VMware vs Hyper-v: Can Microsoft Make History Again?


In 1852 Karl Marx published “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon”. In his book, Karl Marx quotes “that history repeats itself, “the first as tragedy, then as farce”, referring respectively to Napoleon I and to his nephew Louis Napoleon (Napoleon III).

Here I am not talking about Karl Marx, I am not a specialist on this matter. I am a computer geek. So Why I am refer to Karl Marx? I believe above remarks can be connected to a history between Microsoft and Novell.

In my past blog I compared VMware and Hyper-v:

http://microsoftguru.com.au/2013/01/24/microsofts-hyper-v-server-2012-and-system-center-2012-unleash-ko-punch-to-vmware/

http://microsoftguru.com.au/2013/09/14/vsphere-5-5-is-catching-up-with-hyper-v-2012-r2/

http://microsoftguru.com.au/2013/04/07/is-vmwares-fate-heading-towards-novell/

I found some similar articles echoed by other commentator:

http://blogs.gartner.com/david_cappuccio/2009/06/30/just-a-thought-will-vmware-become-the-next-novell/

http://virtualizedgeek.com/2012/12/04/is-vmware-headed-the-slow-painful-death-of-novell/

Here is Gartner Inc.’s verdict:

http://www.gartner.com/technology/reprints.do?id=1-1GJA88J&ct=130628&st=sb

http://www.gartner.com/technology/reprints.do?id=1-1LV8IX1&ct=131016&st=sb

So the question is; can Microsoft defeat VMware? Can Microsoft make history again? Here is why I believe Microsoft will make history once again regardless what VMware fan boy think. Let start….

What’s New in Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V

Microsoft has traditionally put out point releases to its server operating systems about every two years. Windows Server operating systems is no longer a traditional operating systems. This is cloud OS in true terms and uses. Let’s see what’s new in Windows Server 2012 R2 in terms of virtualization.

· New Generation 2 Virtual Machines

· Automatic Server OS Activation inside VMs

· Upgrade and Live Migration Improvements in Windows Server 2012 R2

· Online VHDX Virtual Disk Resize

· Live VM Export and Clone

· Linux Guest V Enhancements

· Storage Quality of Service ( QoS )

· Guest Clustering with Shared VHDXs

· Hyper-V Replica Site-to-Site Replication Enhancements

Generation 2 VMs

Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 R2 supports the concept of a totally new architecture based on modern hardware with no emulated devices. This makes it possible to add a number of new features, such as secure boot for VMs and booting off of virtual SCSI or virtual network adapters.

VM Direct Connect

In Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V with the addition of VM Direct Connect allows a direct remote desktop connection to any running VM over what’s now called the VM bus. It’s also integrated into the Hyper-V management experience.

Extend replication to a third site

Hyper-V Replica in Windows Server 2012 is currently limited to a single replication target. This makes it difficult to support scenarios like a service provider wanting to act both as a target for a customer to replicate and a source to replicate to another offsite facility. Windows Server 2012 R2 and Hyper-V now provide a tertiary replication capability to support just such a scenario. By the same token, enterprises can now save one replica in-house and push a second replica off-site.

Compression for faster migration

Two new options in Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V help improve the performance of live migrations. The first is the ability to enable compression on the data to reduce the total number of bytes transmitted over the wire. The obvious caveat is that tapping CPU resources for data compression could potentially impact other operations, so you’ll need to take that into consideration. The second option, SMB Direct, requires network adapters that support RDMA. Microsoft’s advice: If you have 10 GB available, use RDMA (10x improvement); otherwise, use compression (2x improvement). Compression is the default choice and it works for the large majority of use cases.

Online VM exporting and cloning

It’s now possible to export or clone a running VM from System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 with a few mouse clicks. As with pretty much anything related to managing Windows Server 2012, you can accomplish the same task using Windows PowerShell.

Online VHDX resizing

In Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, it is not possible to resize a virtual hard disk attached to a running VM. Windows Server 2012 R2 removes this restriction, making it possible to not only expand but even reduce the size of the virtual disk (VHDX format only) without stopping the running VM.

