Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why vSphere® is the best Hypervisor out there!

Written by Duane Anderson, Vice President EMEA Operations, VMTraining

Recently there has been much discussion around which hypervisor companies would continue to use moving forward. With Microsoft’s improvements to Hyper-V they are sure to be a huge player in the market, but does that mean that everyone should jump ship and move?

I say not a chance. vSphere® is still the leader in the market. Yes, you can spend less money initially when using Hyper-V, but is that the only aspect to the long term costs of our datacenter? I still believe that vSphere® is the way forward. One reason for this is the way that VMware as a company has consistently included vendors when creating API’s and communication paths to the vendor hardware we all have to use in order to support our datacenter.  

As an example I will discuss the improvements made to storage in vSphere® 4.1, 5.0 and 5.1. in v4.1; VMware added the vStorage API’s for array integration, which allowed for much better communication with storage devices and much needed improvements in the speed of daily operations. The Full Copy and Block Zeroing API’s alone gave some great performance improvements but my personal favorite was the hardware assisted locking. I have fortunately never had a client with the problem I am going to discuss but I have had a number of students who have experienced this exact issue. 

In an iSCSI SAN a lock on a VM can fail, when a host is isolated High Availability will do what it is trained to do and try to start the VMs on another host. If the locks fail on a VM that is already running on an isolated host the VM can be destroyed! Your only hope is the backups that you have tested and proven to function just fine, correct! With this new API the lock is now managed by the SAN, and to date I am not aware of any locks failing with this new API in use. Granted you must have an Enterprise or Enterprise plus license in order for this to function but it is a great addition - just ask a former student who lost over 200 VM’s to this exact issue. He spent a week rebuilding what was lost. In v5 they added API’s for NAS and the Thin provision primitive, which will reclaim dead space on a LUN from deleted or Storage vMotioned VMs. It also provides out of space information with overcommitting.  

This is just one set of features among many that set vSphere® apart from others! When analyzing price you have to consider all factors involved and the long term operational expense of vSphere® is less than that of Hyper-V!