Hyper-V vs VMware: Which is Right for Your Organization?


If you’re considering using virtual machines (VMs) for your organization, It’s time to go of products offered in the market and get to know the difference between Hyper-V and VMware hypervisors.

The virtual machine is basically a computer that runs virtually. Unlike laptops in general, A virtual machine can run multiple operating systems at once in parallel without having any need to restart.

This also means that many users can use a single highly configured CPU without purchasing a CPU for every individual.

Note: You will require a separate computer to access a virtual machine OS.

Virtual machines are also good for hosting several operating systems on a single server and they create a google operating system level operation and improve the overall security of a system.

Hyper-V and VMware are major providers of virtualization platforms and a business looking for virtual machines can choose an option of their choice to fulfill their need.

Let’s look at the benefits of using VMs in the first place, and then go over the main characteristics of Hyper-V and VMware technology.

Reasons for running a virtual environment

Before diving into the main differences between VMware and Hyper-V, it is important to understand how we can use VMs in the first place. Below are several reasons for incorporating virtualization into your infrastructure.

1. Using multiple OSs

Virtual machines allow you to run different operating systems on top of your main OS. If your main OS is Windows, for example, you can have VMs with Linux OSs run on top of your Windows environment.  

2. Running older app versions

If you need to run an app that requires older versions of the OS, you can use a VM to install the OS version that you need. For example, if you use Windows 10, but need to run an app in Windows 7, use a VM to install Windows 7 and run your app from there. 

3. Testing software

Developers can use VMs to test new products. You can imitate a real-time environment by testing how your product behaves with a variety of software and applications. Create different scenarios to test your product on multiple OSs, but on the same virtual hardware. 

4. Replicating virtual environments

You can save your VM along with its OS and applications as a virtual appliance. Once this is done you can share your VM appliance with other users. For example, developers can share work in progress across the globe.   

5. Accessing data from anywhere

By installing additional software, you can access your VM from any part of the world, or even a mobile device. Remote access allows you to collaborate on the project while you are traveling and can’t access your data from home or office. 

6. Supporting disaster recovery 

You can store your VM replicas at a designated disaster recovery location. Then, in case of a disruptive event, you can always fail over to your replicas and keep your production running. After your operations are reinstated, you can fail back.   

7. Reducing production costs

Virtualization allows you to run multiple VMs on a single piece of hardware. This saves you costs and tons of space. You can manage multiple applications running on different OSs simultaneously from a single console. 

We have looked at the top situations where utilization of VMs is appropriate. Now, let’s move forward and review Hyper-V and VMware — two prime leaders of the virtualization market. 

About Hyper-V

Hyper-V is a Type 1 hypervisor and virtualization platform that you can use to run and manage VMs. Every VM in a Hyper-V world is an independent virtual computer with its own OS and applications. Hyper-V is a product of Microsoft that runs in Windows environments. 

Note: A hypervisor is also known as a virtual machine monitor (VMM). The hypervisor is software for creating and running VMs. There are two types of hypervisors: Type 1 and Type 2 hypervisors. Hypervisor-1 sits on the bare metal. Whereas, hypervisor-2 runs on top of an operating system. Hypervisor-1 is considered to be a better option than hypervisor-2 because hypervisor-1 has a direct connection to the underlying hardware, and it doesn’t rely on any OS. Hypervisor-1 has a higher security level and speed compared to Hypervisor-2. Hypervisor-2 is a preferred choice for testing software. Hypervisor-2 allows you to access multiple OSs from a single machine. You can also use hypervisor-2 on private PCs and devices that are not intended for hosting a VM environment. 

About VMware

VMware is a virtualization platform that consists of components such as ESXi hypervisor, vSphere Client, VMware Workstation, and vCenter. These products enable you to run and manage your VMware infrastructure efficiently. 

Now, it’s time to compare Hyper-V and VMware. 

Hyper-V vs VMware

Hyper-V and VMware have some architectural differences. Hyper-V is based on a micro-kernelized hypervisor. The host server, also known as the parent partition, has direct access to hardware and the virtualization stack. There is one parent partition per Hyper-V. 

Every parent partition can create multiple child partitions. A child partition is a hard disk that is used for hosting guest OSs. Child partitions communicate with the parent partition via VMBus. Child partitions can’t access hardware resources directly, but they represent them in the form of virtual machines.  

