Last week I was reading a recently published, independent review of Windows Server 2012 in Windows IT Pro.  The author, Sean Deuby, highlights his top ten features, of which four of the first five are virtualization and Hyper-V specific. He calls out features such as Hyper-V Shared Nothing Live Migration and Hyper-V Replica, which help reduce your costs and improve your overall IT efficiency.  Sean closes his article by stating:

“The Hyper-V enhancements, in particular, provide companies the means to safely virtualize their infrastructure with more flexibility at a far lower cost than ever before.”

In a previous blog post from a couple of weeks ago at this link, I highlighted a variety of other third party commentary on Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V as well.  The general consensus from a variety of these independent sources was that the Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V release has parity with, and in several cases, leapfrogs the virtualization offerings from VMware.  You can also find more detailed information in a comparative guide we’ve published here.

After reading these product tear downs and reviews from industry experts, who are familiar not only with Microsoft’s products but also other’s, I had to chuckle a little as I was looking at a link someone had sent me for a page on VMware’s site.  As I read through the site of purported “facts”, I saw references to Microsoft and terms such as “marketing fluff” and “hyper-bole” (which granted was a somewhat clever attempt at a play on words) being used alongside a video from one of their employees espousing the benefits of their own offering.

Still, I’d like to addresses several of these “facts” with things you need to keep in mind when comparing Hyper-V with other hypervisors.

  • Hyper-V is an industry-leading hypervisor solution – The fact is that thousands of customers are counting on Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V today and even Gartner has recognized that Microsoft is a leader in the Virtualization space.  And as I noted above, you can check out the detailed comparisons and information on Windows Server 2012 and see why we think it’s a game changer for everyone.
  • Microsoft provides an economic model second to none – There is no disputing that Window Server Hyper-V and System Center provide the right economic model for virtualization and private cloud, not taxing you for using your own systems.  VMware’s comparisons can’t dispute that fact, so their calculations continue to miscalculate licenses, ignore features that System Center provides, and use studies that don’t test real-world, production scenarios.  Even granting all these inaccuracies, the final cost differential between the products is only 0.6% over two years.  That just shows you to what extent VMware’s numbers have to be “massaged” to make their solution as cost effective as the Microsoft solution.

In a recent survey conducted by the Enterprise Strategy Group* in May 2012, respondents were asked why their organization displaced VMware Hypervisors.  30% of respondents indicated it was due to the overall cost of VMware licenses as a whole and 27% said it was due to changes in VMware’s licensing structure and approach.  As a result of the changes and customer’s questions about the potential benefits of switching virtualization infrastructures, we released a Microsoft Server Virtualization Tool for calculating comparative costs.  You can run the numbers yourself with no obligation and see how the results compare to the independent calculations you perform or the quotes you receive from your implementation partners.

  • Hyper-V provides a great platform for Tier-1 applications – Over the past 18 months, we have published several 3rd-party tests that show industry leading performance for Microsoft applications such as Exchange 2010, SharePoint 2010, and SQL Server 2008 and 2012 on Hyper-V.  You can also check out the numerous case studies of companies such as Target and other's below that rely on Hyper-V to drive their mission critical applications.
  • System Center provides unmatched management capabilities for your datacenter – System Center is the only solution that integrates your entire datacenter infrastructure, including your VMware, Citrix Xen, and Hyper-V systems, with the deep application insights needed for the Private Cloud.  System Center’s VMware integration works at a layer above vCenter, allowing for integration of an existing VMware environment with a modern management layer.  And only System Center gives cross-platform, application level monitoring of your critical applications.  The VMware application solutions can’t even monitor critical applications such as Exchange 2010 or SQL 2008, let alone the applications you are delivering for the private cloud.

As customers, you're always going to find yourselves presented with claims and information from companies and you’ll need to judge for yourself whether that information is accurate and can be trusted.  There are certainly facts that are scientific
in nature and indisputable, such as Windows Server 2012 RC Hyper-V delivers leading scalability with support for:

  • 320 logical processors per Host
  • 4 TB of physical memory per Host
  • 2,048 virtual CPUs per Host
  • 64 virtual CPUs per VM
  • 1TB of memory per VM

Along the lines of delivering concrete, factual data we just launched DidYouKnow2012.com to provide you with information regarding the core capabilities of Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V.  The content touches on topics such as key features, performance, licensing, DR and other areas to help you get primer information as you begin to investigate what Windows Server 2012 has to offer your organization.  I wouldn’t expect you to solely go on my word and you should certainly review what others are saying about Windows Server 2012.  There’s a good third party overview of the key features in ZDNet’s Jason Perlow’s review located here.

You can also see for yourself some of the positive things that other customers are saying about Hyper-V and the benefits they’re experiencing with using it for their virtualization foundation.  Here are a couple examples:

  • Target Corporation – Where Brad Thompson, Director Infrastructure Engineering at Target says, “It’s not hyperbole to suggest that most of our guest shopping experiences are affected by our Microsoft Virtualization solution. That’s a good thing for Target, and it’s a good thing for our guests.”
  • SAP – Ralf Lindenlaub, Vice President for Virtualization and Cloud Management, Value Prototyping/Center of Excellence at SAP says, “Using Hyper-V together with tools from SAP and Microsoft, customers can bring up SAP virtual systems, or entire virtual landscapes, far faster than they could have realistically imagined even a few years ago.”
  • Apartments.com – Pat Anderson, Chief Technology Officer at Apartments.com says, “We have a long list of items on our product roadmap. By using Hyper-V and System Center, we have a better chance of getting them up and running before our competition.

The best advice I have to offer is, don’t take my word for it – try it for yourself!!!  You can do it for free by downloading the Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate and kicking the tires on Hyper-V yourself.  That way, you can see for yourself the great features and capabilities that Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V can give to your business.

Thanks for reading and your time.

--- Edwin

* ESG Research, Microsoft Virtualization and Cloud Custom Survey, May, 2012.