Last August I wrote a blog post giving a general comparison of Hyper-V 2012 and vSphere 5.0. I’m speaking this week at the Virtualization Deep Dive 2013 conference in Cambridge, MA, so I thought I would like to dig in a bit to study the nitty-gritty feature enhancements and comparisons again, especially between Hyper-V 2012 and VMware 5.1 editions. I decided to take a look at HV 2012, vSphere 5.0 Enterprise Plus, the current free edition of VMware’s hypervisor and their “Cadillac” Enterprise Plus licensed edition. It seems that VMware has invested to catch up in certain key areas such as resources per guest and cluster size. Also note that the backup API set (VADP) is now included in the standard edition of vSphere, a feature which formerly was only included in the Enterprise and Enterprise Plus licenses.

It sure seems that Hyper-V, while still playing catch-up in market share to VMware, is making a really good play for a great portion of the hypervisor space. The price is certainly right, and helps the smaller shops out there take their first steps into virtualization with a feature-rich host platform.

Here’s the original chart, updated with free 5.1 and Enterprise Plus 5.1:

Feature Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V VMware vSphere 5.0 Enterprise Plus Free ESXi 5.1 VMware vSphere  5.1 Enterprise Plus
Logical Processors 320 160 160 160
Host Physical Memory 4TB 2TB 32GB 2TB
Virtual CPUs 2048 2048 2048 2048
Virtual CPUs 64 32 8 64
Memory 1TB 1TB 32GB 1TB
VM Active VMs per host 1024 512 512 512
Guest NUMA Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cluster Max nodes 64 32 N/A 32
Max VMs 8000 3000 N/A 4000
Virtual fiber channel Yes (exposed to Windows 2K8 and 2012 guests) Yes Yes Yes
3rd party MPIO Yes Yes (VAMP) No Yes (VAMP)
Native 4k disk support Yes No No No
Max virtual disk size 64TB VHDX 2TB VMDK 2TB VMDK 2TB VMDK
Max pass-through disk size 256TB (+) 64TB RDM 64TB 64TB
Advanced Format Disks (4k physical sector size) Yes No No No
Offloaded data transfer Yes Yes (VAAI) No Yes (VAAI)
Dynamic Memory Yes Yes Yes Yes
Resource Metering Yes Yes Yes Yes
QoS Yes Yes No Yes
DCB Yes Yes Yes Yes
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Unitrends increases uptime, productivity and confidence in a world in which IT professionals must do more with less. Unitrends leverages high-availability hardware and software engineering, cloud economics, enterprise power with consumer-grade design, and customer-obsessed support to natively provide all-in-one enterprise backup and continuity. The result is a “one throat to choke” set of offerings that allow customers to focus on their business rather than backup.