The kernel and user services of a microkernel are addressed in different address spaces. The user services are under the user address space, whereas the kernel services are under the kernel address space. Because of this separation, the size of the kernel and OS is decreased.  

ESXi is also a Type 1 hypervisor created by VMware. The ESXi hypervisor is used to run on a Linux kernel. However, VMware eventually developed its unique kernel, VMkernel, which can be seen as a customized version of the Linux kernel. VMkernel runs directly on top of the physical host and offers a connection between VMs and physical hardware. 

VMware ESXi is designed to save costs and resources. Thus it’s more efficient than its forerunner — VMware ESX. Over the years, ESXI has become more efficient.  The amount of hardware used by VMware ESXi today has been brought to a minimum.  ESXi has a small footprint of 70 MB and high performance. 

VMware ESXi is a monolithic kernel. For ESXi the kernel and user services are addressed in the same address space. As a result, the kernel size and the OS is larger. The VMkernel tackles resource and file management tasks via system calls. This means that a special program requests a service from VMkernel. Since kernel and user services utilize the same address space, your computer’s OS is pretty fast. At the same time, if one of the user services fails, for example, device drivers or the file system, the whole OS fails.

These are the basic architectural differences between Hyper-V and VMware. However, there are other characteristics that differentiate Hyper-V from VMware. Now, let’s try to outline the main differences and similarities of these two products. 

Hyper-V vs VMware: What’s Similar?

It’s not always the case that a certain feature in a VMware solution has the same equivalent in a Hyper-V environment. However, there are many similar features in both Hyper-V and VMware. Let’s go over some of them: 

  1. Type 1 hypervisor

Even though Hyper-V and VMware have different types of kernels, they both use a Type 1 hypervisor. The Type 1 hypervisor sits on the bare metal. It does not rely on the underlying OS; therefore, it’s more secure, scalable and fast compared to a Type 2 hypervisor.

  1. Antivirus solution (VMware and Hyper-V)

Use a third-party antivirus solution to protect your Vmware or Hyper-V VMs from any unauthorized activity. You can also implement native antivirus solutions — VMware Carbon Black Endpoint for VMware and Microsoft Defender Antivirus for Hyper-V.

  1. Centralized data management (VMware and Hyper-V)

Centralized management simplifies and automates tasks by allowing you to manage your Hyper-V or VMware VMs from a single console. Manage your VMware VMs from VMware vCenter Server and Hyper-V VMs from System Centre Virtual Machine Manager.

  1. Virtual Fibre Channel support (VMware and Hyper-V) 

Fibre Channel is a protocol used to connect data storage to servers in storage area networks (SANs). Fibre Channel creates a connection by enclosing SCSI commands into TCP/IP packets, which are then transferred over the network. Common SCSI commands are: READ, WRITE, SEND/RECEIVE DIAGNOSTICS, INQUIRY and TEST UNIT READY.

  1. Multipathing (VMware and Hyper-V)

Multipathing involves incorporating multiple physical paths between the storage and server during data transfer. If one path fails, you can always switch to another available path. Multipathing also enables you to distribute the I/O loads by more than one path to avoid bottlenecks.

  1. Receive Side Scaling (RSS) (VMware and Hyper-V)

RSS is used to improve incoming data processing by distributing data across more than one CPUs. This helps to avoid bottlenecks and improve network performance. The signs of high CPU load are slow network speed (up to 0.5mbps), timeouts, connectivity issues and slow ping speeds.

  1. VMQ/NetQueue (VMware and Hyper-V)

Virtual Machine Queue (VMQ) and NetQues serve the same purpose as RSS, but via a different mechanism. With VMQ/NetQueue, traffic starts out as a single flow. Then, if a MAC address becomes overloaded, the flow is moved to a different queue. However, with RSS, the traffic is distributed into queues from the beginning.

  1. Port monitoring (VMware and Hyper-V) 

With port monitoring, you can assess your network performance, troubleshoot for bugs and detect security threats, such as malicious attacks. The feature enables you to monitor every port in the network and obtain statistics about the current state of each port.

  1. File system: VMFS/ ReFS (VMware and Hyper-V)

Every VM is kept in a set of files. These files need to be properly maintained. Virtual Machine File System (VMFS)/VMware and Resilient File System/Hyper-V are interfaces for managing these files on SCSI disks and partitions.

