I'm looking to replace a couple of machines in the office with a more powerful multi-processor machine running either VMware or Microsoft's Hyper-V with a view to hosting a mix of Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008 and Linux operating systems. The machines are used mainly for testing ASP.Net or Perl web sites. I don't need advanced features like live migration of running systems but it would be useful to be able to restore a machine to a known state. Performance is not really a big issue either unless one is noticeable faster than the other.
My question is: Should I play safe and go with VMware or is Hyper-V mature enough to be a candidate?
VMware virtual machines are portable across different VMware products (although you may need to use their converter tool to go from some hosted virtual machines to ESX or ESXi). The VMware platforms have been in use much longer, and are quite mature products and generally better-known for troubleshooting.
With VMware, you could develop and test a virtual machine on your local system using VMware Workstation, Fusion, Server, or Player, and then deploy it to a production server later. With Hyper-V, I believe you would have to build the virtual machine on the target box for best results. If performance isn't really that big of an issue, then VMware Server may be the best option, for it can run most .vmx machines directly and is generally a bit easier to manage; if performance becomes critical, you still have the ESX or ESXi upgrade option that you can use those same virtual machines with.
If you already have a Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2008 OS platform, you can download Hyper-V Server at no cost. The only cost is for the System Center management framework. Microsoft includes management of physical and virtual environments along with Hyper-V and VMware.
This advice is technically wrong even at the time of writing. Hyper-V has had a standard VHDX configuration format since the early versions and since it became available on Ultimate/Professional editions of Windows (i.e. Developer boxes) it's really not an issue at all and Hyper-V is the more Microsoft aligned way to go for developers who write mostly Windows applications/services.
The BIOS (Generation 1) or UEFI (Generation 2) VM layout and "configuration version" are also built-in to the VHDX format and supported/migrated across the different Win8-10 and equivalent Windows Server versions. The only thing you need to be careful of with Hyper-V is not to use the "upgrade configuration version" option until you are sure you don't want it on any older operating system.
However sadly it seems all this good stuff cannot be used, because NetApp Simulate VM image is built with VMware exclusive features such as firmware disks (and according to somebody else missing/not-open drivers to circumvent it) for years now. There are no longer options to use the NetApp Simulator in Hyper-V, Windows or Linux, even though there was a hint in 2011 they still had interest to update their image to allow it. Even the NetApp in CentOS in Hyper-V workaround also locked-out.
We use Hyper-V in our development environment and are happy with it, but must have some VMware ESXi boxes around just for NetApp, very annoying! At least we should be able to run it on a Linux machine, then it could be housed in any Hypervisor for testing/development purposes. Very sad to see there is no desire/resource to make this open again like it was originally. @netapp please ditch the firmware disk and anything else virtual hardware specific to make Simulate much more industy friendly! Actually with current technology you should skip a whole generation and publish some kind of open container image like Docker???
I have nothing to offer with regard to the OP's question ("do I use Hyper-V or VMware?") as I've found them to be mostly equivalent from a hypervisor standpoint for some time now...it typically comes down to which skill set you're most comfortable with.
That being said, I'll add comments to some of your statements around the ONTAP Simulator...
NetApp Simulate VM image is built with VMware exclusive features
The simulator is distributed, and documented, as VMware images suitable for running using either VMware Workstation (nee Player, though the "Professional" version will also work of course) or the data center products (i.e. ESXi). That being said, it does work using other *desktop* virtualization tools. For example, it is possible to use Oracle's VirtualBox to execute the Simulator (regardless of the underlying OS). I have not tried, so can not attest to whether it works, to use Hyper-V or KVM for the Simulator.
There are no longer options to use the NetApp Simulator in Hyper-V, Windows or Linux
I was not aware it was ever an option to use the Simulator with one of those tools.
Even the NetApp in CentOS in Hyper-V workaround also locked-out.
I think you're referring to the old ONTAP 7.x simulator? It ran in a Linux host (physical or virtual) as a process. The simulator for ONTAP 8 and 9 is a virtual machine because it runs a BSD version for the OS.
We use Hyper-V in our development environment and are happy with it, but must have some VMware ESXi boxes around just for NetApp, very annoying! At least we should be able to run it on a Linux machine, then it could be housed in any Hypervisor for testing/development purposes.
ONTAP Select can run using KVM as the hypervisor, however I don't believe it works with Hyper-V. You may be able to work with your account team to try Select to see if it will work for your purposes.
Actually with current technology you should skip a whole generation and publish some kind of open container image like Docker?
ONTAP is BSD based...containers are based on Linux's namespace technology (yes, I know there are Windows containers...I don't know the details there however). Unfortunately, this means ONTAP is incapable of being containerized.
Hope that helps, please let me know if I can help answer any questions.
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