Hyper-V vs vSphere: Which server virtualization software does your business need?

Hyper-V vs vSphere: Which server virtualization software does your business need?

Most businesses utilize some form of virtualization in their systems to deliver more optimized and efficient workflows. In fact, experts predict that virtualization will take 98% of all IT expenditure by 2020. But what exactly is virtualization?

To “virtualize” something is to create a computer-generated simulation — not an actual — version of it. For example, if you have a Mac, you can run a virtualized version of Windows on your computer. However, instead of being an actual operating system, that version instead will run on Apple’s OS X as if it were an app (that lets you use Microsoft-exclusive apps).

Beyond an operating system, you can also virtualize entire computers. For example, instead of having one server for your email and another for your database, it’s more efficient to have just one and let it contain a virtualized version of the other. This way, you can share one pool of resources and adjust it as needs shift over time.

Businesses of all sizes virtualize their servers to allocate specific resources to certain workloads. To achieve this, they need a server virtualization software, and two of the most widely used and most trusted are Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware vSphere. Both are very capable software, and choosing the better fit to your company depends on several factors.

1. Product maturity

The VMware line (released in 1998) is older than Hyper-V (released in 2002). Because it was introduced to the market earlier, it has had more time to grow and develop than the latter. There are also more product offerings from VMware with varying features depending on your virtualization needs. The extensive capabilities and breadth of product line come as no surprise, since VMware is a company that specializes in virtual machines, while Hyper-V is developed by IT conglomerate giant Microsoft. But while Hyper-V has some catching up to do with market leader VMware, this doesn’t mean that you can easily dismiss the former. Beyond its virtualization capabilities, Hyper-V offers other benefits, like zero maintenance downtime and effortless backup.

2. Pricing

This one is a bit tricky. If you’re only getting the core hypervisor, vSphere costs less than Hyper-V. VMware also has more product options, so you can choose the one that suits your budget. But if you’re going to add the cost of operating licences and management servers, Hyper-V may cost less. This is especially the case if you’re running Windows, since Hyper-V was made to be a hypervisor for Windows servers and needs fewer software to ensure that it will run smoothly. Meanwhile, vSphere can run without a hitch in any OS, but to achieve this compatibility, you need to purchase other software, which can quickly diminish your initial savings or make you spend more than you would with Hyper-V.

3. Learning curve

Hyper-V is the less complex and more intuitive of the two. If you don’t have an in-house virtualization expert, go with Hyper-V. vSphere, on the other hand, has more features, so it’s more difficult to master. Your in-house IT might not be able to utilize the best out of vSphere if they’re not experts on virtualization, so if you want to maximize all of its features, it’s best to work with a third-party provider that specializes in vSphere.

The low down

vSphere has the lion’s share of the market, because it was introduced first. But while Hyper-V still has a long way to go before it catches up to its predecessor, it is in itself quite powerful. And for some businesses, it’s just the perfect fit. Ultimately, the choice boils down to your business needs, software, in-house or outsourced IT support, budget, and end-user preferences.

Do you need further help in finding the right server virtualization software for your company? Quicktech can help you with that, and with just about any IT concern. We’re your reliable IT expert in Vancouver. Get in touch with us today.