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Last updated: May 02, 2024

Hyper-V vs VMware: Complete Comparison

In the ever-evolving landscape of virtualization technology, two giants stand tall: Hyper-V and VMware. As businesses and IT professionals strive to optimize their infrastructures for efficiency, scalability, and cost-effectiveness, the choice between these two platforms becomes increasingly crucial. This article aims to provide a comprehensive comparison of Hyper-V, developed by Microsoft, and VMware's vSphere, the leading solutions in the market for server virtualization. We will delve into various aspects of both platforms, including performance, management tools, features, scalability, compatibility, and cost, to give you a clearer understanding of what each solution offers.

Our comparison is designed to equip IT decision-makers, system administrators, and tech enthusiasts with the necessary information to make an informed choice based on their specific needs and environments. Whether you're embarking on a new virtualization project or considering a switch between platforms, our detailed analysis will help you weigh the pros and cons of Hyper-V and VMware. From licensing models to support for different operating systems, from high availability features to VMware disaster recovery options, we'll cover all the bases to ensure you have a well-rounded view of what these virtualization powerhouses can do for your organization. Join us as we explore the strengths and weaknesses of Hyper-V and VMware in this complete comparison article.

What is VMware?

VMware is a global leader in cloud infrastructure and digital workspace technology, renowned for its virtualization solutions. Founded in 1998, VMware's software spans compute, cloud, networking and security, and digital workspace. The cornerstone of VMware's offerings is its virtualization software, which allows for the creation, deployment, and management of virtual machines (VMs) – software-based emulations of physical computers.

At the heart of VMware's virtualization technology is VMware vSphere, previously known as VMware Infrastructure. vSphere is a server virtualization platform that provides a complete infrastructure for virtualizing servers, storage, and networking, thereby enabling IT departments to run, manage, connect, and secure applications in a common operating environment across clouds and devices. It includes the ESXi hypervisor and the vCenter Server management suite, offering features for resource management, high availability, fault tolerance, scalability, and backup and recovery.

VMware's products are widely used in enterprise environments to reduce hardware costs by increasing the utilization of existing hardware, improve operational efficiency through automation, enhance business continuity, and provide flexible, agile IT services to adapt to business needs rapidly. VMware's innovations in the virtualization space have made it a significant player in data center management, cloud computing, and the transition to software-defined data centers (SDDC).

VMware overview

VMware, Inc. is a pivotal figure in the field of cloud computing and virtualization technology, with its headquarters situated in Palo Alto, California. Since its inception in 1998, VMware has established itself as a leader in developing virtualization solutions for both desktops and servers, which facilitate the running of multiple operating systems and applications on a single physical machine. This innovation significantly enhances efficiency, flexibility, and resource utilization in IT environments.

Core Products and Solutions

  • VMware vSphere: The leading server virtualization platform, vSphere enables users to virtualize and aggregate the underlying physical hardware resources across multiple systems and provide pools of virtual resources to the data center.
  • VMware Workstation and VMware Fusion: These products are designed for IT professionals and developers, offering powerful desktop virtualization capabilities on Windows (Workstation) and macOS (Fusion) platforms, respectively.
  • VMware NSX: A network virtualization and security platform that delivers the operational model of a virtual machine for the network.
  • VMware vSAN: An enterprise-class, storage virtualization software that, when combined with vSphere, provides a hyper-converged infrastructure solution.
  • VMware Cloud Foundation: A comprehensive offering that provides a complete set of software-defined services for compute, storage, networking, security, and cloud management to run enterprise apps—traditional or containerized—in private or public environments.

Market Position and Impact

VMware's products have profoundly impacted how businesses deploy and manage their IT infrastructure. By allowing organizations to virtualize and consolidate their server resources, VMware has helped reduce capital and operational costs, increase flexibility in managing IT resources, and improve disaster recovery strategies.

Innovation and Future Direction

VMware continues to innovate, particularly in areas like cloud computing, Kubernetes and container management through VMware Tanzu, and in advancing the software-defined data center (SDDC). VMware's approach towards embracing public cloud ecosystems, exemplified by partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure, showcases its commitment to supporting hybrid cloud environments, thereby offering more flexibility and choice to its customers.

