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Full of I.T. Shark Week!: Who has the biggest disk?

Full of I.T. Shark Week!: Who has the biggest disk?

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Okay.. here's the REAL Shark Week

In this final day of Shark Week! on Full of I.T., we will do a quick comparison of storage capabilities between Hyper-V and VMware’s vSphere 5.0. 

Hyper-V 3.0 in Windows Server 2012 and in the free Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 have some new capabilities and new capacities in the storage arena.

“’Arena’?  Shouldn’t that be ‘Shark Tank’?”

Ride the shark!!Ah yes, right.  In the shark tank.  Capabilities such as support for direct connections to Fibre Channel storage for virtual machines, like 4KB disk support, and natively supporting Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX), are now just included for no additional cost with Hyper-V

And how big of a disk do you think you need?

“Pretty big.. and getting bigger all the time.”

And that’s the key point, right?  2 terabytes of disk-drive space for a single virtual machine is probably enough for now – but why stop there?  And if I decide to use a virtual disk to hold data for a very large database, what if I need more than that?  So now the new .VHDX format disks, among other improvements, now support growing up to 64TB in size.

TRY THIS AT HOME: On your Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 test machine, open up Storage Manager, and create a new disk.  Create it as dynamically expanding, and create it as a 64TB (or 65,535 MB) size disk.

“Oh wow!  It works!  I actually have 64TB of space!”

Not so fast!… remember, that’s a dynamically expanding (“thin provisioned”) disk.  It will only expand as far onto your physical disk as the space you actually have. 

So to summarize, here’s a handy chart comparing** VMware’’s free vSphere Hypervisor, vSphere 5.0 Enterprise Plus, and Hyper-V 2012.

My disk is bigger!

  1. The maximum size of a physical disk attached to a virtual machine is determined by the guest operating system and the chosen file system within the guest
  2. vStorage API for Multipathing (VAMP) is only available in Enterprise & Enterprise Plus editions of vSphere 5.0
  3. vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI) is only available in Enterprise & Enterprise Plus editions of vSphere 5.0
  4. VMware documentation doesn’t mention whether or not their platform support 4K Advanced Format Drives.

Want more details?

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**I realize that things change.  VMware will likely soon improve their capabilities to better compete with Microsoft’s Hyper-V.  As they should.  These numbers come from an excellent talk given by Matt McSpirit at TechEd North America 2012.  I highly recommend viewing the recording of his session HERE.

  • Kevin,

    Some people will say "sure, the free VMware offering isn't as good as Hyper-V. But you still need to pay for Windows Server 2012, so it's not an apples to apples comparison". True, but you DO NOT need to buy Windows Server 2012 to get all the great new Hyper-V features. The FREE Windows Hyper-V 2012 Server has all the same features as Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012. So gotcha! :)

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