Storage QoS

Windows Server 2012 R2 includes the ability to limit individual VMs to a specific level of I/O throughput. The IOPS are measured by monitoring the actual disk rate to and from the attached virtual hard drives. If you have applications capable of consuming large amounts of I/O, you’ll want to consider this setting to ensure that a single I/O-hungry VM won’t starve neighbor VMs or take down the entire host.

Dynamic Memory support for Linux

In the Windows Server 2012 R2 release, Hyper-V gains the ability to dynamically expand the amount of memory available to a running VM. This capability is especially handy for any Linux workload (notably Web servers) where the amount of memory needed by the VM changes over time. Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V also brings Windows Server backups to Linux guests.

Shared VHDX

With Windows Server R2 Hyper-V, Windows guest clusters (think traditional Windows Server failover clustering but using a pair of VMs) no longer require an iSCSI or Fibre Channel SAN, but can be configured using commodity storage: namely a shared VHDX file stored on a Cluster Shared Volume. Note that while the clustered VMs can be live migrated as per usual, a live storage migration of the VHDX file requires one of the cluster nodes to be taken offline.

Bigger Bang for the Buck: Licensing Windows Server 2012 R2

The Windows Server 2012 R2 product is streamlined and simple, making it easy for customers to choose the edition that is right for their needs.

Datacenter edition – Unlimited Windows Server 2012 R2 virtualization license.

Standard edition 2 virtualized server license or lightly virtualized environments.

Essentials edition for small businesses with up to 25 users running on servers with up to two processors.

Foundation edition for small businesses with up to 15 users running on single processor servers.

Edition

Feature comparison

Licensing model

Server Pricing*

Datacenter

Unlimited virtual OSE

All features

Processor + CAL

$6,155

Standard

Two virtual OSE

All features

Processor + CAL

$882

Essentials

2 processor

One OSE

Limited features

Server

25 user limit

$501

Foundation

1 processor

Limited features

Server

15 user limit

OEM Only

Client Access Licenses (CALs) will continue to be required for access to Windows Server 2012 R2 servers and management access licenses continue to be required for endpoints being managed by System Center. You need Windows Server 2012 CAL to access Windows Server 2012. You also need CAL to access Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS).

What’s New SCVMM 2012 R2

· Public Cloud for Service Provider using Windows Azure 

· Private Cloud with System Center 2012 R2 VMM

· Any storage approach- Use any kind of Storage: DAS, SAN, NAS, Windows Server 2012 File Server, Scale-out File Server Cluster

· Networking – Management of physical network switches via OMI as well as virtual network infrastructure ( PVLANs, NV-GRE Virtualized Networks, NV-GRE Gateways )

· Virtualization host agnostic – Intel/AMD/OEM Hardware running Windows Server 2012/R2/2008 R2 Hyper-V, VMware or Citrix XenServer

· Cisco Nexus 1000V Switch

· Bootstrapping a repeatable architecture

· Bare-Metal Provisioning Scale-Out File Server Cluster and Storage Spaces

· Provisioning Synthetic Fibre Channel in Guest VMs using VMM

· Guest Clustering with Shared VHDXs

· VMM Integration with IP Address Management ( IPAM )

· Hybrid Networking with Windows Azure Pack and System Center 2012 R2 VMM

· Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager

· Delegating Access Per Private Cloud

· OM Dashboard for VMM Fabric Monitoring

Fire Power of System Center: Licensing System Center 2012 R2

System Center 2012 R2 has two version: Data Center and Standard. Both version is comprised with the following components

· Operations Manager

· Configuration Manager

· Data Protection Manager

· Service Manager

· Virtual Machine Manager

· Endpoint Protection

· Orchestrator

· App Controller

System Center license is per processor based license. Cost of System Center 2012 R2 data center is USD 3607 and cost of System Center 2012 R2 Standard is USD1323. System Center license comes with a SQL Server standard edition license. This SQL server can only be used for System Center purpose. You can virtualized unlimited number of VMs in SC 2012 R2 data center edition.

Comparing Server 2008 R2 and Server 2012 R2 in terms of virtualization.

