Hyper-V: It's here

Hyper-V: It's here

Summary: As reported by ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley yesterday, Microsoft released its Hyper-V bare metal hypervisor platform (Updated: 4:20PM EST)for Windows Server 2008 today, in a virtual shot across competitor and market leader VMWare's bow, which currently holds over an 80 percent market share in x86 virtualization.We looked at a late beta of Hyper-V back in February of this year and at the time, we were impressed with the system's performance and ease of use.

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crosshairs-vm.jpgAs reported by ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley yesterday, Microsoft released its Hyper-V bare metal hypervisor platform (Updated: 4:20PM EST)for Windows Server 2008 today, in a virtual shot across competitor and market leader VMWare's bow, which currently holds over an 80 percent market share in x86 virtualization.

We looked at a late beta of Hyper-V back in February of this year and at the time, we were impressed with the system's performance and ease of use. It made such a lasting impression that it was clear to me at least in this particular instance, Microsoft has done this one right, and poses a clear threat to VMWare in terms of being able to carve out a significant slice of their market share with a large base of eager early adopters.

Click on the "Read the rest of this entry" link below for more.

Why so eager? Well, it all comes down to numbers. Hyper-V is just plain less expensive to implement than VMWare ESX Server, and that could make a big difference, this despite the fact that it currently lacks the "live migration" capabilities that ESX has with VMotion and doesn't include a clustered file system like VMFS-3 (although Microsoft has confirmed that both Polyserve and Sanbolic cluster solutions are compatible). How less expensive, you ask? When using Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008 Datacenter, which works out to about $3000 per processor (Microsoft makes no distinction with "cores" -- if you have a dual CPU, quad-core system you only have two processors, as far as their licensing is concerned) you get use of unlimited licenses of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2003 R2. The deal gets even sweeter when you have a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, which brings the cost of new Hyper-V hosts down to nothing.

Hyper-V could make quick headway in enterprise environments that either haven't yet made a significant investment in VMWare Virtual Infrastructure, or are looking to virtualize Exchange, SQL Server, IIS and Sharepoint systems on a vendor-supported virtualization platform. Up until now, Microsoft hasn't even supported production database server application stacks on even their own Virtual Server platform, let alone on VMWare ESX, due to poor performance of these environments when virtualized because of heavy I/O contention. However, with Hyper-V, the performance and memory overhead on database virtualization appears to have been significantly reduced, this because of tight integration with the OS which only Microsoft has the ability to engineer.

Microsoft has finally released some independently verified I/O performance benchmarks on Hyper-V, and the results are encouraging.  These were conducted by QLOGIC using their own host bus adapters and SAN chassis, using typical customer deployment scenarios.

qlogic-hyperv.jpg

Click on the above table to enlarge.

Overall, VMs running under Hyper-V achieved anywhere from 88%-97% of native performance when using 8GB fiber channel connectivity, and 99% native performance when using iSCSI over single 1GB, unbonded direct LUN connection. No performance numbers have yet been released for Hyper-V when using multipath-I/O HBAs or bonded iSCSI on other popular SAN configurations, such as on EMC's CLARiiON/DMX, HP's EVA  or IBM's DS8000 and SVC, but this does look like the barriers to SQL Server and other I/O intensive apps such as Exchange and Sharepoint being virtualized have now been lifted -- although Microsoft suggests that you use fixed VHD files or "Passthrough" disks -- dedicated raw disk parititions on local disks or SAN LUNs to run the VMs.

Hyper-V does have one drawback, in that it will only run on the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2008, because it makes heavy use of Intel VT-X and AMD-V on chip virtualization acceleration features, which are only present in newer 64-bit CPUs.

