Hyper-V Review

Microsoft Hyper-V 3.0 from a vSphere lover's perspective.

Microsoft is making claims that Windows Hyper-V Server 2012 is the best virtualization platform for Windows. I have to say that they have caught my interest with Windows Server 2012, Hyper-V version 3 and Systems Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2012. So I have been hard at work getting deep into the products, first by updating all my lab systems. Unfortunately Windows Server 2012 is not in general release yet so all my setup and testing is being done with the release candidate and/or technical preview software. In saying this, you can’t really compare the software solutions to the current release versions of VMware vSphere, vCenter Server, etc as I may tend to do. And if you don’t know, VMWorld 2012 is right around the corner and I expect there to be additional product updates. Especially since VMware has been an industry leader and innovator in this space for many years now.

Let’s skip past the details of the features that one or the other offers and outline my findings and my opinions of Hyper-V. The first thing most people will ask is whether Hyper-V better than vSphere' Well the answer is “Yes” and “No”. I would still say that I like vSphere better but that’s because I’m a bit bias having used it for so long. But I do see the great potential that is to be had by implementing Hyper-V and System Center VMM, especially for enterprise clients that are primarily using Microsoft Windows Server along with System Center solutions.

Here’s what I think so far about what Microsoft is bringing to bare for virtualization.


  • I found Hyper-V to be a bit more complex to configure some of the features that vSphere seems to make really simple like High Availability (HA) which requires the Failover Clustering feature.
  • There are features that I haven’t found yet in Hyper-V like Enhanced vMotion to aid in dong Live Migrations between different processor families.
  • I did not see a comparable solution to Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) or Storage DRS. These are two features that yield great returns by automatically balancing VM workloads across multiple host resources using vMotion and Storage vMotion.
  • There’s a lot going on with SCVMM which mean you have a bit to wrap your head around. But some may say the same thing about vCenter.


  • My first Pro is the last Con. There is a lot going on with SCVMM. While it was a little overwhelming once you do get your head wrap around it you’ll see that you can do more than just server virtualization. You can build a private cloud with self service and all. VMware offers vCloud Director which is a separate solution with additional licensing and cost.
  • With Datacenter Edition of Windows Server gives you can virtualize an unlimited number of virtual machines. This also includes the virtual machines operating system licenses if your running Windows Server. VMware can’t even offer that since Microsoft owns the OS.
  • If your already licensed to use System Center 2012 you will get SCVMM and more at no additional cost. This is because Microsoft has decided to bundle many of the management products and change their licensing model. More details can be found here. If you have a previous version of the management software an upgrade path could be available and worth it giving the additional software you’ll gain.
  • Oh and I can’t forget the fact that SCVMM will let you use Hyper-V, vSphere, and Citrix virtualization host servers as platforms to build on. This is not available with vCenter since it only supports managing VMware virtualization hosts.

The new version of Windows Hyper-V does not have 100% feature parity with VMware vSphere 5 and vCenter combo but you get so much those additional features might not matter much. Microsoft is clearly going to give VMware some serious competition when it’s released.

Microsoft Hyper-V 3.0 from a vSphere lovers perspective. originally appeared on theHyperadvisor by Antone Heyward

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
More Hyper-V reviews from users
...who work at a Financial Services Firm
...who compared it with VMware vSphere
Add a Comment

author avatarit_user2652 (Project Manager at a non-tech company with 10,001+ employees)
Top ReviewerVendor

What is license cost for Hyper-V? is there limit of nodes that can be built over Hyper-V?

author avatarit_user6318 (System Architect at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees)

If your just looking at virtualization licensing cost with hyper-v 2012 it's not too hard to calculate but with anything it can get more complicated depending on the environment. You could use the free version of hyper-v server, get windows 2012 server standard for *limited, or datacenter for unlimited VMs. Adding System Center adds more complexity and I think talking to a Microsoft rep would be best but its similar to the server license model. As far as limits of a hyper-v node, it's really no different from other hypervisors. It depends on how you configure your infrastructure (compute, storage, network, etc).

author avatarit_user2652 (Project Manager at a non-tech company with 10,001+ employees) (Bureau Veritas)
Top ReviewerVendor

How many hosts/nodes can be created using free version of Hyper-V?

author avatarit_user6318 (System Architect at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees)

There is no limit that I know of but you can only manage from powershell to be totally free. No the most optimal for most people but you could license a server and use hyper-v manager to manage the free hyperv hosts. And you have to license all windows guests you virtualize whether the host is using the free version or not so in my opinion the free version doesnt make sense in the enterprise unless your vm guests are all linux.

author avatarit_user80901 (Consultant at a tech vendor with 10,001+ employees)

I tend to disagree with the assumption that Hyper-V is complex to setup in terms of HA.
It depends on the requirements and understanding of the product.

Having used both Hyper-V and vSphere, I cant see any complexity.

author avatarit_user80895 (IT Manager at a K-12 educational company or school with 501-1,000 employees)

Hello All,

I will add to Ajendra's comment.
It is true that Hyper-V is not complex to implement either in HA or Standalone mode. The requirements will vary from one environment to another.

I believe that the above review is outdated with the current Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V release.
If we need to cover the scalability point, Hyper-V is more scalable then vSphere 5.5

This is my own opinion with respect to all other vendors.

@kapilmalik1983 - Hyper-V is completely free, you can download Hyper-V Core Server 2012/R2 for free, then you need to license each VM run on top of it.
If you choose to buy a Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter License, then you can run unlimited VM on that particular host, however for each Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard License, you have two free VMs licensed. This cover Windows Server license and not Windows client license.

author avatarit_user6318 (System Architect at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees)

Thanks for the feedback guys but please don't take what I wrote out of context. I said "I found Hyper-V to be a bit more complex to configure some of the features that vSphere seems to make really simple like High Availability (HA) which requires the Failover Clustering feature."....and in this since I think my statement is still true. Now more complex does not inherently mean that it's HARD. Hyper-V in it self is not hard. Failover clustering is not hard. Using SCCM to deploy both is not hard. But as @ajendra mentioned, "It depends on the requirements and understanding of the product.". So depending on the environment your setting up with Hyper-V it can be complex. Meaning that there are more moving parts that can either break or be misconfigured. @Charbel is also correct, this article is out dated with R2 now being available but nothing was really changed to make my statement less valid if you focus on what said with HA.

No matter my opinion, Hyper-V is a great virtualization platform. This article does not intend to say otherwise.

author avatarit_user221874 (Manager IT at a energy/utilities company with 501-1,000 employees)

kapilmalik1983 ... there are different versions and their prices.... if you go with unlimited VMs then it will cost you around 5000 UDS