard to tell. Because of the similarity of the key features, both Hyper-V and VMware would suit just about any environment. But the end decision should be yours and what you feel comfortable deploying.

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