While no new features have been announced with the official release since the betas and release candidates, significant guest OS support has been added, notably with the addition of Windows Vista in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions:

Windows Server 2008 x86 (1, 2 or 4-way SMP)

Windows Server 2008 x64 (1, 2 or 4-way SMP)

Windows Server 2003 x86 (1 or 2-way SMP)

Windows Server 2003 x64 (1 or 2-way SMP)

Windows Vista x64 with Service Pack 1 (1 or 2-way SMP)

Windows Vista  x86 with Service Pack 1 (1 or 2-way SMP)

Windows XP x64 with Service Pack 2 (1 or 2-way SMP)

Windows XP x86 with Service Pack 3 (1 or 2-way  SMP)

Windows XP x86 with Service Pack 2 (1-way only)

Windows Server 2000 with Service Pack 4 (1-way only)

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 with Service Pack 1 x86 

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 with Service Pack 1 x64 

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 with Service Pack 2 x86 

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 with Service Pack 2 x64

Are you going to be a Hyper-V early adopter? Talk Back and let me know.

Topics: Microsoft, Hardware, Open Source, Operating Systems, Servers, Software, Virtualization, VMware, Windows

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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21 comments
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  • I Love it ....

    Quote:

    "Hyper-V does have one drawback, in that it will only run on the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2008, because it makes heavy use of Intel VT-X and AMD-V on chip virtualization acceleration features, which are only present in newer 64-bit CPUs."

    I have deployed 20 Virtual machine set up already for various customers using VMWARE.
    They ALL want the same thing; Linux Host and Windows virtual Desktop/Server.
    Linux_4u!
    • That's honestly what I love about both VMWare and Parallels.

      I can use a Mac host, a PC host, or a Linux host to run any
      X86 operating system that I could possibly need, be it
      Windows Vista, Solaris 10, or even DOS 6.22 (yes, I still play
      games that run in DOS but die in Windows.)
      nix_hed
  • RE: Hyper-V: It's here

    "Hyper-V does have one [b]drawback[/b], in that it will only run on the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2008, because it makes heavy use of Intel VT-X and AMD-V on chip virtualization acceleration features, which are only present in newer 64-bit CPUs."

    "Drawback" seems to be overstating the case. After all most people will want more than 4GB of memory and you need 64-bit for that anyway. Or are you saying that the VMs will need to run 64-bit as well?
    SamYeager
    • Clarification

      The drawback is that it does not function on non-VT or non-AMD-V enabled hardware. This includes 64-bit x86 systems WITHOUT VT or AMD-V as well as older 32-bit chips.

      By comparison, both XenServer and ESX will work on 32-bit hosts. Full virtualization will not work on Xen without 64-bit architecture with VT and 64-bit guests will not work on ESX without VT or AMD-V.
      jperlow
  • RE: Hyper-V: It's here

    Hyper-V is a bare metal hypervisor, really???
    They use a general purpose OS with an indirect driver model and generic drivers in the management partition... this is why I/O suffers. But, that isn't even taking into consideration the benefits of live-migration with VMotion (made possible by the memory ballooning and VMFS file system that VMWare has a patent on) nor the benefits of transparent memory sharing, which allows DOUBLE the consolidation rations of Hyper-V.
    glockandroll
    • It is bare metal

      Just because they use the Xen/Domain0 paradigm does not mean it isn't a bare metal hypervisor. It may not be a "monolithic" bare metal hypervisor like ESX or z/VM or Parallels, but its still a bare metal hypervisor.
      jperlow
    • ESX: 100,000 IOPS

      [i]let alone on VMWare ESX, due to poor performance of these environments when virtualized because of heavy I/O contention[/i]

      How is a system capable of producing [b]100,000 IOPS[/b] labeled [i]poor performance[/i]?

      http://blogs.vmware.com/performance/2008/05/100000-io-opera.html

      Yes, it use 495 spindles and 77TB of storage. But guess what - that's what you need in a disk array to produce that many IOPS.

      [b]ESX is not a limiting factor in high IO environments[/b]. Funnily enough, it's the disk array.

      Virgil
      virgil@...
  • 64 bit not a limit

    Anyone seriously think that running virtualization on a 32 bit machine with max 4 gig is even viable? Doubt it.

    I'm actually impressed they went 64 bit-only.
    croberts
    • 32-bit is ok for desktop machines...