VMware's journey from a single product offering to a comprehensive suite of solutions underscores its evolution into a key enabler of cloud infrastructure, digital workspace technology, and security. As businesses increasingly migrate towards cloud-native architectures and multi-cloud strategies, VMware's role in facilitating this transition while ensuring security and efficiency remains critical.

Pros of VMware

VMware's suite of products is renowned for its broad range of benefits across various IT environments, from small businesses to large enterprises. Here are the key advantages of VMware products:

1. Comprehensive Virtualization Solutions

VMware provides a full spectrum of virtualization solutions, including server, desktop, network, and storage virtualization. This comprehensive approach allows organizations to create a fully virtualized IT infrastructure that is efficient, scalable, and secure.

2. Advanced Features and Capabilities

VMware's products offer advanced features such as live migration of virtual machines (VMs) with vMotion, High Availability (HA), Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), and Fault Tolerance (FT). These capabilities ensure minimal downtime, balanced workloads across resources, and improved application availability.

3. Robust Security

Security is a cornerstone of VMware's offerings, with features like NSX for network security and micro-segmentation, which significantly enhances the security posture of virtual networks. VMware's focus on security extends to ensuring compliance with industry standards, providing a secure foundation for enterprise IT.

4. Efficient Resource Management

VMware products enable more efficient use of hardware resources, allowing organizations to reduce the number of physical servers needed through server consolidation. This efficiency translates into cost savings on hardware, energy, and maintenance.

5. Scalability

The scalability of VMware's solutions is a major advantage, allowing businesses to easily expand their virtual environments as their needs grow. VMware facilitates this scalability without compromising performance or security, making it suitable for businesses of all sizes.

6. Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Capabilities

VMware excels in offering hybrid and multi-cloud solutions, enabling organizations to seamlessly extend their on-premises infrastructure to public clouds like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. This flexibility supports a variety of cloud strategies, including cloud migration, disaster recovery, and application modernization.

7. Extensive Ecosystem and Integration

With a vast network of partners and a wide array of integrations, VMware's ecosystem allows customers to leverage additional technologies and services easily. This ecosystem supports a range of hardware, applications, and cloud services, enhancing VMware's versatility and utility.

8. Innovation and Future-Proofing

VMware is at the forefront of innovation in IT, with ongoing investments in areas such as Kubernetes orchestration, software-defined data centers (SDDC), and edge computing. By choosing VMware, organizations can future-proof their IT infrastructure with access to the latest technologies and trends.

9. Global Support and Community

VMware offers comprehensive global support and has a vast community of users, developers, and experts. This community provides valuable resources, best practices, and support to help customers maximize their investments in VMware products.

10. Enhanced Operational Efficiency

VMware's management tools and automation capabilities significantly enhance operational efficiency, reducing the time and effort required to manage virtual environments. Tools like vCenter Server for centralized management and automation scripts help streamline operations, making it easier to deploy, monitor, and manage virtual resources.

These advantages make VMware products a popular choice for organizations looking to optimize their IT infrastructure for better performance, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. Whether for server consolidation, cloud computing, application modernization, or business continuity, VMware offers solutions that meet a wide range of business needs.

Cons of VMware

While VMware's suite of products offers a wide range of benefits and is a leading choice in virtualization and cloud infrastructure solutions, there are also some considerations and potential drawbacks to be aware of. Here are some of the cons associated with VMware products:

1. Cost

One of the most commonly cited drawbacks of VMware products is their cost. Licensing fees for VMware's advanced features and capabilities can be significant, especially for small to medium-sized businesses. The total cost of ownership, including licenses, support, and maintenance, may be higher compared to some alternatives, particularly open-source solutions.

2. Complexity in Setup and Management

While VMware provides a comprehensive set of features and functionalities, the initial setup, configuration, and ongoing management of a VMware environment can be complex. This complexity requires skilled IT professionals who are familiar with VMware products, which may lead to additional training costs or the need to hire specialized staff.

