VMware has just announced the release of ESXi 5.5 and the contest with Hyper-V 2012 R2 couldn’t be any hotter. In this post, we will compare some of the configuration maximums for the two hypervisors. In addition to raising the limits within the hypervisor, each product has added a ton of new features to draw buyers and existing customers to purchase or upgrade to one of these products.

Hyper-V Hypervisor

As seen in the table above, the configuration maximums for both products are eerily similar. But considering that just a couple of versions ago, Hyper-V was not even close on the feature set and scalability of VMware, it has come a long way in a short time to prove that it is here for a fight. In fact in terms of scalability, Hyper-V 2012 R2 boasts of higher maximums than VMware. In addition, Hyper-V 2012 R2 includes some really cool features that extend the Hyper-V replica to chain from the DR location to a secondary DR location, thereby raising the bar much higher in terms of high availability.

From our perspective, we work great with VMware and Hyper-V and the new versions of both the products get us all excited to deliver world class protection for both. In addition, Unitrends Enterprise BackupTM will be able to leverage the higher configuration maximums thereby simplifying deployment and management of the backup storage pool.

What are your thoughts on the release of ESXi 5.5 and Hyper-V 2012 R2? We would love to hear from you.




  1. I think this is the server basked Microsoft has sunk most of its proverbial eggs. We ran a side by side comparison with ESXi and Windows 2008 R2 w/ Hyper-V about a year and a half ago, although this was a mid-market network deployment, and the advantages that ESXi offered over 2008 R2 with identical hardware were negligible, the 2008 server being substantially easier to manage with that particular vendors RMM tool.

    1. Brandon, thanks for your response. I agree that Hyper-V and ESXi have bridged the gap in terms of functionality. However, in a Windows-centric environment, the Hyper-V server is much easier to manage and positions itself as a better fit in the environment.

  2. Very interesting article, looks like MS are really giving it all they have. But what are the FREEBIES that you get from MS in comparison to VMware ? that would be intersting to see as MS used to give away free functionality that you would have to pay for with a VMware solution. I am at present working on a project for a charity and its a choice between ESXi or Hyper-V…

    1. David: Thank you for your feedback. One of the big freebies from Microsoft is that the backup framework for Hyper-V (VSS) works with the free version of Hyper-V server, whereas a free version of ESXi does not support the VADP command set. I believe this difference is significant when it comes to protection of the free version of the two hypervisors.

  3. I’ve ran both systems and depending on the budget and what VM’s you plan to use to made a decision on which to deploy. If you are going to run different types of Linux hosts with a GUI interface, ESXi is the way to go, if you are only going to be running NEW 6.X CentOS/RHEL nix boxes then Hyper-v will work nicely as well. Hyper-V 2012 R2 especially runs and boots 2012 R2 VM’s faster than my ESXi box does but if you plan on converting physical to virtual (P2V) on older machines like 2003/2008 they convert cleaner in ESXi and boot faster. 2012 R2 running a 2003 guest runs SLOW since it only has IDE disks supported and MS would really appreciate buying new licenses 🙂
    If you have any 2000 boxes that you need for legacy software then 2012 R2 won’t support it period, unless you run ESXi in a Hyper-V guest VM and then run 2000 inside ESXi. It can be done but it’s not supported by Hyper-V 2012. http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/ is a good resource if you need to force things to work.

    Hyper-V does have free built in replication and windows backup but I’d still recommend using a 3rd party solution since MS’s implementations are generally just good enough to work “sometimes” instead of a product like unitrends that specializes in just those functions.

  4. Hi,

    Big problem for me with Hyper-V is connecting some physical hardware to VM eg Streamer connected to host cannot be connected to VM. In ESXi it`s not a problem.

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