Hyper-v is not the same as you knew in Windows Server 2008. To clear fog of your mind about Hyper-v, the following table shows the improvement Microsoft has made over the years.

Comparing VMware with Windows Server 2012 R2

While VMware still number one in Hypervisor markets but the Redmond giant can also leverage on almost a billion Windows OS user globally, as well as its expertise in software and a robust range of services (including Azure, Bing, MSN, Office 365, Skype and many more). A new battle ground is ready between Microsoft and VMware would make 2014 a pivotal hybrid cloud year. The hybrid cloud could indeed give Microsoft the chance to prevail in ways that it couldn’t with the launch of Hyper-V; Hyper-V’s market share has been gradually increasing since early 2011. According to Gartner, Microsoft gained 28% Hypervisor market share last year.

Let’s dig deeper into comparison….

The following comparison is based on Windows Server 2012 R2 Data Center edition and System Center 2012 R2 Data Center edition Vs vSphere 5.5 Enterprise Plus and vCenter Server 5.5.

Licensing:

Options

Microsoft

VMware

# of Physical CPUs per License

2

1

# of Managed OSE’s per License

Unlimited

Unlimited

# of Windows Server VM Licenses per Host

Unlimited

0

Includes Anti-virus / Anti-malware protection

Yes

Yes

Includes full SQL Database Server licenses for management databases

Yes

No

Database, Hosts & VMs

A single database license is enough for 1,000 hosts and 25,000 VMs per management server.

Purchase additional database server licenses to scale beyond managing 100 hosts and 3,000 VMs with vCenter Server Appliance.

Includes licensing for Enterprise Operations Monitoring and Management of hosts, guest VMs and application workloads running within VMs.

Yes

No 

Includes licensing for Private Cloud Management capabilities – pooled resources, self-service, delegation, automation, elasticity, chargeback

Yes

No

Includes management tools for provisioning and managing VDI solutions for virtualized Windows desktops.

Yes

No

Includes web-based management console

Yes

Yes

Virtualization Scalability:

Options

Microsoft

VMware

Maximum # of Logical Processors per Host

320

320

Maximum Physical RAM per Host

4TB

4TB

Maximum Active VMs per Host

1,024

512

Maximum Virtual CPUs per VM

64

64

Hot-Adjust Virtual CPU Resources to VM

Yes

Yes

Maximum Virtual RAM per VM

1TB

1TB

Hot-Add Virtual RAM to VM

Yes

Yes

Dynamic Memory Management

Yes

Yes.

Guest NUMA Support

Yes

Yes

Maximum # of physical Hosts per Cluster

64

32

Maximum # of VMs per Cluster

8,000

4,000

Virtual Machine Snapshots

Yes

Yes

No of Snapshot Per VMS

50

32

Integrated Application Load Balancing for Scaling-Out Application Tiers

Yes

No

Bare metal deployment of new Hypervisor hosts and clusters

Yes

Yes

Bare metal deployment of new Storage hosts and clusters

Yes

No

Manage GPU Virtualization for Advanced VDI Graphics

Yes

Yes

Virtualization of USB devices

Yes

Yes

Virtualization of Serial Ports

Yes

Yes

Minimum Disk Footprint while still providing management of multiple virtualization hosts and guest VM’s

~800KB – Micro-kernelized hypervisor ( Ring -1 )
~5GB – Drivers + Management ( Parent Partition – Ring 0 + 3 )

~155MB – Monolithic hypervisor w/ Drivers( Ring -1 + 0 )
~4GB – Management  ( vCenter Server Appliance – Ring 3 )

Boot from Flash

Yes

Yes

Boot from SAN

Yes

Yes

VM Portability, High Availability and Disaster Recovery:

 Features

Microsoft

VMware

Live Migration of running VMs

Yes

Yes

Live Migration of running VMs without shared storage between hosts

Yes

Yes

Live Migration using compression of VM memory state

Yes

No

Live Migration over RDMA-enabled network adapters

Yes

No

Live Migration of VMs Clustered with Windows Server Failover Clustering (MSCS Guest Cluster)

Yes

No

Highly Available VMs

Yes

Yes

Failover Prioritization of Highly Available VMs

Yes

Yes

Affinity Rules for Highly Available VMs

Yes

Yes

Cluster-Aware Updating for Orchestrated Patch Management of Hosts.