3. Hardware Requirements

VMware's solutions, especially those designed for enterprise-level deployments, may have specific hardware requirements. This can include the need for compatible storage and network hardware to fully utilize features such as vSAN or NSX. Ensuring compatibility and optimal performance may necessitate investments in new or upgraded hardware.

4. Dependence on a Single Vendor

Adopting VMware's ecosystem can lead to vendor lock-in, where an organization becomes heavily dependent on VMware's products and technologies. This dependence can limit flexibility in choosing different vendors or solutions in the future and might affect negotiation leverage for pricing and support terms.

5. Resource Overhead

Running VMware's virtualization software introduces some level of resource overhead for management and operational functionalities. Although VMware is designed to optimize resource usage, the overhead can impact the total number of virtual machines (VMs) hosted on a single physical server compared to running them directly on bare metal.

6. Learning Curve

VMware's extensive feature set and the complexity of managing a virtualized or cloud infrastructure require a significant learning curve. IT staff may need to undergo comprehensive training to effectively manage and troubleshoot VMware environments, adding to the overall investment in the technology.

7. Limited Free Offerings

While VMware does offer a free version of its hypervisor, ESXi, the functionality is limited compared to the paid versions. Advanced features such as vMotion, High Availability (HA), and Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) are not available in the free version, which may not meet the needs of more demanding environments.

8. Focus on Enterprise Market

VMware's product development and marketing are primarily focused on the needs of enterprise customers. While this focus benefits large organizations, small businesses or individual users may find that the products are not tailored to their specific needs or budget constraints.

What is Hyper-V?

Hyper-V is a virtualization technology developed by Microsoft that allows users to create and manage virtual machines (VMs) on a Windows-based system. Introduced as a part of Windows Server 2008, it enables users to run multiple operating systems as VMs on a single physical server, effectively utilizing hardware and reducing costs by minimizing the need for additional physical machines.

Hyper-V operates as a hypervisor, which is a layer of software that sits between the hardware and the operating system, allowing for the isolation of different VMs. This isolation ensures that each VM operates independently, with its own virtualized hardware resources, such as CPU, memory, and storage, making it possible to run various operating systems and applications in a secure and efficient manner. Learn what is Hyper-V replication here!

Hyper-V overview

Hyper-V comes in two versions:

  1. Hyper-V on Windows Server: Designed for enterprise environments, offering a broad range of features geared towards scalability, security, and performance. It's suitable for managing a large number of VMs and offers features like failover clustering, live migration, and network virtualization.
  2. Hyper-V on Windows 10 and Windows 11: Aimed at developers and IT professionals who need to run multiple operating systems for testing or development purposes. While it offers many of the core virtualization features found in the server version, it is more limited in terms of scalability and enterprise-level functionalities.

Key features of Hyper-V include:

  • Live Migration: Allows the movement of running VMs from one physical host to another with minimal downtime.
  • Network Virtualization: Provides the ability to create virtual networks, improving network security and flexibility.
  • Storage Migration: Enables the transfer of VM storage from one location to another without downtime.
  • Dynamic Memory: Allows for the allocation of memory to VMs dynamically, based on their needs, improving resource utilization.
  • Virtual Hard Disk Format (VHDX): Supports larger disk sizes up to 64 TB and provides protection against data corruption.

Hyper-V is a cornerstone of Microsoft's virtualization and cloud strategies, providing a foundation for not only server virtualization but also various integrated services such as Azure cloud, where it supports scenarios like disaster recovery, flexible workloads deployment, and more. Its integration into the Windows ecosystem makes it an appealing choice for organizations heavily invested in Microsoft products and services.

Tip: learn how to convert VMware to Hyper-V!

Pros of Hyper-V

Hyper-V, Microsoft's virtualization platform, offers a range of benefits that make it an attractive option for many organizations and IT professionals. Here are some of the key advantages of using Hyper-V:

1. Cost-Effective

  • Hyper-V is included with Windows Server at no additional cost, providing a cost-effective virtualization solution for businesses already invested in Microsoft infrastructure. The integration with Windows Server eliminates the need for separate virtualization software purchases, offering significant savings.

