5 May 2016

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Microsoft Hyper-V Performance and Cloud Hosting: Pros and Cons

Business Phone Service by Tom Collins

The majority of organizations are now using virtualization in some capacity. Creating virtual versions of your operating system, data storage, and applications can offer key advantages, including the ability to scale quickly and achieve efficiency.

In order to achieve either full or partial virtualization using a public or private cloud, organizations need a hypervisor, which is defined as a thin layer of software that decouples the machines and allocates resources on a dynamic basis. Your hypervisor can have a significant impact on your satisfaction and success with virtualization, due to the fact it will act as your administrator's interface with virtual machines (VMs) for the purpose of resource allocation and configuration.

Microsoft's Hyper-V is a relatively new option for hypervisor tools, but it's quickly become one of the most popular options. In this blog post, you'll learn some of the pros, cons, and consideration factors associated with this hypervisor tool, so you can determine whether or not it's right for you.

Microsoft Hyper-V

MS Hyper-V is a hypervisor in Windows Server that allows administrators to create a virtualized environment to create and manage virtual machines. This allows admins to use multiple operating systems on a single physical computer, which are all completely isolated. Microsoft reports that Hyper-V's three-year growth is four times higher than VMware's, and the tool remains a popular option for a variety of virtualization goals that include:

  • Hypervisor Migrations
  • Physical to Virtual Migrations
  • Private Cloud
  • Public Cloud
  • Hybrid Cloud

Hyper-V is also a slightly lower-cost alternative to VMware's vSphere, with similar functionality and extensive options for custom allocation of resources on a per–operating system basis.

Hyper-V Pros

  • Cheaper than VMware
  • Allows users to easily run a lot of VMs at one time with dynamic memory management
  • Maintenance does not result in downtime
  • Simple live migrations
  • Easy backups
  • Comprehensive security through Active Directory

Hyper-V Cons

  • One user reports that interacting with the host operating system was more challenging than using VSphere
  • Reported poor support for Linux operating systems
  • Requires all VMs to be taken offline for a reboot during routine security updates to OS
  • Some users do not like the extremely minimalist administrator interface

Hyper-V Costs

Hyper-V costs can vary slightly, depending on the number of operating system environments (OSEs) supported through virtualization. Licensing for Hyper-V ranges from free to $3,607, though organizations can pay significantly more to cover various aspects of management.

Is Microsoft Hyper-V Right for Me? Things to Consider

1. Security

Security and access governance are managed through Windows Active Directory. However, Hyper-V's "microkernalized design" offers some inherent security advantages. Since Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are not provided to access the "Hypervisor Layer," the attack surface is minimized. However, organizations who prefer a hypervisor product with built-in security features may not care for managing security through Active Directory.

For an in-depth guide to Hyper-V security factors and best practices, we recommend Security Guide for Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012.

2. Redundancy

A primary benefit of Hyper-V is the Replica feature, which makes "replication of servers across a WAN or secure VPN easy" for clients of any size using the product. When coupled with comprehensive business continuity planning, these built-in redundancy features can mitigate risk. The benefits of Hyper-V's redundancy can depend on your organization's existing redundancy measures.

To learn how Hyper-V's Replica works, check out Use Failover Cluster and Hyper-V.

3. Budget

Hyper-V is often cheaper than VSphere by VMware, with the possible exception of organizations who elect for the most minimal VMware purchases. However, the pricing model of Hyper-V offers less flexibility for organizations to purchase on a by-need basis.

You can check out a full pricing breakdown of Hyper-V at VMware or Hyper-V? Virtualization Licensing Costs.

4. Windows Adoption

Hyper-V has built-in familiarity with Windows, making it an intuitive choice for organizations that are hoping to virtualize an existing Windows workload. The fact that it is a Windows product can offer advantages for administrators with existing experience with Active Directory and other complementary products.

5. Scalability Needs

Hyper-V allows organizations the benefit of unlimited virtualization. In contrast, VMware solutions charge for product upgrades. Depending on your growth goals and budget, this factor can offer either advantages or disadvantages.

For the full technical specs of Hyper-V, we recommend Hyper-V Scalability in Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 RS.

6. Performance

Previously, VMware was thought to be the best solution for large-scale enterprises or other companies with advanced virtualization needs. However, Hyper-V has successfully challenged this assumption, offering high-powered performance at a price most organizations can afford.

In InfoWorld's side-by-side performance tests, the Sandra 2013 benchmarking tool was used to determine basic performance metrics "from a single VM running Windows 7 SP1... configured to have 2GB memory and two virtual CPUs." The partial results of the test, in which Hyper-V's performance exceed VMware, are displayed below:

  Hyper-V 2012 vSphere 5.1
Cryptographic bandwidth (MBps) 597 378
Dhrystone integer (GIPS) 16.86 12.21
Whetstone double (GFLOPS) 13.25 6.89
Intercore bandwidth (GBps) 1.44 1.12

 

For an in-depth overview of critical performance factors, read Virtualization Showdown: Microsoft Hyper-V 2012 vs. VMware vSphere 5.1.

Microsoft Hyper-V – The Performance You Need?

Microsoft Hyper-V is a strong hypervisor choice for organizations that are considering a change in hypervisor tools, a migration to hybrid cloud, or any number of other virtualization solutions. If you are hoping for a tool with built-in Windows familiarity, this can be a particularly strong choice.

Selecting the right hypervisor solution can be an overwhelming choice, even for IT professionals with extensive product knowledge and virtualization experience. To learn more about how available solutions mesh with your requirements and goals, contact an Atlantech representative today for more insight.





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t-tom-collins

About the author:

Tom Collins (Twitter, LinkedIn) - is the Director of Enterprise Sales & Marketing for Atlantech Online. He has over 20 years of professional experience in the Internet Service Provider industry and is known for translating technology into positive results for business. A native of Washington, DC, a graduate from University of Maryland (degrees in Government & Politics and Secondary Education), Tom is also a five-time Ironman finisher.

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