Cutting through the FUD: Facts you should know about Hyper-V and System Center

Cutting through the FUD: Facts you should know about Hyper-V and System Center

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For those who follow this blog, you have noticed that the blog is much more about Microsoft Virtualization and why you should use it and less about what is negative with the competition.  While I do write and make comparisons with VMware, my goal is to promote Microsoft Virtualization. 

Still, when I meet users and customers, especially at shows like TechEd EMEA and VMworld, I often get asked "why do comparison to VMware at all?"  The honest answer is that we get asked for comparisons against VMware and often, we have to respond to negative attacks on Hyper-V.  While it’s within anyone’s right to post their opinions on Hyper-V, lately, there has been a lot of comparisons and opinions that I feel fall into the FUD category.  That’s why I felt compelled to write up something to respond.

What is FUD?  I think a lot of people forget what FUD really stands for.  FUD is Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.  FUD is when people make assertions or statements that simply are trying to scare people away from what they are attacking.  FUD is not simply an argument that you don’t agree with. 

I do want to make clear that not everyone is pushing FUD.  There are many articles and bloggers out there, including Pro-VMware ones, that are not pushing FUD.  I read many of them regularly and I respect and appreciate what they write (even if I don’t always agree :) ).  Unfortunately, lately, there still seems to be articles and posts, that people keep highlighting due to their provocative titles, that are more FUD than fact.

The issue is that the FUD being spread about Hyper-V is for one purpose, to get you not to try Hyper-V and System Center.  Very few of the FUD articles say something like “Try both solutions out and compare".  They all basically say “It’s not worth your time to try it, trust me” or “You might try it a little but don’t deploy it as it’s very risky and your business might suffer because of it.”  This goes against the most basic point that I make on my site, which is to try Microsoft Virtualization , evaluate it, deploy it for workloads, ask others who have deployed it, and see for yourself.

What I want to do today is not address specific articles on Hyper-V.  I want to address a couple of key facts to help sort through the FUD that is being posted.  So let’s start:

  • You do not need to remove or replace your existing VMware installation to deploy Hyper-V
    This is probably the most important fact that seems to be missing when reading the FUD articles.  Those articles work on the premise that you have to dump your VMware investment, that the Microsoft solution requires you to remove your VMware systems.

    At the most basic level, you can deploy Hyper-V and Microsoft Virtualization side by side with any VMware installation.  Virtualization is a growing technology and there are plenty of opportunities in most businesses to deploy both hypervisors.  It is NOT an all or nothing proposition. 

    More importantly, the management stack for Microsoft Virtualization supports managing VMware systems also.  Virtual Machine Manager supports managing VMware servers and the integration points to the rest of System Center allow you to take advantage of the features of Microsoft Virtualization Management, even if you only have VMware and do not deploy Hyper-V. And it’s not just about managing and integrating VMware with System Center, but also providing key Microsoft unique features such as In-Guest Monitoring, End to End, Physical to Virtual to Application Level management, and advanced features such as Performance Resource Optimization (PRO).  In a VMware environment, Microsoft System Center is a compliment to the existing VMware infrastructure, not a replacement for the VMware tools.

    In fact, if your organization already uses Windows Server or System Center, you may already have the infrastructure to deploy and manage Hyper-V.  Microsoft Virtualization is built so that it doesn’t require you to build an entire new IT infrastructure to support it.  Rather, it leverages as much of your existing IT infrastructures as possible, whether it be physical or virtual, Microsoft or VMware, or even Desktop or Server.  Trying out Hyper-V and Microsoft Virtualization is easy to do.
  • Hyper-V is Enterprise Ready
    There seem to be a lot of people out there that have what I call checkbox-itis.  Checkbox-itis is the tendency to focus on feature checkboxes rather than on features and business cases that apply to real deployments.  Checkbox-itis often is used by those who try to tell you what is “Enterprise-ready” based on feature sets they feel are important.

    Hyper-V and the rest of Microsoft Virtualization is “Enterprise ready” for hundreds of companies today.  You can read the case studies on our site for some great examples of that.  The features and capabilities of Microsoft Virtualization provide benefit to all those customers. 

    The truth is that “Enterprise ready” is only applicable to YOUR Enterprise and YOUR requirements.  Simply attempting to look for features in software and NOT mapping them to your requirements needs is the wrong way to evaluate if a software meets your needs.

