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Hyper-V vs. VMware vSphere: Which Solution is Right for You?

As virtualization becomes commonplace in businesses of all sizes, IT decision-makers in small and medium operations must embrace this trend to increase savings and stay competitive. Selecting the hypervisor solution that’s right for your business will make operations more efficient, improve IT productivity and increase your savings when it comes to hardware.

In fact, research shows that virtualization boosts IT productivity by 67% and reduces downtime of applications by 36%. While virtualization has multiple proven benefits, businesses make many common mistakes when it comes to implementing it. However, choosing the wrong hypervisor shouldn’t be one of them. Understanding what the current platforms offer as well as defining what you need from a solution can help you decide whether Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware vSphere is best for your specific situation.

What Is a Hypervisor — and Why Does It Matter?

A hypervisor, or virtual machine monitor (VMM), creates and runs virtual machines, or VMs. It is designed to distribute the computing resources into those VMs where they are most needed at any given time.

Through use of a hypervisor, one host computer can virtually share its resources, such as RAM, storage and processing, to multiple other machines, which are referred to as guest VMs. Regardless of what operating system is on the VM, the hypervisor gives it access to the resources of the host machine. This allows for much more efficient use of a system’s available resources and provides users with the ability to run resource-intensive applications without having to invest in costly, power-hungry desktop computers.

This method also offers greater IT mobility because the guest VMs are independent of the host hardware, which means they can be moved easily between different servers.

While a hypervisor is typically a software application, it can also be found on mobile devices through the use of embedded hypervisors.

Hypervisor Choices for Small and Medium Businesses

There are two types of hypervisors:

  • Type 1: Runs directly on the system hardware
  • Type 2: Runs on a host operating system that provides virtualization services (i.e., I/O device support, memory management)

Since Type 1 hypervisors are installed directly on top of a physical server, with no software or operating system in between, it is also called a bare metal hypervisor. Because they don’t run inside another operating system, they are generally recognized as having better performance capabilities and greater stability than Type 2 hypervisors. That makes them a good choice for businesses of all sizes, including modern enterprise data centers.

When it comes to selecting the right Type 1 hypervisor, virtual platforms like VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V can help small and midsize organizations overcome the unique IT challenges they face. While these platforms share many similarities, each one also has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Understanding the differences between the options can help ensure you get the solution that’s right for you.

VMware vSphere: A Closer Look

VMware offers a number of options designed for virtual systems, which has helped establish it as a leading vendor in virtualization technology. Many large data centers depend on VMware, and vSphere offers several advanced features for the IT environment.

The vSphere platform consists of several different components, all of which must be installed individually. Using the ESXi, a Type 1 native hypervisor, it is able to directly manage host servers as well as run guest VMs. It is an updated version of the VMware ESX, which ran on Linux, and it requires fewer hardware resources and has a smaller footprint (just 70 MB). The vSphere suite of tools include vSphere Client or VMware vCenter Server, which provide the management tools needed to run ESXi hosts. Some of the advantages of vSphere include:

- No operating system is required to control the virtualization components
- Security patches aren’t needed for the Controlling Layer components
- Governance capabilities are available right out of the box

Hyper-V: A Closer Look

Hyper-V was first introduced with the release of Windows Server 2008 and has since been overhauled and updated. The Microsoft Azure cloud operates on Hyper-V, and while it doesn’t have quite as many features as vSphere, it is a solid provider and has a few different licensing options so you can find one for your needs. While it is an important part of Windows Server, it also can be installed separately as a standalone Hyper-V Server.

Hyper-V’s design minimizes the management required for device drivers and allows for a wide range of devices to be used with the platform. The device drivers are installed into the operating system that manages the Controlling Layer and then are available for VMs to access.

It also has a faster backup time and is faster to install and deploy to VMs. Other advantages of the Hyper-V are: - Greater resilience to corrupt external code than other platforms - No downtime for performing maintenance and/or applying security updates - Compatible with a wide range of devices

Comparing VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V

When it comes to Hyper-V vs vSphere, which one is right for you? As with all technology decisions, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, so it will take careful comparison of all capabilities and features to answer that question. Users who have experience with Microsoft will have an easier learning curve with Hyper-V, while vSphere can prove more challenging. However, VMware is known for its above-average support, so if vSphere seems right for your needs, that’s a manageable challenge.

VMware vSphere has more features, but you may also face incompatibility issues with hardware if VMware doesn’t support it. Hyper-V needs frequent OS and security updates, so that must be factored into the cost.

However, when it comes to cost considerations, Hyper-V is a much less expensive than vSphere, so if you’re working within a budget, it can provide many of the needed features at a lower price.

When you’re ready to consider your virtualization options, Aventis Systems can help. We can help look at your needs as well as the costs, security considerations and complexities of your organization and help you make the best decision for your current and future needs.

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