Why Hyper-V does not mean the end of VMware – but at last it provides some competition for ESX

This content is 16 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

Microsoft has been very careful in its statements about comparing Hyper-V with ESX. Jason Perlow’s Hyper-V review is a little more forthright and the graphics are great!

I don’t think that VMware is the new Netscape (although it seems IDC might think so) – they will be back with bigger and better things, and then Microsoft will push forward again in the next release of Hyper-V. Even so, all of a sudden, this is a two horse race, and VMware will start to see their market share decline.

And to all those who are comparing Hyper-V with VMware Virtual Infrastructure – get real – that’s not comparing apples with apples. More realistic comparisons are:

  • Hyper-V and ESX.
  • Hyper-V Server (not yet released) and ESXi.
  • Virtual Infrastucture and Hyper-V plus various System Center components.

As for the argument that it’s all about TCO, I’ll leave that to the vendors and analysts to go into the detail but, from a simplistic view, Hyper-V and System Center are much less expensive to purchase than Virtual Infrastructure 3, the technical skills required for support are less specialised (read less expensive) and I find it hard to see how a broad management suite like Microsoft System Center is more expensive to run than a virtualisation-only management product like VMware Virtual Center together with the other products that will be required to manage the workload itself.

Critics say that virtualisation is about more than just the hypervisor and that management is important (it certainly is), then they deride Hyper-V (which is really just a hypervisor and basic management tools) by comparing it to virtual infrastructure’s management features. Their next argument is typically that Hyper-V won’t support desktop virtualisation and, from what I’ve seen, Microsoft is pretty much there on a credible solution for that too – as well as profile, presentation and application virtualisation, with partners like Citrix, Quest and AppSense filling in the gaps.

It’s not all over for VMware but they do need to find a new business model. Quickly.

2 thoughts on “Why Hyper-V does not mean the end of VMware – but at last it provides some competition for ESX

  1. Since ESXi is free, and Hyper-V is (nearly) free–but you have to pay for Windows Server 2008, it seems to me that the VMware solution is still more cost-effective.

  2. @Carole – If your virtualisation workload includes Windows servers then you will still need to buy Windows licenses – even if you run ESXi as the hypervisor; however the real costs in a virtualisation solution relate to its management and operation. If you are using the same management tools for your virtual and physical infrastructure and your administrators are the same team of Windows admins that operate the rest of the Windows Server estate, then it stands to reason that your management costs are likely to be lower with the Microsoft solution.

    Finally, it’s my understanding that ESXi is a cut-down version of ESX and that for the full enterprise functionality you’ll need ESX, which is certainly not anywhere near free.

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