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

Server Grunt

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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


  • 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)?


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


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




Hope that this forum can shed some light




Edited by Server Grunt
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  • jmwills


  • ikon


  • Server Grunt


Guest no-control

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.



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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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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)


  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"?



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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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