Yes

Yes.

Guest OS Application Monitoring for Highly Available VMs

Yes

Yes

VM Guest Clustering via Shared Virtual Hard Disk files

Yes

Yes

Maximum # of Nodes per VM Guest Cluster

64

5

Intelligent Placement of new VM workloads

Yes

Yes

Automated Load Balancing of VM Workloads across Hosts

Yes

Yes

Power Optimization of Hosts when load-balancing VMs

Yes

Yes

Fault Tolerant VMs

No

Yes

Backup VMs and Applications

Yes

Yes.

Site-to-Site Asynchronous VM Replication

Yes

Yes

Storage:

Features

Microsoft

VMware

Maximum # Virtual SCSI Hard Disks per VM

256

60 ( PVSCSI )
120 (
Virtual SATA )

Maximum Size per Virtual Hard Disk

64TB

62TB

Native 4K Disk Support

Yes

No

Boot VM from Virtual SCSI disks

Yes

Yes

Hot-Add Virtual SCSI VM Storage for running VMs

Yes

Yes

Hot-Expand Virtual SCSI Hard Disks for running VMs

Yes

Yes

Hot-Shrink Virtual SCSI Hard Disks for running VMs

Yes

No

Storage Quality of Service

Yes

Yes

Virtual Fibre Channel to VMs

Yes

Yes.

Live Migrate Virtual Storage for running VMs

Yes

Yes

Flash-based Read Cache

Yes

Yes

Flash-based Write-back Cache

Yes

No

SAN-like Storage Virtualization using commodity hard disks.

Yes

No

Automated Tiered Storage between SSD and HDD using commodity hard disks.

Yes

No

Can consume storage via iSCSI, NFS, Fibre Channel and SMB 3.0.

Yes

Yes

Can present storage via iSCSI, NFS and SMB 3.0.

Yes

No

Storage Multipathing

Yes

Yes

SAN Offload Capability

Yes

Yes

Thin Provisioning and Trim Storage

Yes

Yes

Storage Encryption

Yes

No

Deduplication of storage used by running VMs

Yes

No

Provision VM Storage based on Storage Classifications

Yes

Yes

Dynamically balance and re-balance storage load based on demands

Yes

Yes

Integrated Provisioning and Management of Shared Storage

Yes

No

Networking:

 Features

Microsoft

VMware

Distributed Switches across Hosts

Yes

Yes

Extensible Virtual Switches

Yes

Replaceable, not extensible

NIC Teaming

Yes

Yes

No of NICs

32

32

Private VLANs (PVLAN)

Yes

Yes

ARP Spoofing Protection

Yes

No

DHCP Snooping Protection

Yes

No

Router Advertisement Guard Protection

Yes

No

Virtual Port ACLs

Yes

Yes

Trunk Mode to VMs

Yes

Yes

Port Monitoring

Yes

Yes

Port Mirroring

Yes

Yes

Dynamic Virtual Machine Queue

Yes

Yes

IPsec Task Offload

Yes

No

Single Root IO Virtualization (SR-IOV)

Yes

Yes

Virtual Receive Side Scaling ( Virtual RSS )

Yes

Yes

Network Quality of Service

Yes

Yes

Network Virtualization / Software-Defined Networking (SDN)

Yes

No

Integrated Network Management of both Virtual and Physical Network components

Yes

No

Virtualized Operating Systems Support: 