  1.  Guest operating system services (VMware and Hyper-V)

 Guest OS services combine solutions that enable easier interactions with guest OSs. Those solutions allow you to manage server data, mine data, and download files. You can also extract data from XML data files, flat files, and relational databases. Then you can transfer this data to the appropriate destination.

  1.  Snapshot technology (VMware and Hyper-V) 

Snapshots and checkpoints are images that capture the state of the VM at a single point in time. VM snapshots are used for generating incremental backups, failover jobs, VM testing and development. A snapshot includes all data of the VM such as files, disks, memory and network configurations.

  1.  Change tracking (VMware and Hyper-V)

Change tracking technology allows you to back up your data by copying only the blocks of data that have changed since the previous backup. Change tracking technology lays the foundation for incremental, forever incremental and differential backups.

  1.  Memory management (VMware and Hyper-V)

Memory can be distributed differently across the VMs. When VMs are idle or low-loaded, they use much less memory than those VMs that run at full capacity. Memory management can compensate for the lack of memory by transferring memory from idle VMs to the VMs that need more memory.

  1.  Workload migration (VMware and Hyper-V)

When your physical VM host needs maintenance, you can transfer your VM environment to a different location. Workload migration allows you to move your running VMs in real-time to avoid downtime. As the migration takes place, you can continue working on the tasks; most likely you won’t even notice the change! 

vSphere vs Hyper-V: What’s Different?

We have covered the features and characteristics that are similar in Hyper-V and VMware infrastructure. Now let’s take a look at some cases when a certain characteristic is unique to one platform: 

  1. Operating systems support (VMware and Hyper-V)

VMware supports most OSs such as Linux, Windows, Unix, and Mac OS. On the other hand, Hyper-V is more focused on supporting Windows OSs. However, it also supports Linux and FreeBSD. 

  1. Scalability (VMware and Hyper-V)

First, figure out which hypervisor is the best fit for your organization. Is it  Hyper-V or VMware?  After analyzing your organization’s needs, you would know how much of the resources you are going to utilize. If your organization gets smaller, you would need fewer resources. Alternatively, if your organization grows, you would need to scale up! 

VMware and Hyper-V have differences when it comes to specific resources. For example, the maximum memory per VM in Hyper-V is 12 TB for generation 2 and 1 TB for generation 1 VMs. On the other hand, VMware’s memory per VM ranges from 6TB – 24TB.

Note: Generation 1 VMs — support most OSs. Generation 2VMs — support Windows (64-bit) plus current versions of  Linux and FreeBSD. 

  1. Pricing (VMware and Hyper-V)

VMware and Hyper-V have different pricing criteria. VMware is licensed on a per CPU basis, and one license can’t have more than 32 physical cores. However, if you need to go over the 32 core count, you can get additional licensing. 

Hyper-V used to be licensed per socket, but since 2019, it has adopted a core-based licensing model. Microsoft requires you to license at least 8 cores per processor and a minimum of 16 cores per server. 

  1. Security (VMware and Hyper-V)

VMware primarily relies on encryption when it comes to security. You can protect your VMware by enabling firewalls and encryption and disabling services that you don’t use. The firewall capabilities of VMware are now even stronger with Intrusion Detection and Prevention (IDS/IPS) systems which you can deploy on your ESXi network. 

On the other hand, the Hyper-V environment relies on Active Directory (AD) for data protection. In addition, Hyper-V offers such advanced security components as Guarded Fabric, Host Guardian Service and Shielded VMs. Guarded Fabric is a data protection service that you can use to safeguard your Hyper-V VMs. Guarded Fabric consists of Host Guardian Service (HGS) and shielded VMs. 


The main difference between Hyper-V and VMware is that VMware supports multiple OSs, while Hyper-V supports primarily Windows and a few other options. Therefore, if you seek broader OS support, go with VMware. If you intend to run a Windows environment, Hyper-V could be your best option. 

VMware and Hyper-V Data Protection

After making a choice either in favor of VMware or Hyper-V, think about data protection options for your virtual machines. To ensure the recoverability of your data after a ransomware attack or disaster, back up your VMs in advance. NAKIVO Backup & Replication is an affordable, high-end, and user-friendly backup solution that can keep your data protected around the clock. To learn more about how to back up your Hyper-V or VMware VMs, check out Nakivo.