Windows Server 2012 Hyper-v And Vsphere 5.1

A lot of fuzz is going on regarding virtualization these days, and the primary topic is Hyper-V vs VMware vSphere.
And of course there going to be some arguments regarding which one is better, and which of them has the more features and who is the most enterprise ready so on and so forth.
Just last week VMware released version 5.1 of vSphere which included some new functionality and improvements in  scalability, and Windows Server 2012 was released the 4th of September. So therefore like many before me I’m going to compare the two of them. I have read many blogs lately where people claim that one of the products are better then the other, and a lot of them compare features in the wrong way (For instance if Product 1 has feature 1 and Product 2 has feature 2 even thou they do the same the use different names and therefore aren’t compared). I’m not here to write down a conclusion of which one is better, I’m just going to lay down the facts so you can decide what you think is the better option.  And I’m not going to debate vCenter and System Center comparison, because that is another different story Smile

Windows and virtualization:
Microsoft first came out with its hyper-v virtualization platform in 2008 (With Windows Server 2008) Before that Microsoft has a product which was named Virtual Server, many people claim that Microsoft is pretty fresh in the server virtualization marked but actually Microsoft has been in the marked since 2004 (When the first release of Virtual Server was released) But was again later superseded by Hyper-V. Now the latest version of Hyper is called V 3.0 comes with Windows Server 2012.
You also have the free version of Hyper-V which is called Hyper-V server 2012. (This product only contains the hypervisor, Windows Server driver model, virtualization capabilities, and supporting components such as failover clustering but does not contain the rest of the features and roles in Windows Server. Therefore you get a small footprint on the host. But other then that the versions of Server 2012 that contains Hyper-V is Windows Server 2012 Standard and Windows Server 2012 Datacenter.
The difference licensing between the two is the following.

Standard edition = allows you to run 2 virtual machines $882 for a 2 physical CPU server
Datacenter edition = allows you to run unlimited virtual machines $4,809 for a 2 physical CPU server

Some examples;
1 server: 2 CPU and 4 virtual machines = You could either have 2 standard edition licenses or 1 datacenter edition license
1 server: 6 CPU and 8 virtual machines= You could either have 4 standard edition licensers or 3 datacenter edition licenses.
And in both scenarios you wouldn’t need a license for the VM because the license is for physical hosts!

In Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V 3.0 Windows has the following workloads and the following features.

Host max
Logical processors on hardware 320
Physical memory  4 TB
Virtual processors per host 2,048

Virtual machine max
Virtual processors per virtual machine 64
Memory per virtual machine  1 TB
Active virtual machines per server 1,024

Cluster max
Nodes 64
Virtual machines 8,000

Quality of Service (QoS)
Network Virtualization (Using GRE or IP rewrite) Link to the IEEE draft =
PVLAN support
Dynamic Virtual Machine Queue (D-VMQ) (allows the host’s network adapter to pass DMA packets directly into individual virtual machine memory stacks)
Receive Side Scaling (RSS spreads monitoring interrupts over multiple processors, so a single processor isn’t required to handle all I/O interrupts,)
Receive Segment Coalescing (RSC improves the scalability of the servers by reducing the overhead for processing a large amount of network I/O traffic.)
DHCP Guard (DHCP guard drops server messages from unauthorized virtual machines that are acting as DHCP servers.)
Router Guard (Router guard drops router advertisement and redirection messages from unauthorized virtual machines that are acting as routers.)
Port mirroring (not promiscuous mode, does a forward of all the packet to a VM to another destination)
Virtual Port ACLs
Trunk mode using 802.1q
IPsec Task offload
Integrated Network Adapter Teaming
Hyper-V Extensible Switch
Data Center Bridging (DCB)
Resource metering (Measure usage of CPU, Memory, Network and disk for a virtual machine)
NIC Teaming (Allows for LACP in the native OS, before this needed to be done by a third party product like Broadcom)

SCVMM 2012 SP1 (You can use CTP release for Windows Server 2012 but official support comes with Service Pack 1 which is in Beta now)
Server Manager
Cluster Manager
Hyper-V Manager
Cluster Aware updating

New Virtual Disk format (VHDX supports up to 64 TB Virtual Disks)
Offloaded Data Transfer – ODX (Is a feature of a SAN, allows the file transfer/copying between hosts on the SAN to be done by the SAN instead of the regular network transfer)
Live merging of VHDs and Snapshots
RDMA (IS a direct memory access from the memory of one computer into another without involving either’s OS.
SMB 3.0 (Allows to use regular network fileservers instead of expensive SAN solution)
Native 4 KB sector disks support (But for compability sake it allows for an 512-byte emulation called 512e )
Data De-duplication
Virtual Fibre Channel inside the Virtual Machines
VM boot from SAN
Storage Spaces (Software like RAID solution)
New File system ReFS (Luckily most of the system filters which a written for NTFS will work for ReFS, and it has improvements to resilience, reliability)
Bitlocker on CSV (Allows you to encrypt an CSV volume)
SMI-S (Is a storage standard by the SNIA which allows for management functions via HTTP)
Encrypt VHD files with Bitlocker Network Boot(Gives you an ability to encrypt an VHD file, so if it reboot it will contact a wds server and get the decryption keys and continue to boot)