2. Seamless Integration with Microsoft Ecosystem

  • Hyper-V offers tight integration with other Microsoft products and services, such as Active Directory, PowerShell, and Azure. This integration simplifies management and operation for organizations that are already using Microsoft infrastructure, providing a unified and efficient environment.

3. Easy to Use and Manage

  • Hyper-V features a straightforward and intuitive management interface through Hyper-V Manager and System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM). These tools provide a comprehensive environment for creating, managing, and configuring virtual machines, making virtualization accessible even to those with minimal experience.

4. Robust Security Features

  • Hyper-V includes strong security features, such as Shielded VMs and the Host Guardian Service, to protect against unauthorized access and ensure the security of virtual machines. These features are particularly beneficial in environments where security is a paramount concern.

5. Scalability

  • Hyper-V supports a scalable environment that can handle large and dynamic workloads. It supports significant hardware configurations, allowing businesses to scale their virtualization environment as their needs grow without compromising on performance.

6. High Availability and Disaster Recovery

  • Hyper-V includes features like failover clustering, live migration, and Replica, which support high availability and disaster recovery strategies. These features ensure minimal downtime and data loss, even in the event of hardware failures or disasters.

7. Versatile Networking Features

  • With Hyper-V, administrators can configure advanced network settings, including network virtualization, software-defined networking, and virtual switches. These features provide flexibility in managing network traffic and security, allowing for complex configurations tailored to specific needs.

8. Dynamic Resource Allocation

  • Hyper-V allows for dynamic allocation of computing resources such as CPU and memory to virtual machines based on their current workload, enhancing efficiency and optimizing resource utilization.

9. Broad Operating System Support

  • Hyper-V supports not only Windows operating systems but also a wide range of Linux distributions, offering versatility in hosting various applications and services on a single physical server.

10. Integration with Azure

  • Hyper-V offers strong integration with Azure, enabling hybrid cloud scenarios such as backup to Azure, site recovery, and the ability to move workloads easily from on-premises to Azure and vice versa. This flexibility supports organizations in adopting a cloud-first strategy while maintaining some workloads on-premises.
P.S. Learn more about Hyper-V integrated services here!

Cons of Hyper-V

While Hyper-V offers numerous benefits as a virtualization platform, there are also some limitations and challenges that organizations might encounter when adopting it. Understanding these cons can help in making a more informed decision about whether Hyper-V is the right fit for your specific needs. Here are some potential drawbacks of using Hyper-V:

1. Windows-Centric

  • Hyper-V is deeply integrated with the Windows ecosystem, which is advantageous for environments already committed to Microsoft technologies. However, this focus might limit its appeal for organizations with a diverse set of operating systems or those heavily invested in other platforms like Linux, despite Hyper-V's support for Linux guests.

2. Learning Curve

  • For IT professionals not already familiar with Windows Server and Microsoft's virtualization tools, there may be a learning curve involved in mastering Hyper-V and its management tools, such as Hyper-V Manager and System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM).

3. Hardware Compatibility

  • Hyper-V requires specific hardware features to be enabled, such as Intel VT or AMD-V for processor virtualization support. While most modern servers support these features, older hardware may not, potentially limiting Hyper-V's deployment on legacy systems.

4. Limited Free Version

  • The standalone version of Hyper-V Server is free, but it comes with limitations in terms of management tools and features compared to the full version included with Windows Server. Organizations looking for the advanced features may need to invest in Windows Server licenses, increasing costs.

5. Performance Overhead

  • As with any virtualization solution, running VMs on Hyper-V introduces some level of performance overhead compared to running applications natively on bare-metal hardware. While Hyper-V is optimized for efficiency, critical performance-sensitive applications might still experience slight degradation.

6. Complex Networking Setup

  • Setting up advanced networking configurations in Hyper-V, such as network virtualization or software-defined networking, can be complex and may require a deeper understanding of networking principles and Hyper-V's specific implementation of these features.

7. Vendor Lock-in

  • Investing heavily in Hyper-V and the broader Microsoft ecosystem can lead to vendor lock-in, making it challenging to migrate to other virtualization platforms or cloud services in the future without significant effort and potential costs.

