Sometimes I have heard in different circles that VMware has a “purpose built hypervisor”, and can be installed independently of the host operating system and free, while Microsoft’s not.

The reality is that Hyper-V is installed under Windows Server (between the hardware and the host operating system). Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 is a hypervisor-based server virtualization product is a dedicated stand-alone product that contains the hypervisor, Windows Server driver model, virtualization capabilities, and supporting components such the same scale, performance, high-availability (Windows Failover Clustering), flexibility (supporting Live Migration and Live Storage Migration), as in the version of Hyper-V installed under Windows Server at no cost.

The difference is that does not contain the complete set of features and roles (Directory Services, Application Server, etc), as the Windows Server operating system. As a result, Hyper-V Server produces a small footprint and requires minimal overhead. Organizations consolidating servers where no new Windows Server licenses are required or where the servers being consolidated are running an alternative OS may want to consider Hyper-V Server.

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