Hypervisor, hypervisor - who's got the best hypervisor?



  • OK since this topic was thrown up, here's my question.

    Should I got Hyper-V or XenServer?

    Currently I have:
    VMWare Essentials 5.5
    ___ VM1 - AD/spiceworks
    ___ VM2 - WSUS
    ___ VM3 - Exchange
    ___ VM4 - accounting (windows)
    ___ VM5 - vCenter

    VMWare Essentials 5.5
    ___ VM1 - AD/DNS/DHCP/File/Print
    ___ VM2 - backup server (Windows)
    ___ VM3 - PBX add-on (Windows)

    Windows 2003 R2 (650 GB used) (can't ever retire - this is basically a read only system)
    ___ IIS for EHR application

    Windows 2008 R2 (100 GB used)
    ___ SQL for EHR application

    Windows 2003 R2 (25 GB used)
    ____ file server User directories (ug)

    Current plan is to migrate everything off the VMWare host that has fewer things on it, then rebuilt it with a new hypervisor.

    Then using that hypervisor P2V the Windows 2003 R2 EHR IIS server
    Then install and consolidate the SQL DB onto this same server

    • They don't need to be separate for performance anymore (perhaps ever - I didn't design)

    Then move hardware around between the two old EHR servers and install another new VM host (same as above).

    Then V2V the VMs off the remaining ESXi host

    Then rebuild that ESXi host to the hypervisor of choice

    Then migrate user drives off the 2003 R2 server (man that is going to suck - high risk considering the changes to the GPOs and user profiles required)

    Oh - I use Dell Appassure's Replay for backups, it does not have a XenServer client - but can backup/restore as if on bare metal (AKA agent based).

    So, with that plan in mind - Which hypervisor seems better suited?
    Do you see a better upgrade/migration path for me?



  • You have a lot of Windows, it may be easier to manage if you maintain the same stack. Not saying XenServer is hard or anything, I actually find it easier, but Hyper-V is very capable and you already have the Windows Infrastructure in place to support it.


  • Service Provider

    What's the issue with VMware? Cost? Or something else?


  • Service Provider

    @coliver said:

    You have a lot of Windows, it may be easier to manage if you maintain the same stack. Not saying XenServer is hard or anything, I actually find it easier, but Hyper-V is very capable and you already have the Windows Infrastructure in place to support it.

    Hyper-V is the hardest to use regardless of stack, IMHO. Not sure when it would be chosen based on ease of use. If you are an all Windows shop and wanted ease of use, I think XenServer still wins.


  • Service Provider

    @art_of_shred said:

    What's the issue with VMware? Cost? Or something else?

    Cost and lack of features. Just doesn't stack up to the other three all of which are free and loaded with features lacking in any potentially affordable Vmware license.



  • @art_of_shred said:

    What's the issue with VMware? Cost? Or something else?

    Yep - only cost. There is on point in paying for a hypervisor when it brings nothing else to the table in my situation.


  • Service Provider

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @coliver said:

    You have a lot of Windows, it may be easier to manage if you maintain the same stack. Not saying XenServer is hard or anything, I actually find it easier, but Hyper-V is very capable and you already have the Windows Infrastructure in place to support it.

    Hyper-V is the hardest to use regardless of stack, IMHO. Not sure when it would be chosen based on ease of use. If you are an all Windows shop and wanted ease of use, I think XenServer still wins.

    Hyper-V is hard to use? News to me.


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    From a performance standpoint, KVM is the king here for an all Windows workload. XenServer is the winner for ease of use and community support. Hyper-V is good for some edge features and middle of the road windows performance.

    Performance in the SMB is misleading as it just doesn't matter in the small numbers that these things differ.


  • Service Provider

    @JaredBusch said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @coliver said:

    You have a lot of Windows, it may be easier to manage if you maintain the same stack. Not saying XenServer is hard or anything, I actually find it easier, but Hyper-V is very capable and you already have the Windows Infrastructure in place to support it.