8. Integration with Non-Microsoft Products

  • While Hyper-V integrates well with other Microsoft products, integration with non-Microsoft software and platforms might require additional configuration or third-party solutions, potentially complicating the IT environment.

9. Feature Parity with Competitors

  • While Hyper-V has significantly closed the gap with its main competitors, like VMware, in terms of features and capabilities, there may still be specific scenarios or advanced features where it lags behind, such as certain aspects of cross-platform support or third-party integrations.

10. Scalability Limits

  • Although Hyper-V is highly scalable, extremely large or complex environments might encounter scalability limits or require additional management overhead to maintain optimal performance and availability.

VMware VirtualBox vs Hyper-V: Technical Characteristics

Architecture comparison

When comparing VMware and Hyper-V in terms of their technical characteristics and architecture, it's important to understand the distinct approaches each takes to virtualization, as well as the implications for performance, scalability, compatibility, and management. Here’s a detailed comparison based on several key architectural aspects:

1. Hypervisor Type

  • VMware: VMware’s ESXi is a Type 1 hypervisor, which means it runs directly on the bare-metal hardware without the need for an underlying operating system. This approach is known for providing high performance and efficiency because it allows direct access to physical hardware resources.
  • Hyper-V: Hyper-V can be considered both Type 1 and Type 2, depending on the deployment. Hyper-V on Windows Server operates as a Type 1 hypervisor, running directly on the hardware, similar to ESXi. However, when installed on Windows 10 or Windows 11 for development purposes, it behaves more like a Type 2 hypervisor, running on top of the OS, although it still maintains many characteristics of Type 1 hypervisors in terms of performance and capability.

2. Core Architecture and Management

  • VMware: VMware uses vCenter Server for centralized management of virtual environments. This provides a unified interface for resource management, monitoring, and automation across multiple ESXi hosts and VMs. VMware's architecture is designed for high scalability and enterprise-grade deployments.
  • Hyper-V: Hyper-V integrates with Windows Server and uses Hyper-V Manager for basic management tasks, and System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) for more advanced, scalable management across multiple Hyper-V hosts. The integration with Windows means it can leverage existing Windows-based infrastructure for authentication, management, and networking.

3. Networking

  • VMware: VMware’s network virtualization platform, NSX, offers advanced networking features, including micro-segmentation for enhanced security, load balancing, and the ability to create complex multi-tier virtual networks independently of the underlying physical network hardware.
  • Hyper-V: Hyper-V includes virtual switch capabilities and integrates with Microsoft’s network virtualization solutions, offering flexible networking configurations, including software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities. While powerful, it may be seen as less comprehensive compared to VMware’s NSX in terms of features and ecosystem integration.

4. Storage

  • VMware: VMware’s vSAN integrates with ESXi to provide software-defined storage that pools direct-attached storage devices across a cluster to create a shared data store for VMs. It supports a range of storage policies for performance and availability.
  • Hyper-V: Hyper-V uses Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) and traditional SAN and NAS solutions for storage. S2D enables software-defined storage capabilities similar to vSAN, allowing for the pooling of storage resources across servers.

5. Performance and Scalability

  • VMware: Known for its high performance and scalability, VMware can support large-scale virtual environments with thousands of VMs and extensive resource allocations per VM, making it suitable for enterprise-level deployments.
  • Hyper-V: Also capable of supporting large virtual environments, Hyper-V has made significant strides in performance and scalability, particularly with recent versions. While it may have some limitations compared to VMware in extremely large deployments, it remains a robust solution for many enterprise scenarios.

6. Licensing and Cost

  • VMware: Licensing for VMware can be more expensive, especially for advanced features and capabilities. The cost includes licenses for ESXi hosts and vCenter Server, along with optional components like NSX and vSAN.
  • Hyper-V: Hyper-V comes included with Windows Server, potentially offering a more cost-effective solution, especially for organizations already invested in Microsoft licensing agreements. Advanced features are included, but managing larger environments effectively may require additional Microsoft products, like SCVMM.

