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Server Grunt

Hyper-V vs VMWare - What Virtualization platform for me to use?

68 posts in this topic

Hi,

 

Having now decided on my server build and ordered the parts (see my concluding answer at http://homeserversho...ild-re-visited/)

and I am now busy with figuring out the virtualization alternatives.

 

Being a beginner at virtualization, I have been looking around the net and trying to get the picture on which way is the best to go, but not really coming up with a non-commercial (written by VM or Microsoft affiliates) "comprehendible, match by match and focused on why to use either or system as a start for Virtualization" -analysis on the pros and cons of VMware and Hyper-V.

Original intention to run a one box virtual environment using Server 2008 R2 as host (and it would also manage my home NW environment, group policies etc.).

 

Guests would include:

  • WHS2011 production server storage/back-up, video streaming
  • 2xW7 Production PC
  • WHS 2011 test server
  • W7 test pc
  • W8 test pc

Usage/tasks:

  • WHS for storage and back up
  • W7 for work
  • W7 and/or WHS for media management (TV- streaming/video & music; encoding, trans coding), photo editing etc

As you see the virtual clients need access to hardware, including PCI and USB for this to work properly

 

In short - When is either to prefer, why should I choose on or the other for my home virtual box etc and

based on my use case and need to let the clients have access to at least PCI ( I can live without USB back-up), should I go with:

  • Continue with original plan (2008 R2 + Hyper V)?

or

  • Run VMware as host for everything, including Server 2008 R2?

or

  • Use both VMware – as briefly described on tinkertry.com?

And

Why?

 

Hope that this forum can shed some light

 

Br,

Grunt

Edited by Server Grunt

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Do you already have the equipment? VMWare is VERY particular about he hardware requirements.

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In short.

 

Hyper-v will be the easiest and most compatible with the guest VMs you want to run. depending on how complicated your networking portion is Hyper-V may have a steep learning curve.

VMware (ESXi) is going to be the most flexible with what you can do with it overall. It is very picky about the bare metal hardware it sits on though. I also find its interface rather....lacking. this may be my Microsoft o/s experience/preference showing through.

 

Using both Hyper-V on top of ESXi is going to be an order of magnitude more difficult to setup and manage. I would not suggest this without having extensive knowledge of BOTH platforms first.

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I agree with no-control. I have tried both and can tell you for all the tasks you have listed except for the production W7 will work fine on Hyper-V. The issue with Hyper-V that I have had have been in USB support. ESXi is very flexible and I had not issues with the hardware I used but the learning is much greater. Take a look at the write up I did.

 

http://thedocsworld.net/esxi-venture-part-1/

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Both are relatively on the same level now, as Doc said, ESXi does pass thru USB devices whihc will help WHS 2011 in the backup scheme. It mainly depends on what you feel comfortable with. ESXi will give you more available resources for the clients and you can run ESXi from a thumb drive whereas you cannot do Server 2008.

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All windows guest OSs - use HyperV.

 

I manage adminsitors of ESXi at work for military, including HyperV on ESXi (and do some admin myself when necessary and my managment skills have failed me) but HyperV at home. Why? See sentence 1. NoControl has written some good info on this site, and could certainly have gone into more detail but it is as he says. There are also some posts on using a workstation OS (i.e. Win7) as host and a virtualization platform on top of that. Unless this is a purely test WHS install, you do not want to go that route.

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and do some admin myself when necessary and my managment skills have failed me

 

I thought management skills in the military consisted of, "do it, or else!" :) j/k (I'm ex-military myself so I understand the meaning of leadership.)

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or as the DI in PI told me. (&*^$%*)*&%@@%*)(*&&^%$^^%%$@!!^( your butt all the way to Hollywood!

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Guys! As always the community spirit here is on an unbelievable high level and your competence and insights are incredible!

Overall: From your answers i gather

If only Microsoft OS in clients go with Microsoft based host, e.g. Hyper-V- but USB bsck-up could be problematic

@jmwillis: Yes, HW ordered and on its way, se my HW list here: http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/3249-crowd-sources-server-build-re-visited/page__p__35797#entry35797

But having looked at tinkertry and on talking to ASRock, the MB, CPU, RAM should work with VMWare - Rocket raid card I am more unsure of.

