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Which should I use VMware Server v2 or Hyper-V on my Windows 2008 R2 (x64)?

By greavette ·
Hello,

We have two host servers running VMware Server 2 in our small office with about 10 VM's running on both.

One of the VM's is a sql server database (2005) running in a Win2003 guest. It's been working pretty well (I know...running SQL server in VMware Server 2 on one spindle is probably a very bad idea) but I have an opportunity to move this VM to a new server we've recently inherited.

None of our other Host Servers are able to run Hyper-v (which is one reason we have stuck with VMware Server 2), but this new host server has Windows 2008 Standard r2 (x64) installed and I can enable the role for Hyper-v. My thoughts are to create a new VM in Hyper-v and move our SQL database to this new Host server.

A few specs on the new host server that should help SQL sever running a VM.

It has 3 raid arrays:
- Raid 1 (Sata drives) for the Host O/S
- Raid 10 (SAS 10k drives). I would use this to store the vm.
- Raid 1 (SAS 10k drives). I would use this to create a new empty virtual harddrive to hold the temp db and/or log files (to keep the sql parts on different spindles).

Other things I need to consider:
Our host server needs to have a GUI (which I know is not ideal) so that rules out ESXi and Windows 2008 Core running Hyper-v.

My question is...would I see a huge performance gain in running our SQL server VM on the new server using Hyper-v or should I just install VMware Server 2 on the new host and move my VM to the new server? Bearing in mind that either using Hyper-v or VMware Server 2 I would spilt the temp database and/or log files to a different spindle which by itself would also generate a performance increase as well.

The reason I question this is because we use VMware Server 2 exclusively on our other host servers. If we were to use Hyper-v and something happened to that host server we couldn't just quickly move the vm to another host and get back up and running again. If the performance increase would be really noticeable using Hyper-v then I would consider going down that road, but if just using the new server (faster drives and all) and splitting the database also gives just as much or nearly the same performance benefit (and security to move the vm to another host if required) then I'm thinking it's easier to stay with VMware Server 2.

Thoughts?

Thank you,

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All Answers

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If it aint broke....

by robo_dev In reply to Which should I use VMware ...

In your shoes I would go on ebay and use my own money to buy any server that could run ESXi.

I have nothing against HyperV, but VMware simply works.

At home I setup ESXi in about twenty minutes, including formatting the hard drives in the server. Seriously, ESXi is the easiest server app I've ever installed, and it is both fast and reliable. And with ESXi, it's virtually impossible to get a virus on the server GUI :)

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Agree with Robo_dev

by markp24 In reply to Which should I use VMware ...

I would use ESXi for that setup, but if thats not an option stick with VMware for the high avaiablilty option you mentioned.

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Reponse To Answer

by greavette In reply to Agree with Robo_dev

Hello and thank you for the comments. I very much appreciate your feedback on my question.

I've now tested (played) with a few virtual technologies:

ESXi:
I would really like to use ESXi but since support for our office (by me) is only available remotely and the onsite eyes and hands is very limited in their knowledge of using any virtual technology, I really need to host our VM's on a server with a GUI desktop. It's the best we can do for now. As I learn more about how to use ESXi, I will consider moving to this solution, but right now it's just too soon for us to that.

VirtualBox:
1. It is easy to use and I like the GUI client better than the VMware web interface.
2. Not sure how fast it would be for us (being a hypervisor Type 2 type software).
3. It Lacks the automatic shutdown/Start of VM's that we would need (although I guess I could script up a solution for that).
4. Owned by Oracle so I wonder if this will continue to be free and open source.

VMware Server 2 - Continuing to use this app seems like a safe option for us, but there are two things that bother me:
1. VMware Server v2 is discontinued this year.
2. VMware Server v2 is a hypervisor Type 2.

So that leads me to my thoughts on Microsoft's Hyper-v:
1. It's Hypervisor Type 1 which allows us to gain as much performance as we can out of the server we now have.
2. It's free for us to use (just my time to set it up).
3. Since we can enable a role on our server and still have access to a GUI desktop it's easily supported.
4. It's still in active development.

So I think what I'll do is continue to use our current VMware Server 2 image but not as our primary. I'll make it our backup/manual failover VM. I'll build a new VM using Microsoft's Hyper-v and split out the database as needed (separate spindles). If things don't work out well using Hyper-v, I can always go back to using our VMware Server 2 image as our primary.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you all on this discussion. If anyone has further thoughts or comments on anything I've said, I welcome your opinion.

Thanks!

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