Improved Live Migration
Unlimited Simultaneous live migrations
Live Storage Migration
Shared-Nothing Live Migration
Hyper-V Replica
Failover Prioritization

VMware and virtualization:
VMware started its life with VMware workstation which was released in 1999 (Yes its really that old!) And has since then been living on virtualization technology, the first release of vSphere came in 2001. They have also created an VDI product called VMware View, and in 2010 they acquired the open-source groupware solution Zimbra from Yahoo.  So they are expanding their horizon when relating to software products but their primary focus has always been virtualization. Now last week (
VMware released their newest version of vSphere, version 5.1 and VMware has also just recently killed of the vRAM memory tax, in order to compete with Windows.

VMware pricing and editions:

VMware vSphere 5.1 is licensed on a per- physical processor basis

Standard edition = $1144 (Is a bit more stripped version of the hypervisor)
Enterprise edition = $3308 (Is also a bit stripped version of the full version)
Enterprise plus edition = $4024 (Contains all of the features and has the full workload)
NOTE:These prices are fetched from VMware’s site which is usually listed as EURO not US$

Some examples;
1 Server = 1 CPU 4 Virtual Machines (IF you want all the features you need 1 Enterprise plus licenses)
1 Server = 2 CPU 4 Virtual Machines (IF you want all the features you need 2 Enterprise plus licenses)
So in both cases you would need a WS2012 Datacenter License in addition to the Vmware license (IF you wish to use Windows Server 2012 VM’s on that host)

VMware and vSphere 5.1 has the following workloads and the following features.(Enterprice plus edition)

Host max
Logical processors on hardware 256
Physical memory  2TB
Virtual CPU per host 2,048

Virtual machine max

Virtual processors per virtual machine 64
Memory per virtual machine  1 TB
Active virtual machines per server 1,024

Netflow 10 (IPFIX)
Port Mirroring (RSPAN and ERSPAN)
QOS (Network I/O)
DCB (Data Center Bridging) refers to a set of enhancements to Ethernet local area networks for use in data center environments.
Receive Side Scaling (RSS spreads monitoring interrupts over multiple processors, so a single processor isn’t required to handle all I/O interrupts,)
TCP Segment Offload
Distributed Virtual Switch
LACP (Link Aggregation Control Protocol)

vSphere webclient
Powershell via PowerCLI
SCVMM (Eventually will come with support, with SP1 you have support for up to vSphere 5.0)

vMotion enchancements ( similar to shared-nothing live migration)
Boot from Software FCoE
16Gb HBA Support
iSCSI jumbo frames
SSD Monitoring
VMFS-5 enchancements

So there is  a lot happening in both camps nowadays.
For higher workloads Windows seems to be the good option ,and you don’t think that anyone is actually going to max out those numbers? I’ve actually spoken to a service provider in the US which was a bit annoyed with the max VM per cluster since each server can hold 1,024 virtual machines and in a cluster with 32 nodes you can “only” have 4,000 virtual machines.  But another question, how is the performance ? There is no use having a 150HK engine if another car with 110HK can go right past you.
VMware actually has a performance document stating that each VM was performing about 18,9% on VMware 5. (This document is 2008R2 Hyper-v vs. VMware)
Again this is for the old version, it is going to be interesting too see how the performance is going to impact with WS2012.

Microsoft is working hard these days with SP1 for System Center, since for enterprise deployment you are going to need SCVMM (Since full support for Server 2012 comes with SP1). VMware already has the management solution for its new hypervisor available so Microsoft better hurry up Smile
And Microsoft is also working with Service Provider foundation. For hosters that wish to deliver IaaS this is going to be big news! V1 of this is going to be avaliable with SP1 for System Center, if you don’t want to use this
Citrix has a Control Panel solution which integrates to SCVMM to deliver IaaS, Paas & SaaS called Cloudportal Services Manager (which does not use the Service Provieder Foundation API)
ExtendASP which also is a control panel solution for hosters have full support for Windows Server 2012, so it allows for hosters to easy deploy solutions for their customers.
VMware already has their IaaS solution in place with vCloud director so its going to be interesting to see how they compete in functionality and features.

(VMware comparison set of Hyper-V VS VMware)
(Microsoft comparison set of Hyper-V VS VMware)
Vmware vSphere 5.1
What’s new in vSphere 5.1 Networking
What’s new in vsPhere 5.1 Storage

Now this post is still in the making since there are still a lot of new facts and updates that appear each week.

0 thoughts on “Windows Server 2012 Hyper-v And Vsphere 5.1”

  1. Hello, another small correction on Hyper-V 2012 (R3):
    Cluster max
    Nodes 64 (not 32 in your document)

    Your can better spread the workload over 64 nodes than over 32, isn’t it?

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