@No-control: I guessed that running a hypervisor in another hypervisor would be VERY complicted...

@Pcdoc: Thanks, I will look at your recommended link

@ikon: Well, the choice of a hypervisor instead of for example W7-virtualization features, is simpy the more powerful options and flexibility (also a great portion of my "Geek-desire" to learn :-D)

Questions:

  1. With Hyper-V USB back-up could be problematic, but I have read somewhere that RDP could help with USB, or is this wrong?
  2. In general ESXI and Hyper-V, with a few notable exceptions, have similar capabilities and functions - BUT what are these and how do they actually impact?
  3. In what way is the ESXI UI "lacking" compared to Hyper-V?
  4. Then something I am a little puzzled about - can I run ESXI on Server 2008 R2, or must I run it "bare bone"?

 

/Grunt

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I just installed my first Rocket Raid card (2720) and I am very pleased. Easy installation, great UI, and FAST!

 

ESXi is Bare Bones. You install the OS and then download the management piece (VSphere) from the server you just built via its IP Address. The VSphere piece will run from any client on your LAN. The UI for ESXi is very clean and easy to use if you have used VMWare workstation in the past.

 

Hyper V can also be bare bones but I think I have only heard of one person doing that. ESXi saves resources because of the minimal install; an 8 gig USB stick will do just fine.

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or as the DI in PI told me. (&*^$%*)*&%@@%*)(*&&^%$^^%%$@!!^( your butt all the way to Hollywood!

 

How rude! My DI's were always polite and curteous, and always said, "Please" and "Thank you".................... NOT!

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@Jmwills: Thanks the sytem size is not a factor as I am planning to have 4x240GB SSD runing in a 2X2 Raid1 configuration - on pair for the Host OS and one for the Clients - But from what you are telling me - In a ESXI-case, I could use a usb 3.0 stick in the back and the 4 SSD for clients etc.

 

@A: llHave I gotten it right that you can not run Server 2008 R2 as virtual client in ESXI , or did i missundersttod that comment?

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You are right about the USB drive, however, natively ESXi will only see those 2TB drives as individual drives unless you can RAID in the BIOS and I still think its a no go. The bext option form what I know woudl be to use iSCSI as TinkerGuy did.

 

That is my weekend project.

 

Absolutley you can runn 2008R2 as a ESXi client. If ESXi can see the installer info, it will run. A best practice might be to deciate a small HDD to hold iso images for local installs. Just a thought and this would be a deciated datastore for software.

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OK - I have looked at tinkerguys blog and red there and on thelinked forums.

 

This 2TB limit will makes things very complicated as I plan to run 15x3TB SATA raid 5 for storage and 2X1TB SATA raid 1 for test systems - that will be controleld through the rocek raid card.

Having looked at the set up of RDM - well let's say that i would requiere a lot of help on that one for a smooth transition...and Iscsi well it seems sort of not utilizing the hw that i have planned - Or am I missing the point.....?

 

Also, I am still not fully clear on:

ESXI and Hyper-V, with a few notable exceptions, have similar capabilities and functions - BUT what are these and how do they actually impact(-s) on my use case? For exaple as I understand it Hyper-V enables dynamic memory allocation, something that ESXI does not.

 

Would hyper-V allow client access to PCI (for the GPU)?

 

/grunt

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You should be able to present the array as one volume to the server, i.e., 34 TB or so. I am in the process of trying to attach a 10TB iSCSI array to mine, so I'll keep you updated as well.

 

Someone addressed Dynamic Memory in the forums a few months ago, and to the best of my knowledge, did not have much success.

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Ok, so with "normal" precidings I should be able to add the whole Raid as a volume with out RDM or ISCSI, or?

 

Also, according to some posts ESXI 5 should have removed the 2TB problem - or is this not valid?

