Comparing VMware Workstation 9 with Client Hyper-V


I stopped using VMware software when Microsoft started to offer Virtual PC, and then I started to use Windows Server on my laptops to use Hyper-V, since Virtual PC never was upgraded to run 64 bit virtual machines. But using Windows Server on a laptop is not a delightful experience, and I was looking for a good way to run 64 bit virtual machines on Windows 7.

I tried VirtualBox, since it was free, but I felt it unstable for my usage, and decided to try VMware Workstation, and had a good experience.

When I finally got Windows 8 on my machine, as posted in “Windows 8 on HP Envy 15-1050nr”, the first thing I decided to do was try to convert my VMs to Hyper-V, and I made it using Vmdk2Vhd tool, that only converts the VMDK virtual disks to VHD format, so I just needed to create new Virtual Machines on Hyper-V and use the converted virtual disks.

After converting my Virtual Machines to Hyper-V and having my lab running, I was trying to decide if I would stay with Hyper-V, or go back to VMware Workstation, since I have got the upgrade about 2 months ago.

The decision criteria took performance, features and usability on account.

 

Performance

For the performance comparison, I used my lab environment used to test Visual Studio and TFS, which is composed by 3 virtual machines:

1. ITGLAD – Windows Server 2012 running AD and DNS

2. ITGLTFS12 – Windows Server 2012 running SQL Server 2012, SharePoint 2013, Project Server 2013 and Team Foundation Server 2012 Update 1

3. ITGLCLI8 – Windows 8 running Office 2013 and Visual Studio 2012 Update 1

 

The steps I reproduced were:

1. ITGLAD Boot – Turn it on and wait for the login screen to appear

2. ITGLTFS12 Boot – Turn it on and wait for the login screen to appear

3. ITGLCLI8 Boot – Turn it on and wait for the login screen to appear

4. Login on ITGLCLI8 – Login and wait until the Home Screen to appear

5. Open Visual Studio – Open Visual Studio and wait until its start page to appear

6. Connect to TFS – Click at the Team Explorer tab at Visual Studio and wait until it connect to a Team Project

 

Using my laptop running Windows 8 with the configuration and the same devices, and excluding the virtual disks extension (vhd, vhdx and vmdk) from Windows Defender, VMware Workstation 9 took 4:26 minutes to run the test, and Client Hyper-V just 3:23, 23% less:

 

VMware

Hyper-V

ITGLAD Boot

0:01:12

0:01:04

ITGLTFS12 Boot

0:01:25

0:00:57

ITGLCLI8 Boot

0:00:34

0:00:25

Windows 8 login

0:00:16

0:00:19

Visual Studio load

0:00:19

0:00:26

TFS connection

0:00:40

0:00:12

Total

0:04:26

0:03:23

 

Features

Windows 8 is the first desktop Windows to have Hyper-V, and since it was focused on the server it still does not have some features for this scenario. So, let’s make a list of the Hyper-V missing features:

· Accelerate 3D graphics – Client Hyper-V does not come with Remote FX or any acceleration for graphics;

· USB – Client Hyper-V does not have any support for connecting USB devices directly to virtual machines;

· Sound Card – No sound from virtual machines, but you can use a Remote Desktop Connection to get sound from the VMs on Hyper-V;

· Shared Folders – A simple way to access the file system from the host. You have to establish a network connection between the VM and the host;

· Autofit – To resize the display you need to change the resolution in the VM. In VMware you just have to resize the window, or put it in fullscreen;

· Unity – This feature lets you use an application inside the VM from the host, making the user feel like the app is installed and running at the host.

The only feature a found better implemented in Hyper-V is dynamic memory, where you can configure the minimum and maximum amount of memory each VM will use, and Hyper-V allocates just the needed amount.

 

Usability

The feature list shows that VMware Workstation can make some tasks easier, like using a file from the host, or using an USB device.

The display response with VMware is better too, which makes possible to use the VM even for running some games. But it is not perfect, when I switch from one VM to another, it takes 2 or 3 seconds until the screen appear, switching with Hyper-V is instantaneous.

 

Conclusion

I could find that VMware Workstation is better for running client VMs, and Client Hyper-V is better for server VMs. The best solution would be to have both, but it is not allowed, you cannot run more than one virtualization software.

And worse, you cannot even install both at the same time, you need to remove one first, before you install the other. At least the configuration is kept if you uninstall and install again.

For now I’ll keep with VMware Workstation 9, mainly by the better graphics and sound support, and knowing that I could be 23% faster.

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