Many IT Pros still don’t know that Microsoft offers a bare metal hypervisor. Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 installs directly on your hardware with a very minimal set of Windows Server components to optimize the virtualization environment. This Hyper-V platform eliminates many of the common Windows Server infrastructure features such as Active Directory, DNS, IIS, DHCP, and more. Below you can see a comparison between the Add Roles and Features Wizards for a Windows Server 2012 and Windows Hyper-V Server 2012.
Because the code doesn't even exist on the platform, there is a significantly reduced attack surface that enhances security. Combine this with built in BitLocker support, Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 is an excellent, secure solution for remote sites where there may not be the same level of physical security. VMware has no capability within the vSphere Hypervisor that can enable the encryption of either VMFS, or the VMDK files themselves. Instead, they rely on hardware-based or in-guest alternatives, which add cost, management overhead, and additional resource usage.
More importantly, there is typically very little to patch on Patch Tuesday. For instance, if there is a critical Windows DNS patch that requires a reboot, it simply does not apply to Windows Hyper-V Server. The result – a significant reduction in host downtime which means the guest workloads don’t have to be migrated or incur any downtime while the host is rebooted. In the essence of transparency – we are not perfect. There are patches that will require a Hyper-V host to be rebooted (here is a KB article for Hyper-V 2012 specific patches). However, in the event there is a patch that requires a reboot of the host, Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 allows you to migrate workloads to other Hyper-V servers or to leverage a replica VM while a host is being rebooted. Something the free VMware offering specifically doesn’t support. To get this for VMware you must purchase the much more expensive VMware offering. I like free!
But when you consider that a patch reboot is a relatively small part of what goes on in production, I feel the absolutely most important aspect of this is reduced resource usage by the host itself. Ideally, you want any hypervisor used in productions to consume as little resources at the host level as possible leaving as much as we can for the VM’s we are hosting. Microsoft Hyper-V Server accomplishes this by eliminating the code for extraneous services completely.
Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 doesn’t compromise on any Hyper-V Features either. Even though this is an absolutely free hypervisor, it fully supports all of the same enterprise feature sets of a Windows 2012 Server with the Hyper-V role enabled.
This contrasts the free VMware vSphere Hypervisor offering that cripples some features such as moving running workloads easily to another VMware server, lack of high availability features, and a cap on the VMware host of 32 gigs of installed memory (this is a hard cap too the VMware license key will not be accepted if the host has >32 gigs of memory installed!).
Finally, we aren’t finished innovating in the bare-metal virtualization space. Windows Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 is just around the corner and it boasts new updates and features to further enable IT Administrators to optimize their virtualized environments and reduce costs.
If you want to take a look at some of the new features, download the Windows Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 Preview here -