Citrix XenServer 6.0.201
The install cd is of XenServer is 658 mb which is much better than the hyper-V but it still is much greater than vmware’s vsphere. The xenserver makes use of the existing drivers to speed up the hyperviser interaction with the actual physical hardware whereas the others make use of drivers and abstraction layers. Xenserver host and xencenter application are run on two different physical boxes and to run xenceter app we need a windows operating system. If we consider the ease of use then xenserver seems to be the best because it’s easy to install, has a clean interface, provides easy backing up, copying and creation of vm’s.
Now moving on to the host specifications we see that it has 1TB RAM and can support upto 130 logical CPUs, 16 maximum nodes and 800 to 960 vm’s per cluster. On the storage side it allows manual 3rd Party Multipathing (MPIO) but no virtual fiber channel. 2TB maximum virtual disk size and an additional 15TB pass through disk size can be provided to the user. Dynamic Memory Control (DMC) feature is also provided in this for memory management but that is still not upto the standards of vmware which provides 3 different ways of handling this (ballooning, compression, transparent page sharing (TPS)). It has two optimization modes performance and density optimization. Furthermore Virtual network switching is also supported.
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Hyper-V
The hyper-V has a large setup of almost 3 GB. Before installation of hyper-V as a role, one has to first install windows server 2008. Although its simple and easy to use but as it cannot support batch mode so for large clusters it is not as efficient as others. Some of its host specifications are that it can support 320 logical cores, 1TB physical memory (max for one VM 64GB) and 2048 virtual CPUs per host.
It can run 16 maximum nodes with 1000 maximum VM’s in fail over cluster. Also in storage category, 3rd Party Multipathing (MPIO) with virtual fiber channel and 4kb disk support are provided. The max virtual disk size is 64TB. On networking side private virtual LAN/ARP/ND Spoofing Protection is supported by hyper-V but not by others. Microsoft network load balancing (NLB) is used for load balancing.
VMware vSphere ESXi 5
VMware is relatively not as easy to install as xenserver. The interface is clean and easy which helps one in easily managing the VM’s but for large scale management we require the vCenter Server which simplifies the task of VM migrations and load balancing but it is important to note that for this, one has to pay extra. Some of its best features are fault tolerance, disaster recovery and are only provided in enterprise editions.
Driver hardening is done in collaboration with hardware vendors whereas the other two simply use windows and linux drivers. Its new storage management component enables live migration of running virtual machines. Each host has the ability to support 160 CPUs (logical), 2TB of RAM with 512 active VM’s per host. On individual level it can support upto 32 CPU’s with 1TB RAM. Last but not the least, there are 32 nodes in its cluster (3000 VM’s). It does not rely on OS for interfacing which helps eradicate any I/O bottle necks which are there in other two.