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Hyper-V boost pushes Microsoft virtualisation closer to VMware

Microsoft has done a lot to boost its Hyper-V virtualisation software but the improvements do not justify switching from VMware, says Gartner

Microsoft has done a lot to boost Hyper-V but the improvements do not justify switching from VMware, according to Gartner.

Speaking prior to the analyst’s datacentre conference at Westminster, Gartner vice-president and distinguished analyst Carl Claunch said: “Hyper-V is a viable alternative to VMware. Microsoft has improved the product’s position.”

Claunch said Microsoft’s push to establish Hyper-V as a VMware alternative means lot of added features that used to cost more in VMware now come free as part of Hyper-V, which is bundled free with Windows Server 2012.

“VMware will now have to deal with add-on virtualisation functionality that is now a datacentre commodity, " said Claunch. He believes Hyper-V will damage VMware’s revenue.

“Microsoft is a sizeable, capable competitor, but VMware is fast-paced and can innovate quickly to avoid competition.”

However, he said: “VMware has strong a strong position on x86 servers for Windows workloads, so people don’t feel they are going to miss out by not moving to Hyper-V.”

While there is no need to switch, he added: “If you are beginning to move to the cloud then Hyper-V is worth a serious look.”

Hyper-V improvements

For instance, in a fresh virtualised environment, Windows Server 2012 is more advanced than VMware, because it is able to move workloads around more easily than VMware, according to Claunch.

He said: “Hyper-V is much more flexible. VMware requires advanced planning. The machine needs to be in a compatible part of the network.”

Performance improvements include Hyper-V’s ability to combine multiple network adapters for load-balancing, its large memory support and the way it handles storage.

He said: "Thin provisioning, data deduplication, used to require SAN. Hyper-V now allows direct attached storage to be used.” This is considerably cheaper and could make it attractive to SMEs.

In system administration, Claunch said Windows management tools can be used to connect to each server individually. "You can now manage groups of servers in one go on Hyper-V.”

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