Microsoft Takes Aim At 'Myths' Spread By VMware


In a video posted Friday, David Greschler, director of virtualization strategy at Microsoft, and Edwin Yuen, technical product manager for System Center Virtual Machine Manager, tackle several VMware arguments related to Microsoft's virtualization shortcomings.

VMware often points out that Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor lacks a Live Migration feature, but Greschler says that's not accurate. In Windows Server 2008 R2, "we have Live Migration built right in, it works the same way as VMotion works [and] it allows you to move a virtual machine from one host to the other without any perceptible downtime," Yuen says in the video.

Live Migration, an enterprise-class feature included in the VMware and Xen-based virtualization platforms, makes it possible to move running virtual machines from one system to another system. The oft-delayed feature will be part of Windows Server 2008 R2 when it's released sometime in late 2009 or early 2010.

Microsoft says a feature in Hyper-V called Quick Migration, which is almost as fast as Live Migration, can perform virtual machine migrations in just six seconds. Virtualization solution providers have told in the past that Quick Migration is sufficient for both planned and unplanned scenarios.

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VMware often points out that Microsoft has no clustered file systems in Windows, and Yuen notes that Microsoft will address this in Windows Server 2008 R2.

"A new feature called Cluster Shared Volumes, which goes with the Live Migration feature, gives you lots of the advantages of clustered file systems and then links that to the existing management system that we have within Windows," Yuen says.

VMware has suggested that Hyper-V version 1.0 suffers from slow performance and is also unreliable and not scalable, but Yuen says the fact that Microsoft has deployed Hyper-V internally in widespread fashion serves as proof that this isn't true.

"In certain areas, like disk operations, Microsoft is even faster than VMware," Yuen says.

Taking aim at VMware's assertion that Microsoft's virtualization footprint is too large, Yuen says while VMware has a very small disk footprint, ESX Server takes up a significant amount of memory, almost on par with the way Windows works.

"The actual in-memory usage [of ESX] is about equivalent to the Microsoft solution," Yuen says.

Microsoft often has characterized the premium that Mac users pay as an "Apple tax," and Greschler invokes similar reasoning in comparing VMware's virtualization solution to Microsoft's.

VMware has four layers -- the hardware layer, the VMware layer, the operating system layer and the application layer -- but because Microsoft has built virtualization into the fabric of Windows, Microsoft has only three layers, according to Greschler.

"One extra layer of cost, one extra layer of complexity and one extra layer of security that you have to think about. Sounds like a tax to me," Greschler says.