Consider the Alternative: Hyper-V

Posted by Derrik Nyomo

December 30, 2011 | 11:00 AM

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...I've never tried anything new; if it ain't broke, don't fix it..."
That Old Stubborn Guy Who Missed out on Something Really Great simply Because
Despite the availability of alternatives, brand loyalty often times governs the decision making processes of individuals who associate a name with quality.  As a result, there are those who ignore other viable products. In terms of server virtualization products, VMware has long dominated the hypervisor-based marketplace because it was first on scene, subsequently making it more recognizable.  VMware provides users with a sense of comfort because it's known and because it's expensive (people also have a tendency to equate price with superiority as well).  VMware is also taking advantage of buying norms, providing you with a product with a considerable, associated, up-front cost, that you could easily have for free.  Microsoft's Hyper-V's newest features within the latest updated releases can be easily compared and, in some instances, are better than the industry's juggernaut. Microsoft Hyper-V is offered in a variety of releases and packages scalable to any project and any budget; for example: in Windows 2008 64 bit and Windows 2008 R2 64 bit, as well as a standalone version that can be downloaded from Microsoft's website at no cost.  The finalized version was released in June 2008, followed by R2 in September 2009 and a service pack much more recently.  First, allow me to highlight some of the system requirements:

System requirements

The system requirements for Hyper-V listed below are for the host server only and do not take into account guest operating systems resources. You will need to account for these additional resources when buying a new server. For the stand alone Hyper-V product Processor:
  • X64 compatible processor with Intel VT or AMD-V technology enabled. Hardware Data Execution Prevention (DEP), specifically Intel XD bit (execute disable bit) or AMD NX bit (no execute bit), must be available and enabled.
Minimum CPU speed:
  • 1.4 GHz;
  • Recommended: 2 GHz or faster
RAM:
  • Minimum: 1 GB RAM
  • Recommended: 2 GB RAM or greater
  • Maximum 1 TB
Available disk space:
  • Minimum: 8 GB
  • Recommended: 20 GB or greater
For the windows 2008 R2 Server product Processor
  • Minimum: 1 GHz (x86 processor) or 1.4 GHz (x64 processor)
  • Recommended: 2 GHz or faster
Memory
  • Minimum: 512 MB RAM
  • Recommended: 2 GB RAM or greater
Available Disk Space
  • Minimum: 10 GB
Recommended: 40 GB or greater

Why Hyper-V?

If you meet the system requirements, why wouldn't you want to give Hyper-V a whirl?  After all, it features: dynamic memory, an amazing way to shift your system resources around while they're not in use, live migration, which will reduce down-time, cluster shared volume support, a much more efficient way of sharing data and an expanded processor and memory.  Hyper-V also supports many guest OSes, while most are windows-based, it also supports Linux operating systems CentOS, Red Hat and SuSE.  The full list of supported guest systems can be found on Microsoft's Website.  These are officially supported, but many systems such as Ubuntu can be installed with only a few minor work-arounds; Ubuntu and Debian are, however, being added to the Hyper-V supported guest operating systems list. In switching to Hyper-V, I found that there are many areas in which it blows its competitors out of the water, beginning with it's much more cost-effective than utilizing VMware or Citrix.  The absence of maintenance fees and purchasing additional licenses alone makes it that much more appealing.  Hyper-V allows you to manage virtual and physical environments using common deployment, provisioning, monitoring and backup methodologies, whereas in using VMware, it's necessary to use Virtual Infrastructure Enterprise and Virtual Center; not only are these are both expensive tools, but they don't allow you to manage multiple hypervisors, physical resources or applications.  Hyper-V has also been proven to function better in the arena of desktop virtualization.  And, because it's based on Windows 2008, it can be easily integrated into Microsoft heavy shops. ...Not to say there aren't, as with anything, a few drawbacks.  VMware supports a larger range of operating systems, can host more guest virtual machines per host and will support larger hardware configurations.  It also has a slight advantage over Hyper-V in regard to larger deployments. As with any software package, there will be pro and cons. Hyper-V is doing an excellent job in closing the gap on VMware; VMware has 6 years of experience over Hyper-V, but Hyper-V is making faster advances than VMware even imagined. What works best for your business and what your IT staff is comfortable with is truly what's important, however, investigating every available option is key.  As far as myself and my organization, Hyper-V fits incredibly well. Working in a very Microsoft heavy shop, Hyper-V seamlessly integrated into our environment. I predict in the coming years Hyper-V will become more predominate in the virtualization market place.

Topics: Technology

About Derrik Nyomo

Derrik Nyomo is the Lead Magento Developer and Network Administrator for Briteskies. With experience in everything from Magento, CSS3, HTML5, and PHP to ERP integration to maintaining SQL and MySQL to designing the company’s Disaster Recovery Plan, Derrik is something of a technological Jack-of-All-Trades. When not immersed in coding, Derrik likes to be in the great outdoors, fishing, hunting and hiking.

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