    Hyper-V is the hardest to use regardless of stack, IMHO. Not sure when it would be chosen based on ease of use. If you are an all Windows shop and wanted ease of use, I think XenServer still wins.

    Hyper-V is hard to use? News to me.

    Only in comparison.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender I would use Hyper-V for the 3rd party tools. XenServer if I had all the time in the world to do everything myself.


  • Service Provider

    @JaredBusch said:

    @Dashrender I would use Hyper-V for the 3rd party tools. XenServer if I had all the time in the world to do everything myself.

    What kinds of things do you need to do yourself in XenServer? it has a great third party tooling ecosystem too. Just most of it is free rather than much of it being pay only.



  • Before I answer, what features are you currently lacking from VMware? Is there something that you're needing that you just can't get with VMware or is this cost justifiable?



  • @DustinB3403 said:

    Before I answer, what features are you currently lacking from VMware? Is there something that you're needing that you just can't get with VMware or is this cost justifiable?

    It generally boils down to cost justification.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @coliver said:

    You have a lot of Windows, it may be easier to manage if you maintain the same stack. Not saying XenServer is hard or anything, I actually find it easier, but Hyper-V is very capable and you already have the Windows Infrastructure in place to support it.

    Hyper-V is the hardest to use regardless of stack, IMHO. Not sure when it would be chosen based on ease of use. If you are an all Windows shop and wanted ease of use, I think XenServer still wins.

    I'm not sure about that. An all Windows shop and ease of use may go to Hyper-V. I haven't managed XenServer in production so I'm not sure but Hyper-V is super simple, almost as simple as XenServer, it does also have API hooks for software like Unitrends and Veeam if @Dashrender uses either of those applications.



  • @DustinB3403 said:

    Before I answer, what features are you currently lacking from VMware? Is there something that you're needing that you just can't get with VMware or is this cost justifiable?

    Is what cost justifiable?

    If you're talking about the conversion cost (mostly in my time), then yes I'd say it's justifiable so I get away from bad investments, i.e. paying for updates to ESXi Essentials. (damn I forget the phrase that Scott always uses).

    Beyond that - no I am lacking no features/functions that I want.



  • @dafyre but it doesn't cost to keep what he has. Assuming he drops all support from VMWare.

    It does cost to tear down and rebuild the infrastructure though.

    I'm a huge fan of Xen, so I would happily say, Yeah Xen absolutely, but was looking for a justification before jumping on it :P


  • Service Provider

    @dafyre said:

    @DustinB3403 said:

    Before I answer, what features are you currently lacking from VMware? Is there something that you're needing that you just can't get with VMware or is this cost justifiable?

    It generally boils down to cost justification.

    Especially since essentially all features are available in Vmware... for a price. So even if you state that it is features, it would still be cost because with enough money you could have that feature with rare exception.



  • @Dashrender said:

    @DustinB3403 said:

    Before I answer, what features are you currently lacking from VMware? Is there something that you're needing that you just can't get with VMware or is this cost justifiable?

    Is what cost justifiable?

    If you're talking about the conversion cost (mostly in my time), then yes I'd say it's justifiable so I get away from bad investments, i.e. paying for updates to ESXi Essentials. (damn I forget the phrase that Scott always uses).

    Beyond that - no I am lacking no features/functions that I want.

    You're already invested in ESXi that's a sunk cost so you have to weigh the cost of migration and support of your new infrastructure against the ongoing maintenance and support licenses from VMWare. From what I've heard from people who have done the migration it saves money in the long term.



  • @Dashrender said:

    @DustinB3403 said:

    Before I answer, what features are you currently lacking from VMware? Is there something that you're needing that you just can't get with VMware or is this cost justifiable?

    Is what cost justifiable?

    If you're talking about the conversion cost (mostly in my time), then yes I'd say it's justifiable so I get away from bad investments, i.e. paying for updates to ESXi Essentials. (damn I forget the phrase that Scott always uses).

    Beyond that - no I am lacking no features/functions that I want.

    So yeah, paying for updates seems like it could be a huge rip off. If your time is worth the conversion I'd recommend Xen. (see all of my other topics)

    Ton's a great, really very good performing options for things you're living without now.

