It’s pretty common knowledge that currently shipping versions of Microsoft’s Hyper-V hypervisor provide, at best, “good enough” features for those organizations that have chosen to adopt the product. In fact, I wrote a white paper comparing current Hyper-V with vSphere 5 and, while Hyper-V is capable, it was a far cry from what vSphere can do. However, with the release of Hyper-V 3, shipping with Windows Server 2012, the game will change in a dramatic way. With Hyper-V 3, Microsoft is adding features to Hyper-V that more than put it on par with vSphere. In some cases, Microsoft has leapfrogged VMware with the features in the new version. Below, I’ve listed five features found in Hyper-V 3 that prove that the product is ready for the big leagues:
- Hyper-V Replica. Allows administrators to replicate a virtual machine from one host to another. This asynchronous replication feature does not require any shared storage whatsoever.
- Shared nothing Live Migration. Whereas most migration services require some form of shared storage, Hyper-V 3 ships with migration features that do not require any shared resources. As long as the two hosts can communicate over the network, that’s all that is necessary.
- Massive scalability. Microsoft has massively increased limits on both physical and virtual resources in Hyper-V 3. Up to 320 logical processors, 4 TB RAM, 64 vCPUs in a virtual machine, 64 servers in a cluster and a whole lot more.
- Hyper-V Extensible Switch. VMware has had this feature for a while, but Microsoft is bringing it to Hyper-V 3.
- Free. This is not a new feature, but it’s an important consideration, particularly as you look at the full market. Microsoft is bringing extremely high end features to their hypervisor. All of the features are included in the free edition of Hyper-V 3. The free version of Hyper-V 3 server is perfect for those that need to run Linux or VDI workloads. If you have Windows Server workloads, you’re generally better off with the Data Center edition of Windows Server 2012, which will also include all of Hyper-V’s new features, but you will also have unlimited rights to run Windows workloads without having to license each one.