Conducting performance testing between Hyper-V and ESX Server was definitely an interesting experience. My tests revealed a number of unexpected results, including the following:

The good. ESX Server and Hyper-V both deliver excellent levels of performance and there’s no question that either of these products can be used to run large numbers of production-level virtual machines (VMs). Although the number of VMs that I used for testing was optimized around the amount of RAM available in the host and the way a small-to-midsized business would be likely to try to take advantage of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition’s licensing, both products’ performance was clearly acceptable for production-level file and database serving.

The bad. One of the things that surprised me the most in my testing was the tremendous performance difference from the different client systems. Overall, it’s no surprise that the Windows XP client I used outperformed the Windows Vista clients by a notable margin. However, one Vista client in particular didn’t perform well in the Hyper-V database tests. If I find the cause of this problem I’ll post it to my blog, “Making IT Work” (windowsitpro.com/blog/index.cfm?action=blogindex&DepartmentID=1092).

And the ugly. Hyper-V’s remote management capabilities really hinder the prerelease version of the product—especially when attempting to run Hyper-V on Server Core. VMware got this part right. Downloading and running the ESX Server Virtual Infrastructure Client is dropdead simple. Getting the required remote connection to work for Hyper-V and Server Core requires a strong mixture of rocket science, voodoo, and lots of luck. I found John Howard’s (senior program manager for Hyper-V) 17-step (I kid you not) process for getting Hyper-V remote management to work (“Part 3—Hyper-V Remote Management: You do not have the requested permission to complete this task. Contact the administrator of the authorization policy for the computer ‘COMPUTERNAME,’” blogs.technet.com/jhoward/archive/2008/03/30.aspx). But it didn’t work for me. This would be a real show stopper for Hyper-V and will obviously have to be fixed before the final release. However, it did make me appreciate VMware’s simple and functional delivery of the management client.