    Plus updates are free.


  • Service Provider

    @coliver said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @coliver said:

    You have a lot of Windows, it may be easier to manage if you maintain the same stack. Not saying XenServer is hard or anything, I actually find it easier, but Hyper-V is very capable and you already have the Windows Infrastructure in place to support it.

    Hyper-V is the hardest to use regardless of stack, IMHO. Not sure when it would be chosen based on ease of use. If you are an all Windows shop and wanted ease of use, I think XenServer still wins.

    I'm not sure about that. An all Windows shop and ease of use may go to Hyper-V. I haven't managed XenServer in production so I'm not sure but Hyper-V is super simple, almost as simple as XenServer, it does also have API hooks for software like Unitrends and Veeam if @Dashrender uses either of those applications.

    Just the clarification around licensing alone and the misinformation in communities about Hyper-V alone is a lot more work. getting help is hard because there is so much confusion around it. And the management tools are not unlimited and free like on XS. That alone is more work that XS is total. It's not that it si hard, but how does using Windows make it any easier? That's where I'm always lost. There isn't anything about having used Windows that makes Hyper-V easier or harder to use. I've used it, it is generic as far as interface.


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    @coliver said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @coliver said:

    You have a lot of Windows, it may be easier to manage if you maintain the same stack. Not saying XenServer is hard or anything, I actually find it easier, but Hyper-V is very capable and you already have the Windows Infrastructure in place to support it.

    Hyper-V is the hardest to use regardless of stack, IMHO. Not sure when it would be chosen based on ease of use. If you are an all Windows shop and wanted ease of use, I think XenServer still wins.

    I'm not sure about that. An all Windows shop and ease of use may go to Hyper-V. I haven't managed XenServer in production so I'm not sure but Hyper-V is super simple, almost as simple as XenServer, it does also have API hooks for software like Unitrends and Veeam if @Dashrender uses either of those applications.

    XenServer has API for Unitrends too.



  • @coliver said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @DustinB3403 said:

    Before I answer, what features are you currently lacking from VMware? Is there something that you're needing that you just can't get with VMware or is this cost justifiable?

    Is what cost justifiable?

    If you're talking about the conversion cost (mostly in my time), then yes I'd say it's justifiable so I get away from bad investments, i.e. paying for updates to ESXi Essentials. (damn I forget the phrase that Scott always uses).

    Beyond that - no I am lacking no features/functions that I want.

    You're already invested in ESXi that's a sunk cost so you have to weigh the cost of migration and support of your new infrastructure against the ongoing maintenance and support licenses from VMWare. From what I've heard from people who have done the migration it saves money in the long term.

    Which saves them money in the long term? Migrating or not migrating?



  • @Dashrender Migrating saves them money in the long term, because they don't have to pay for updates. (or anything else if they chose not too)



  • Quite frankly I would just stick with Vmware. It's mature, well designed, and you are fairly up to date on the license if you are using 5.5. EOL for it is ~2018.

    P2V all those other boxes immediately. Hell, you don't even have to worry about losing stuff. Just do it during a downtime window, spin down old and fire up the new, hope it doesn't break. If it does, then failback to the physical.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @coliver said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @coliver said:

    You have a lot of Windows, it may be easier to manage if you maintain the same stack. Not saying XenServer is hard or anything, I actually find it easier, but Hyper-V is very capable and you already have the Windows Infrastructure in place to support it.

    Hyper-V is the hardest to use regardless of stack, IMHO. Not sure when it would be chosen based on ease of use. If you are an all Windows shop and wanted ease of use, I think XenServer still wins.

    I'm not sure about that. An all Windows shop and ease of use may go to Hyper-V. I haven't managed XenServer in production so I'm not sure but Hyper-V is super simple, almost as simple as XenServer, it does also have API hooks for software like Unitrends and Veeam if @Dashrender uses either of those applications.

    XenServer has API for Unitrends too.

    That's news to me. Last I heard they were doing agent based backups on the individual VMs.