    Many of the FUD articles keep citing features that VMware has that Hyper-V does not as an example of what is required for Enterprise readiness.  In this worst case of checkbox-itis, they don’t even discuss what the applicability of those features are or even the limitations.  They just simply tell what the features are, that Hyper-V doesn’t have it, and because of that, Hyper-V isn’t “Enterprise Ready”. 

    The truth of the matter is that some of features are new to VMware also.  If those features are truly required to be “Enterprise Ready”, does that mean that older versions of VMware like ESX 3.5 are not “Enterprise Ready” any longer?  Should people be worried that their existing installations are somehow in danger?  Of course not

    That gets right back at the FUD issue.  Trying to scare people with checkbox-itis to not trying Hyper-V.  The importance of features is based on each company’s requirements, not someone’s list of features.  Try out Hyper-V, look at its feature set, and try it.  If it doesn’t meet your requirements for certain workloads, deploy VMware for those workloads.  But for the majority of workloads, I believe that Hyper-V will meet the requirements.  And don’t forget, either way, you can manage both the VMware servers and Microsoft servers using the Microsoft management stack.
  • Virtual Machine Manager is not a replacement for vCenter
    Whenever the FUD articles actually acknowledge that Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) manages VMware, they always cite specific features that VMM doesn’t do to VMware environments.  The simply answer to this is that VMM wasn’t designed to replace vCenter.  It’s designed to be the centralized, day to day virtualization management tool for multiple hypervisors, such as creating VMs, moving VMs, configuring VMs, and optimizing the placement of VMs.  

    More importantly, many of the features that people cite as missing in VMM are found in the other System Center tools.  Why is that?  That is because the Microsoft philosophy is that one tool set, one management infrastructure, should be used to manage both physical and virtual.  We believe it doesn’t make much sense to have both a physical AND virtual monitoring tool, a physical AND virtual backup utility, a physical AND virtual update and software deployment tool.  In the end, tt’s not really about Physical OR Virtual management or even Physical AND Virtual management.  It’s about IT management as a whole and if virtualization is to become a core feature capability of everyday IT, the management of virtualization needs from a specialization to a model like System Center has adopted.

    Finally, as with Hyper-V and the rest of System Center, VMM is not an either/or implementation.  VMM integrates with vCenter with existing WebAPIs.  In fact, when you initiate an action in VMM against a VMware server, VMM tells vCenter to perform the action.  Thus, work done in VMM against a VMware server is shown in vCenter because vCenter does the work and work done in vCenter shows up in VMM via the APIs.  You do not need to stop using vCenter to use VMM. The systems are not mutually exclusive.  Even some past behavior in VMM 2008, such as creating new port groups in vCenter, have been changed in VMM 2008 R2. 
  • Hyper-V is a mature, safe, secure hypervisor
    This is probably most cited point by the FUD articles that have been written.  They claim Hyper-V is somehow unsecure, unreliable, immature compared to VMware.  Most of those articles never actually cite specific instances, issues, or problems that would confirm those points.  The true test is to try Hyper-V and perform the necessary test and evaluations against both it and the competition.  While no software is infallible, the growing track record of Hyper-V and the rest of the Microsoft Virtualization solutions speak for themselves. 

My final point is one that based on my conversations over the years, that many of you agree with me on.  Virtualization and Hypervisor choice is not like going to war.  You don’t have to pick one side only and you don’t have to destroy the other side to successful.  People take it way too seriously.  Virtualization is a great technology but it’s simply that, a technology.  Something we use to make our lives easier and better.  

As I have stated throughout this post and in most of my posts, try Hyper-V and the Microsoft Virtualization products for yourself.  That is the only way to determine what Microsoft Virtualization can do for you. 

BIO2  
Edwin Yuen
Senior Technical Product Manager – Virtualization
Email Edwin Yuen at Microsoft Edwin on Facebook Follow Edwin on Twitter Edwin's Virtualization Planet Blog

Comments
  • Edwin, can VMM manage an ESX host without Virtual Center? I already have a small number of ESXi servers that don't support Intel-VT so I can't run Hyper-V but already use other System Center tools. If SCVMM can manage an ESX host directly, then I would rather not spend the money for VirtualCenter.

  • r_colbert,

    No, VMM requires Virtual Center to manage ESX/ESXi servers.  While VMM does some communicatoin directly to the hosts, to load VMM templates and other items, the majority of the work requires Virtual Center.  VMM cannot manage ESX/ESXi without Virtual Center.

    -Edwin

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