Microsoft Hyper-V vs. Citrix Xen Server
For a few years now, here at Custom Systems we’ve had an ongoing debate between two different Virtualization camps: Microsoft Hyper-V Server and Citrix Xen Server. Today I am going to take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.
If you’ve read my blog posts before, you can probably guess which camp I’m in. I’ve been a big fan of using Microsoft Hyper-V as a Virtualization host for a few years, and here’s why: For starters, the host server is a true Windows Server environment, (excluding Core version). I’m used to using Windows Servers, and I am very familiar with them. I know how to install hardware drivers, software updates, etc. I can install my Backup Software on the host, and make changes to my Virtual Servers from the Hyper-V host console. When setup properly, I can have a new Virtual Server up and running in a few minutes.
Citrix Xen Server, by that comparison, is not as easy to manage. Granted the install process is MUCH faster, but to properly manage your Xen’s Virtual Servers, you need to install the Xen Center Console on a Windows PC or server. In some environments, that isn’t practical.
Now for the advantages of Xen Server: There is almost no overhead. The Xen Server Host can fit on a small RAID 1 partition, needs very little RAM, and doesn’t need to be managed as often as a Windows Host Server. This allows you to dedicate all of those fast hard drives and RAM to your Virtual Servers, instead getting taken up by a Windows Host Server. Plus if you use Xen Server as your host server, that’s one less Microsoft Server license you will need. You can save that license for one of your VM’s. Also, exporting or migrating a VM with Xen Server is easy and painless. I wish I could say the same about Microsoft Hyper-V. (Maybe in the next release?)
Just a few “Gotcha’s”
I have run into a few situations where a third party vendor would not support using their software or hardware on a Xen Server. At the beginning of the sales process, we will meet with you to discuss your needs and to determine which Virtualization solution is right for you!
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