  • Service Provider

    @coliver said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @DustinB3403 said:

    Before I answer, what features are you currently lacking from VMware? Is there something that you're needing that you just can't get with VMware or is this cost justifiable?

    Is what cost justifiable?

    If you're talking about the conversion cost (mostly in my time), then yes I'd say it's justifiable so I get away from bad investments, i.e. paying for updates to ESXi Essentials. (damn I forget the phrase that Scott always uses).

    Beyond that - no I am lacking no features/functions that I want.

    You're already invested in ESXi that's a sunk cost so you have to weigh the cost of migration and support of your new infrastructure against the ongoing maintenance and support licenses from VMWare. From what I've heard from people who have done the migration it saves money in the long term.

    Generally the migrations aren't too painful. And the licensing and cost overhead of VMware is high. Even the cheapest option of ~$520 adds up quickly when you spend an hour or two getting that straightened out regularly, need special logins to get to downloads, have to track accounts, paying for that every year or so, worrying about licensing changes in the future, etc.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @DustinB3403 said:

    Before I answer, what features are you currently lacking from VMware? Is there something that you're needing that you just can't get with VMware or is this cost justifiable?

    Is what cost justifiable?

    If you're talking about the conversion cost (mostly in my time), then yes I'd say it's justifiable so I get away from bad investments, i.e. paying for updates to ESXi Essentials. (damn I forget the phrase that Scott always uses).

    Beyond that - no I am lacking no features/functions that I want.

    You're already invested in ESXi that's a sunk cost so you have to weigh the cost of migration and support of your new infrastructure against the ongoing maintenance and support licenses from VMWare. From what I've heard from people who have done the migration it saves money in the long term.

    Which saves them money in the long term? Migrating or not migrating?

    Migrating.


  • Service Provider

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @JaredBusch said:

    @Dashrender I would use Hyper-V for the 3rd party tools. XenServer if I had all the time in the world to do everything myself.

    What kinds of things do you need to do yourself in XenServer? it has a great third party tooling ecosystem too. Just most of it is free rather than much of it being pay only.

    Obviously, the 900# gorilla. Backups.
    Can I do it natively for free with both solutions? Yes.
    Can I get a solid reliable and supported 3rd party solution for both systems? Not that I have seen for XenServer yet.



  • @Dashrender said:

    @coliver said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @DustinB3403 said:

    Before I answer, what features are you currently lacking from VMware? Is there something that you're needing that you just can't get with VMware or is this cost justifiable?

    Is what cost justifiable?

    If you're talking about the conversion cost (mostly in my time), then yes I'd say it's justifiable so I get away from bad investments, i.e. paying for updates to ESXi Essentials. (damn I forget the phrase that Scott always uses).

    Beyond that - no I am lacking no features/functions that I want.

    You're already invested in ESXi that's a sunk cost so you have to weigh the cost of migration and support of your new infrastructure against the ongoing maintenance and support licenses from VMWare. From what I've heard from people who have done the migration it saves money in the long term.

    Which saves them money in the long term? Migrating or not migrating?

    Migrating, sorry for not being clear. The migration saves money almost every time.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @coliver said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @coliver said:

    You have a lot of Windows, it may be easier to manage if you maintain the same stack. Not saying XenServer is hard or anything, I actually find it easier, but Hyper-V is very capable and you already have the Windows Infrastructure in place to support it.

    Hyper-V is the hardest to use regardless of stack, IMHO. Not sure when it would be chosen based on ease of use. If you are an all Windows shop and wanted ease of use, I think XenServer still wins.

    I'm not sure about that. An all Windows shop and ease of use may go to Hyper-V. I haven't managed XenServer in production so I'm not sure but Hyper-V is super simple, almost as simple as XenServer, it does also have API hooks for software like Unitrends and Veeam if @Dashrender uses either of those applications.

    XenServer has API for Unitrends too.

    However, if I recall correctly, there is a free version of Unitrends for other Hyper-V and VMswear, but not XenServer. Is that correct?


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