 

 

 

I must seem thick - but this is really not clear to me at the moment

 

/Grunt

Edited by Server Grunt

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http://www.techhead....with-vmware-esx

 

http://www.techhead....-storage-target

 

Hopefully, these will help. The more I read about this subject, the more I get confused too. You get present however large an array you want to, however it deos appear that 2TB is the limit of the "volume". So in a 10TB usable array, you could have 5x2TB volumes.

 

Maybe someone else can chime in.

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Dynamic memory only works with some OS's in a VM. For instance, it works with W7 but it doesn't work with WHS2011.

 

Also, why does people think running off a thumb drive is an advantage. Cool, yes; advantage, I don't see it.

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Running from a thumb drive frees up a bay, like in the N40L Microserver. You can now dedicate the four bays to storage, instead of allocating one to the OS, when in the case of ESXi can run from an 8 gig flash drive.

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Hi, after the first few rounds of questions and answers, I have gotten the following understanding, which to some smaller or larger degree might be wrong – so please correct me

However there are still some unaswered questions (at end) that I have, in addition to any misunderstanding in the first section.

 

Platform requirements

  • Hardware
  • Hyper-V: Runs on almost anything
  • VMWare: Picky and one need to check
  • My conclusion: My HW is very close to the one used by Tinkerguy, so any platform should work

Client HW direct access

  • Hyper-V: NO (although pass through of storage, including USB). However, there is some sort of access through RemoteFX - but I am still trying to figure this one out fully.
  • VMWare: USB storage: OK; PCI direct access: unknown
  • My conclusion: USB direct access for back-up could be useful in the long term, but the real important one is PCI-direct access.

Storage limits

  • Hyper-V: unknown, so far
  • VMWare: 2tb limit on HDD?, but RAID (one volume) can be any size. However 2YB limit can be partly circumvented by ISCSI or RDM
  • My conclusion: VMWare is more complicated to set up

Hypervisor installed size:

  • Not an issue – but VMware small size – load on thumb drive – does open up interesting possibilities for this and my old WHS v1 box (if the old atom board is compatible)

Client OS

  • Hyper-v will be the easiest and most compatible with the guest VMs (see initial post)

 

Outstanding Questions

  • If one is used to Windows environment, ESXI has a farly steep learning curve but how steep??

  • How complicated your networking portion is Hyper-V may have a steep learning curve.
  • How is the general logic/structure of tools/menus differ?
  • With Hyper-V USB back-up could be problematic, but I have read somewhere that RDP could help with USB, or is this wrong?
  • Can I run ESXI on Server 2008 R2 instead of Hyper-V, or must I run it "bare bone"?
  • Direct backup of entire drive in ESXI (as in Hyper-V), is it doable?
  • “VMs safe state” at back-up in Hyper-V. Is there anything like it in ESXI?
  • ESXI goes into power saving mode that shut sdown VMs– is this a solvable problem?

Edited by Server Grunt

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Clarification on a few of your findings.

Hardware - You will want to run either platform on relatively recent and powerful hardware. More RAM is good. Make sure the hardware CPU/mobo is VM capable. run on anything is really a valid statement. You want it to run well.

 

HW access - Hyper-V allows direct access to SATA ports and GPUs. ESXi allows pass through of PCI and USB

 

Storage limits - Hyper-V .vhd are limited to the 2TB limit as well. But with pass through you can attached large arrays without issue

 

Outstanding questions

  1. Depends on how well you can navigate and learn a different GUI and relate to language to what you're already familiar with. some people can move seemlessly between windows, linix and OSx....some can't. Being that you aren't familiar with Hypervisors in general the curve will steep regardless. One feels like windows the other feels like a web page
  2. Correct but if all you need is for it to sit on an existing network it's fairly easy. If you are going to try and run multile networks inside a single hypervisor then it helps to have a basic understanding of how it parses out the physical from the virtual
  3. Most Hypervisors are the same in general its the details that differ
  4. for USB back up in Hyper-v all you do is attach the stroage as another SCSI controller and present it to the guest via passthrough. It works fine that way.
  5. No it must run baremetal
  6. no idea never tried sorry
  7. No, but again I haven't used VMware in over 2 years
  8. I'm pretty sure there is a setting for that.

