It Is Time To Expand The Virtual Playing Field

It is time to expand the virtual playing field. Since the release of both Hyper-V 2012 and vSphere 5.1, there have been an abundant amount of posts comparing the two hypervisors in a head to head fashion.  All the different charts, graphs, and tables point to the fact that when comparing maximum values head to head. This has been the way the two different hypervisors have been compared against each other all along and Microsoft and VMware have gotten to the point where things are pretty much even across the board. It was just a matter of time until we got to this point where Hyper-V catches up with vSphere and now that we have, I believe we need to change the scope of the comparisons beyond the maximum values.  After all, how many people actually get anywhere close to those maximums deployed in your production environments?  “Just because you can do something, does not mean you should.”

Along with the release of the latest version of the competing hypervisors, VMware also announced the new licensing model moving away from vSphere, forward to the vCloud suite. For this comparison, I want to move away from just the hypervisor itself and look at other features that are available for each of the platforms and make up the infrastructures.


VMware is moving past just vSphere licensing and is moving forward into the VMware vCloud Suite. This suite is broken down into three versions: Standard, Advanced and Enterprise versions. For this comparison, I am going to reference the Enterprise version to compare full functionality of the entire vCloud Suite, which can be broken down as follows:

Cloud Infrastructure

  • vSphere
  • vCloud Networking and Security
  • vCloud Director
  • vCloud Connector
  • vCenter Site Recovery Manager
  • vCenter Orchestrator

Cloud Service Provisioning

  • vCloud Automation Center
  • vFabric Application Director

Cloud Operations Management

  • vCenter Operations Management Suite

Cloud Business Management

  • vCenter Chargeback Manager


System Center 2012 comes in Standard and Datacenter editions.  There is no functionality difference between the edition and I will list all the technologies that make up Microsoft’s cloud offering. Here are the system Center 2012 Cloud Components:

Cloud Infrastructure

  • Data Protection Manager
  • Virtual Machine Manager
  • Endpoint Protection
  • Orchestrator

Cloud Service Provisioning

  • Configuration Manager

Cloud Operations Management

  • Operations Manager
  • App Controller

Cloud Business Management

  • Service Manager


The time has come to move away from just comparing the hypervisors.  Hypervisors are becoming a commodity item in itself and to really be able to measure value of the platforms we need to start looking at the entire stack.  When listing things out Microsoft and VMware’s private cloud stacks are running neck and neck, just like the hypervisors themselves.

There are two specific areas that, in my opinion, VMware is still way ahead of Microsoft in, at the moment.


Microsoft has not been able to present anything to really compete with the automation that VMware has built into its environment.  VMware really shines when it comes to automation with Orchestrator, vCloud Direct, Autodeploy, DRS, and Storage DRS.  The question is, how far ahead will VMware pull away before Microsoft  catch up and can present a real challenge in the world of automation?


VMware is ahead of the game in software defined networking.  It needs to be noted that VMware’s path going forward is in a current state of flux with VMware’s purchase of Nicira, which puts VMware in direct competition with one of its VCE partners Cisco.  I think in the long run this “competition “ will drive innovation and could continue to leave VMware way ahead of the pack with virtual networking.  One thing Microsoft really has going for it in this area is, its partner network and the innovation that comes from that direction.

I really give Microsoft credit on advancements they have made with Hyper-V. They have made great strides in a short amount of time and really show you that when Microsoft puts their mind to it there is really no technology it cannot compete in, but there are some details Microsoft is missing or still weak.

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