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vSphere or Hyper-V for hypervisor

Thu May 04, 2017 2:59 pm

I wasn't sure where to post this, but "Networking" seemed OK.

I am the server admin for around 12 servers and its time that we start thinking replacements. So i'm pretty sure its time for me to go completely virtual for my server environment. I've tried the two titular hypervisors and really like vSphere over Hyper-V, but Hyper-V seems to be the (way) cheaper route licensing wise when thinking about both the Hypervisor AND the windows server VM licensing.

When I tried Hyper-V I used System Center to perform P2V operations on a couple computers and the P2V process completely trashed the source PC making it unusable post conversion. When I used VMware vCenter Converter Stand Alone I am able to continue to use the source PC (in the case of something terrible happening). Just the thought of having a completely operational "backup" to the server I just virtualized makes me warm and fuzzy. This one seemingly small difference may be the major reason why I pick vSphere over Hyper-V. That and it just "felt" like the conversion process was a lot... oh, I don't know... "nicer"?

Hyper-V and System Center just seem so overly complicated compared to vShpere. I've been able to spin up a few servers in my extremely modest vShpere environment quickly and easily. It was much more difficult to do even simple tasks in MSSC on the same hardware.

I also like how vSphere is a "bare metal" hypervisor. Hyper-V is a server roll and as such competes with physical resources with the host operating system. That does not sound cricket to me.

I was wondering about other professional gerbils in this area and their feels for the two hosts... I wonder which one has more love in a purely Microsoft Server environment like I have.
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Re: vSphere or Hyper-V for hypervisor

Thu May 04, 2017 4:44 pm

VMware for pretty much every reason you listed. I couldn't rehash it any better. P2V (and other conversions also) just work, if you follow some prereqs. VCSA makes management so, so easy. Nakivo or Veeam make backups so, so effortless. Virtual networking, switches, virtual NVMe devices, all of these and more make life easier.

Do you trust Microsoft to polish up their product in a way that you like? I like Windows Server just fine, but I think Hyper-V is ugly.
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Re: vSphere or Hyper-V for hypervisor

Thu May 04, 2017 5:13 pm

Been using Hyper-V since Server 2008 when it was originally released. The product has matured quite nicely. For full disclosure, I do NOT use System Center Virtual Machine Manager. I did have it stood up a few years ago to run some P2V operations. My experience was different from yours...the source machine was most definitely left intact.

We currently have two Hyper-V clusters using iSCSI-based storage. I'm about to stand up a third based on Server 2016, and will be redoing the original two clusters as a single four-node cluster, also on Server 2016. With the release of Server 2016 you can now run mixed-mode clusters and upgrade all of your hosts using the same hardware without having to purchase new, and without having to build a new cluster and migrate VM's over. You can do what's called a "shared-nothing migration" to move a VM from one host to another in real time. Server 2016 also finally introduces the ability to hot add memory to a VM.

From a cost standpoint, I just couldn't justify spending the money on the VMware products. I think most of you know that I work in higher education. Our Microsoft discounts are just crazy. The VMware licensing would have cost me more than my entire Microsoft agreement...for Servers, System Center, SQL, Windows and Office on all desktops, etc.

And don't get me wrong, vSphere is a great product. But Hyper-V fit our needs just fine and did it more cost effectively for us.
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Re: vSphere or Hyper-V for hypervisor

Thu May 04, 2017 5:46 pm

If cost is a concern, look at XenServer from Citrix. It is their packaging of the Xen hypervisor. I have liked what I have used of it. Deployed 8 nodes with local storage, nothing fancy. 8 nodes covering 4 or 5 servers per node. There are products like veeam for Xen as well.

Your main concern going off the big two is outside support if something breaks. While most of the time things just work, if your company wants the insurance of an outside vendor to come in and help, Xen may be an issue. You can use Citrix's vendor search to see if anyone local does XenServer stuff, but the search sucks and the info isn't updated.

I think Citrix offers support direct but not sure. Support will cost but the XenServer is free and the paid for features aren't ones I use.
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Re: vSphere or Hyper-V for hypervisor

Thu May 04, 2017 5:57 pm


and for ease (and low cost):


If you are using Windows VM's/Clients: ... chine.aspx
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Re: vSphere or Hyper-V for hypervisor

Thu May 04, 2017 6:32 pm

I've been using Hyper-V since it was released. I echo many of curtisb's thoughts.

Both products are robust options and would not only fit your needs, but offer you many features you probably won't use. System Center is complicated if you haven't used it before, but given the size of your current deployment I would definitely consider it unnecessary. Run without it unless it offers you something you have to have.

It's really going to come down to cost and whether or not one has a "must have" feature for your environment.
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Re: vSphere or Hyper-V for hypervisor

Sat May 06, 2017 10:50 am

Shinare wrote:
I also like how vSphere is a "bare metal" hypervisor. Hyper-V is a server roll and as such competes with physical resources with the host operating system. That does not sound cricket to me.

Not completely bare metal, but if your host server is purely for hosting VMs, you can use Server 2016's "Nano" offering. Install the base image (only like a few hundred megs) + enabling the Hyper-V role, and you are good to go. You can only manage remotely by PowerShell or the remote admin tool though.
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Re: vSphere or Hyper-V for hypervisor

Sat May 06, 2017 11:12 am

Realistically only two come into question - the two you asked about - VMware and Hyper-V. You can pretty much forget about the rest if you want to have a relatively uncomplicated life as an admin.

I know Hyper-V developed nicely in the last couple of years, but the issues you've had with it are seemingly still around and those were around a while back as well. I'm also in the camp that says VMware is the way to go and specifically the VMware vSphere Essentials Kit for $495 which gives you centralized management and 3 hosts (max 2 CPU each). The Essentials Plus kit has some really fancy enterprise features, but costs 10x more so I'd really think about if you need any of them (vMotion, High Availability, Data Protection, vShield Endpoint, vSphere Replication) as an "in-box" service for those dozen or so servers or if you rather get a bit creative and cover some in a different way.

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