For a good portion of the time I have been working in the virtualization space, there has been plenty of hype about how it is just a matter of time before Microsoft “leapfrogs” ahead of VMware in the area of virtualization and with the massive upgraded version of Hyper-V 3.0 that will ship with Windows Server 8, there is thought that Microsoft might just pull off that upset. So in classic Microsoft style, let’s take a look and compare VMware today (ESX/vSphere5) with what Microsoft will have with Hyper-V 3.0 sometime possibly in the “Fall” of 2012.I started to create my own graph to compare the different features of both products and during my research I found a great graph that was created by a fellow vExpert Marcel van den Berg that does a great side by side comparison that was much better than the table I was pointing together. The original graphic and Marcel’s point of view can be found here and with Marcel’s permission I have the graph below.
Looking at the chart you can see that Microsoft is making leaps and bounds with Hyper-V and from the chart, Hyper-V is presenting itself to be pretty much equivalent with vSphere5. Looks pretty impressive doesn’t?
Let’s add some perspective to this comparison…
Microsoft has a great marketing department that can be rated second to none. Microsoft is well known for marketing the new technology that “will be coming” with any new product they release. Microsoft’s marketing plan has backfired on them before and has had to back pedal when announced features did not make the general release.
This is comparing apples to oranges in my opinion. vSphere 5 has been released for just under six months, at the time of this writing, and has already had updates released. It is a very stable release that is full of advanced features to help create a complete infrastructure. Hyper-V 3 has not been released yet and is not expected until around October or Fall 2012 and that is if Hyper-V3 makes the release date without getting pushed back at all. There will not be a complete list of features and advancements until the change lock on any code changes are put in place for the general release. A lot can change over the next six to nine months and only time.
I get the feeling that Microsoft really wants to go head to head with VMware for the Enterprise, but is developing specific features that are really geared towards the SMB marketplace. The Storage Migration feature with Hyper-V does not require shared storage to work and this really makes me think that Microsoft may really start to keep their eye on the SMB market place. Although VMware has presented this ability via the VMware Storage Appliance (VSA) so you cannot really consider this something new on Microsoft’s side.
There are a couple of really good things that will come from Microsoft advancement in the Virtualization/Cloud space. Microsoft has focused on keeping the costs of Hyper-V to be relatively low in comparison to like featured versions from VMware. This big difference in price might push VMware to reconsider its pricing in general. What changes they will make, remains to be seen. If I were to take a guess I would think VMware would concentrate on development and release of new products that VMware can license separately. This would leave VMware in a position to match Microsoft somewhat in price schedule and still seek a premium on the advanced technology that Microsoft does not have yet.
There is a large amount of support for VMware in the way of 3rd party application and I am just not quite seeing the same support level for Microsoft as of yet. Things are really starting to change in that aspect as companies like Veeam are making the push to support both VMware and Microsoft. As more and more 3rd party products become available for Hyper-V, this should really help Microsoft in gaining a stronger foothold.
There are a lot of things, like hot-add CPU, that keeps VMware a few leaps ahead of Microsoft but Microsoft is closing the gap. The gap is not closing as fast as the Microsoft Marketing team would like you to believe but then again, why in the world are we comparing a six month old product with one that has not even been released yet? Well, that is because of the way the Microsoft Marketing Team rolls. The bottom line is that by the time Hyper-V3 gets released you have to really wonder how much longer it will be before vSphere6 will be released?
Microsoft is doing great things but, in my opinion, still have a pretty big gap to close. When you really look from a high altitude, to see the total infrastructure view within all the products, it is still quite clear who is still the current undefeated virtual champion.