Operating Systems

Microsoft

VMware

Windows Server 2012 R2

Yes

Yes

Windows 8.1

Yes

Yes

Windows Server 2012

Yes

Yes

Windows 8

Yes

Yes

Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

Yes

Yes

Windows Server 2008 R2

Yes

Yes

Windows 7 with SP1

Yes

Yes

Windows 7

Yes

Yes

Windows Server 2008 SP2

Yes

Yes

Windows Home Server 2011

Yes

No

Windows Small Business Server 2011

Yes

No

Windows Vista with SP2

Yes

Yes

Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2

Yes

Yes

Windows Server 2003 SP2

Yes

Yes

Windows XP with SP3

Yes

Yes

Windows XP x64 with SP2

Yes

Yes

CentOS 5.7, 5.8, 6.0 – 6.4

Yes

Yes

CentOS Desktop 5.7, 5.8, 6.0 – 6.4

Yes

Yes

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7, 5.8, 6.0 – 6.4

Yes

Yes

Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop 5.7, 5.8, 6.0 – 6.4

Yes

Yes

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2 & SP3

Yes

Yes

SUS Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 SP2 & SP3

Yes

Yes

OpenSUSE 12.1

Yes

Yes

Ubuntu 12.04, 12.10, 13.10

Yes

Yes

Ubuntu Desktop 12.04, 12.10, 13.10

Yes

Yes

Oracle Linux 6.4

Yes

Yes

Mac OS X 10.7.x & 10.8.x

No

Yes

Sun Solaris 10

No

Yes

Windows Azure:

Here are a special factors that put Microsoft ahead of VMware: Microsoft Azure for on-premises and service provider cloud.

Windows Azure Pack is shipping with Windows Server 2012 R2. The Azure code will enable high-scale hosting and management of web and virtual machines.

Microsoft is leveraging its service provider expertise and footprint for Azure development while extending Azure into data centers on Windows servers. That gives Microsoft access to most if not all of the world’s data centers. It could become a powerhouse in months instead of years. Widespread adoption of Microsoft Azure platform gives Microsoft a winning age against competitor like VMware.

On premises client install Windows Azure pack to manage their system center 2012 R2 and use Azure as self-service and administration portal for IT department and department within organization. To gain similar functionality in VMware you have to buy vCloud Director, Chargeback and vShield separately.

Conclusion:

This is a clash of titanic proportion in between Microsoft and VMware. Ultimately end user and customer will be the winner. Both companies are thriving for new innovation in Hypervisor and virtualization market place. End user will enjoy new technology and business will gain from price battle between Microsoft and VMware. These two key components could significantly increase the adoption of hybrid cloud operating models. Microsoft has another term cards for cloud service provider which is Exchange 2013 and Lync 2013. Exchange 2013 and Lync 2013 are already widely used for Software as a Service (SaaS). VMware has nothing to offer in Messaging and collaboration platform. Microsoft could become for the cloud what it became for the PC. It could enforce consistency across clouds to an extent that perhaps no other player could. As the cloud shifts from infrastructure to apps, Microsoft could be in an increasingly powerful position and increase Hyper-v share even further by adding SaaS to its product line. History will repeat once again when Microsoft defeat VMware as Microsoft defeated Novell eDirectory, Corel WordPerfect and IBM Notes.

References:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/keithmayer/archive/2013/10/15/vmware-or-microsoft-comparing-vsphere-5-5-and-windows-server-2012-r2-at-a-glance.aspx#.UxaKbYXazIV

http://www.datacentertcotool.com/

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/solutions/virtualization.aspx#fbid=xrWmRt7RXCi

http://wikibon.org/wiki/v/VMware_vs_Microsoft:_It%27s_time_to_stop_the_madness

http://www.infoworld.com/d/microsoft-windows/7-ways-windows-server-2012-pays-itself-205092

http://www.trefis.com/stock/vmw/articles/221206/growing-competition-for-vmware-in-virtualization-market/2014-01-07

Supported Server and Client Guest Operating Systems on Hyper-V

Compatibility Guide for Guest Operating Systems Supported on VMware vSphere

About Raihan Al-Beruni

My Name is Raihan Al-Beruni. I am working as an Infrastructure Architect in Data Center Technologies in Perth, Western Australia. I have been working on Microsoft technologies for more than 15 years. Other than Microsoft technologies I also work on Citrix validated solution and VMware data center virtualization technologies. I have a Masters degree in E-Commerce. I am certified in Microsoft, VMware, ITIL and EMC. My core focus is on cloud technologies. In my blog I share my knowledge and experience to enrich information technology community as a whole. I hope my contribution through this blog will help someone who wants more information on data center technologies.
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