      ...but that's really about it. In a server environment, you need
      the breathing room to run 8, 16, even 32 GiB's of RAM per
      machine, virtual or not.
      nix_hed
  • Great day for technology...

    Now that Hyper-V is officially here, I just wish VMware would go out of business. One of my fellow CIOs in town here mentioned he would not look at Hyper-V because it has limited non-Microsoft OS support. I told him he was already in trouble because if he is not a 100% Microsoft shop, he is already running poor operating systems. He mentioned something about combining the uptime of Solaris with the price points of x86 hardware, but I was already calling my rep and giving him the number of this ignorant CIO to start a sales cycle.
    Mike Cox
    • You pompous, arrogant little...

      The narrow mindset actually cost you points and didn't even
      get a laugh this time. Sorry Mikey.

      5.5/10
      nix_hed
    • huh?

      Great day for technology? another technology gets stolen and the inovation killing continues. Lawsuits should continue from the EU cause it isn't as corrupt. Go Nelly Kroes!
      TedKraan
  • RE: Hyper-V: It's here

    What about VMWare not supporting Vista 64 as a host? After Vista being out for more than a year, it is becoming clear that VMWare doesn't / cannot support Vista 64. I suspect they don't want to bother getting their driver signed.
    Eric.G
  • RE: Hyper-V: It's here

    The cost model of Hyper-V is going to make for some compelling arguments when there is a choice to be made for virtualization technology. It has the potential to be that killer app that changes the way a lot of architecture teams (including mine) approach VM deployment. IT services companies like HP, Fujitsu, Accenture, etc? are already POC this in test labs from here to Japan. Production virtualization without extortionate prices might finally be here.
    steve.penner@...
    • TCO not hypervisor licensing

      You have to look at the TCO of running VMs on the hypervisor, not the cost of licensing the hypervisor on it's own. And VMware ESX's memory utilisation capabilites make a significant financial difference between the TCO of ESX vs Hyper-V.
      http://vmmba.com/2008/01/03/why-does-oversubscription-matter.aspx


      Also, Hyper-V is not a comparible product to VI3 Enterprise. It just doesn't have the features. A more realistic comparison is ESXi. Which is $495 RRP, and $99 OEMed from Dell. (http://www.virtualization.info/2008/05/dell-offers-vmware-esxi-at-99-citrix.html)

      Cute picture on the article though.

      Virgil
      virgil@...
  • are you people Hyped-V?

    As a consultant in virtualization and know Vmware ESX and Hyper-V, there's really no comparison. Hyper-V would be great for small business or a lab but that is about it. Hyper-V is almost as good as VMware Server which is free. This reply I've seen sums it up pretty nicely.

    Here's what astute reader Mark had to say:

    "Hyper-V is still in beta, has no live migration, has no farm concept with automatic load balancing and HA, no over-committing of resources (this one is huge as I ran out of memory on an 8G system with just six VMs; I usually get 12 on this same hardware using the same VM configurations), requires an installation of at least Server 2008 Core Edition (OK, not bad, but there's still a lot running in the root domain), has restricted x86/x64 OSes, and is dependent on specific CPUs (which places you at the mercy of the chip manufacturers).

    Then there's the inability to throttle or isolate the root domain from VMs. I'm able to kill all running VMs by eating up memory in the root domain and chewing up the CPUs; other than live migration, I consider this to be the No. 1 problem. You shouldn't be able to bring down your VMs by runaway processes in the root or console OS.

    And, to top it off, it's basically a Xen knock-off (in fact, it's so similar (with similar problems), that I wonder how much open source code crept into this closed source product.

    It amazes me, the giddiness with which people are approaching this pre-1.0 product and clearly inferior technology. The Microsoft Machine with its adherents are at work here, but this certainly is not amazing technology at all. Maybe one day, a few years from now
    23r98sdv8
  • RE: Hyper-V: It's here

    They both suck.
    Cyclic
  • They Both Suck

    Too much stuff, too many bugs, so many problems with both. They work but its a real pain.
    Cyclic
  • RE: Hyper-V: It's here

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  • RE: Hyper-V: It's here

    Hm, I never heard of hyper-v before

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