Which hypervisor for your home lab, VMware ESXi, Microsoft Hyper-V, Linux KVM, or Citrix XenServer?

Posted by Paul Braren on Sep 2 2013 in
  • ESXi
  • Hyper-V
  • Virtualization
  • vSphere-Web-Client-with-build-showing

    Well, this is a first for TinkerTry. A blog post that simply asks a question for site visitors to weigh in on. No need for me to stir the kettle on this one, since "MooTrader" has done that for us last night here:

    A bigger question, is it time for the home enthusiast to move to Hyper-V? I can't install vCenter and like the look of 5.5, but looks like it's going to be out of bounds for me. :-(

    Well said, MooTrader! The future of the Free VMware vSphere Hypervisor is a bit unclear, since the full function of 5.5 requires the licensed VCSA (vCenter Server Appliance), which is time-bombed at 60 days. We'll likely know more once it's generally available later this month. Wouldn't it be handy if VMTN returned right about now? See also Signs of Life for the VMware VMTN Subscription Movement by Chris Wahl Aug 29 2013. For me personally, the decision about what vendor's hypervisor to try to keep up with was simple. For my day job, most of my customers currently have VMware. Only a handful are starting to look into Hyper-V and others. So as a consultant, I need to learn both. Which is why I set out to get both running concurrently, on one affordable vZilla system that I bought and assembled myself. You could safely say I was eager. Once I updated to ESXi 5.1 and the latest Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, I wound up being the first to properly document the way to do the nesting, VMware ESXi 5.1 can run Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 VMs, nice! Sep 24 2012. Getting both ESXi and Hyper-V running 24x7 on one system is currently only possible with ESXi, as far as I know. This clinched the decision for me, back in 2011. Please let me know if I'm wrong today! I also plan to get a Linux KVM going, as well as a Citrix XenServer, all nested under ESXi 5.5. But I may want to get past 32GB of RAM first, discussed here. Just imagine one lab, running this workload 24x7:


    1. VMware ESXi
    2. Microsoft Hyper-V
    3. Linux KVM
    4. Citrix XenServer

    Now that's sure be one fine personal cloud, and the ultimate learning environment for the IT professional. Yeah, I know, there are those pesky barriers to worry about, like money, time cost, practicality, and licensing issues. You can hear me struggling with an ESXi 5.5 licensing question right here, on my recent live, uncut ESXi 5.5 preview, and in various TinkerTry articles here. But as MooTrader mentions, the vSphere Web Client is required for a lot of the ESXi 5.5 new features, and that requires the VCSA, which is time-bombed at 60 days.

    So is rebuilding every 60 days really the only path forward for home labbers on ESXi 5.5? Right now, I'm going back to finishing up my ESXi 5.5 build procedure video which includes the 60 day VCSA configuration, where you'll see that you can rebuild your VMware based Datacenter in under an hour every 60 days, without losing access to your existing VMs. But the real question, do you want to? If you have alternative methods planned, including

    • corporate 365 day trial keys
    • buying the cheapest possible vmware
    • going to Hyper-V and chosing MSDN (see also recent TechNet issue)
    • other

    let us know your opinion by dropping a comment below. There is no right answer for everybody, but at least give us an insight into the right answer for you, and why. Thank you!