Edited by no-control

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Hi, after the first few rounds of questions and answers, I have gotten the following understanding, which to some smaller or larger degree might be wrong – so please correct me

However there are still some unaswered questions (at end) that I have, in addition to any misunderstanding in the first section.

 

Platform requirements

  • Hardware
  • Hyper-V: Runs on almost anything
  • VMWare: Picky and one need to check
  • My conclusion: My HW is very close to the one used by Tinkerguy, so any platform should work

Client HW direct access

  • Hyper-V: NO (although pass through of storage, including USB). However, there is some sort of access through RemoteFX - but I am still trying to figure this one out fully.
  • VMWare: USB storage: OK; PCI direct access: unknown
  • My conclusion: USB direct access for back-up could be useful in the long term, but the real important one is PCI-direct access.

Storage limits

  • Hyper-V: unknown, so far
  • VMWare: 2tb limit on HDD?, but RAID (one volume) can be any size. However 2YB limit can be partly circumvented by ISCSI or RDM
  • My conclusion: VMWare is more complicated to set up

Hypervisor installed size:

  • Not an issue – but VMware small size – load on thumb drive – does open up interesting possibilities for this and my old WHS v1 box (if the old atom board is compatible)

Client OS

  • Hyper-v will be the easiest and most compatible with the guest VMs (see initial post)

Outstanding Questions

  • If one is used to Windows environment, ESXI has a farly steep learning curve but how steep??

  • How complicated your networking portion is Hyper-V may have a steep learning curve.
  • How is the general logic/structure of tools/menus differ?
  • With Hyper-V USB back-up could be problematic, but I have read somewhere that RDP could help with USB, or is this wrong?
  • Can I run ESXI on Server 2008 R2 instead of Hyper-V, or must I run it "bare bone"?
  • Direct backup of entire drive in ESXI (as in Hyper-V), is it doable?
  • “VMs safe state” at back-up in Hyper-V. Is there anything like it in ESXI?
  • ESXI goes into power saving mode that shut sdown VMs– is this a solvable problem?

 

1. The "basic" setup is pretty straight forward. Beyond that is gets a bit crazy. Not so much that it is hard but rather very confusing. Especially with the variety of add-ons or utilities. There are also a bunch of settings. You will get there but I would say it is about 5-10x more complicated to setup than Hyper-V.

2. There is too many to list. there are very different.

3. If backup is you only concern, there are work arounds for that . IP to USB, eSata, NAS.

4. Nope. Barebones but since it boots from a USB stick you can easily setup in a test enviorment.

5. Not without an expensive third party backup. You can backup the VM however.

6. ?

7. Absolutely, power settings are both VM and server based (different settings of course)

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I must confess that the differences between pass through and direct access are unclear, I.e. what does thy men in practice for USB devices (hdd, cameras, mouse, keyboard, card readers etc., PCI-cards ( raid controllers, graphics cards etc.) and GPU performance?

 

Also, as I understand from various reeds, there is a ideal set up to have a 1:1 ratio between NIC and VMs. However, is it better if these are physical NICs or not? My Mobo has two NICs - should I get a server card like the HP NC375T PCI Express Quad Port Gigabit Server Adapter or?

 

/Grunt

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Passthrough and direct access mean the same thing.

 

The 1:1 NIC to VM is for novices to keep it simple. This is fine if you have a nice big switch. The whole point of VM is to virtualize. This includes the network. I Have had anywhere from 1-4 NICs in my VM box, depending on the project. I'm back down to using just a single NIC for my VMs. My Preference is a 1:1 ratio of NIC to Networks.

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Passthrough and direct access mean the same thing.

 

The 1:1 NIC to VM is for novices to keep it simple. This is fine if you have a nice big switch. The whole point of VM is to virtualize. This includes the network. I Have had anywhere from 1-4 NICs in my VM box, depending on the project. I'm back down to using just a single NIC for my VMs. My Preference is a 1:1 ratio of NIC to Networks.

 

That said, more physical NICs in a VM box will improve overall network performance to the VM box, will it not?

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