7. Ecosystem and Integration

  • VMware: Boasts a vast ecosystem of third-party integrations, tools, and solutions, making it highly adaptable to various IT environments and needs.
  • Hyper-V: Benefits from tight integration with other Microsoft products and services, including Azure, making it an appealing choice for organizations deeply invested in the Microsoft ecosystem.

Memory comparison

Memory management and optimization are critical components of any virtualization platform, affecting the performance, efficiency, and scalability of virtualized environments. VMware and Hyper-V employ different technologies and strategies for handling memory in virtual machines (VMs). Here's a comparison of their approaches to memory management:

VMware Memory Management

  • Transparent Page Sharing (TPS): VMware used to leverage TPS extensively, which deduplicates identical memory pages among VMs on the same host. However, due to security concerns, its use is now more restricted by default, primarily within the same VM.
  • Ballooning: VMware uses a mechanism called ballooning through a balloon driver installed with VMware Tools in the guest OS. This method allows the hypervisor to reclaim idle memory from one VM and allocate it to others that need more resources, without the guest OS being aware of the reduction.
  • Memory Compression: Before swapping occurs, VMware tries to compress memory pages in a VM's RAM. Compressed pages take up less space, allowing more data to reside in physical RAM and reducing the need for swapping to disk, which can degrade performance.
  • Swapping: VMware ESXi can directly swap out idle memory pages from a VM's memory to a swap file on disk. While effective in managing memory under contention, swapping can lead to performance penalties due to disk I/O.

Hyper-V Memory Management

  • Dynamic Memory: Hyper-V introduced Dynamic Memory to allow the allocation of memory to VMs dynamically, based on demand. With settings like startup RAM, minimum RAM, and maximum RAM, administrators can configure VMs to utilize memory resources more efficiently.
  • Smart Paging: Used during VM restarts when there isn't enough physical RAM available to meet the startup RAM requirement. Smart Paging uses disk-based paging to provide the necessary memory temporarily until the VM can release enough memory to operate within its minimum RAM settings.
  • Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) Support: Both VMware and Hyper-V support NUMA, which optimizes memory usage on multi-processor systems by localizing memory allocations to specific CPUs where possible. This reduces memory access times and can improve performance for memory-intensive applications.

Comparison and Considerations

  • Efficiency and Performance: Both VMware and Hyper-V have efficient memory management techniques, but the specific mechanisms they use differ. VMware's approach, with features like TPS and memory compression, can lead to high memory overcommitment levels with minimal impact on performance. Hyper-V relies more on dynamic adjustments to actual memory usage, which can be simpler to manage but might offer less flexibility in overcommitment scenarios.
  • Configuration and Management: Hyper-V's Dynamic Memory offers a straightforward way to adjust memory allocation based on demand, which can be particularly useful in environments with varying workload intensities. VMware's memory management requires more understanding of the underlying mechanisms but offers a high degree of control and optimization.
  • Use Case Suitability: The choice between VMware and Hyper-V for memory management might come down to the specific needs of your environment. VMware might be better suited for high-density virtual environments where maximizing resource utilization is crucial. Hyper-V might be preferred in scenarios where straightforward configuration and integration with Windows-based infrastructures are prioritized.

VMware Snapshots vs Hyper-V Checkpoints

VMware snapshots and Hyper-V checkpoints are powerful features that allow administrators to save the state of a virtual machine (VM) at a specific point in time. These functionalities are crucial for various purposes, including backup, testing, and recovery scenarios. Despite their similar end goals, the underlying technology and implementation have some differences. Understanding these can help users and administrators make the most of these features while being aware of their limitations.

VMware Snapshots

  • Functionality: VMware snapshots capture the entire state of the VM, including the content of its RAM, the settings, and the state of all the virtual disks at a specific point in time. When a snapshot is taken, VMware freezes the current VM disk file and creates a new delta disk file where all subsequent changes are stored. This allows the VM to continue operating without interruption, with changes recorded in the new delta file.
  • Use Cases: Ideal for short-term changes like testing software updates, configuration changes, or updates that might need to be rolled back.
  • Performance Impact: While a snapshot is active, performance may be slightly degraded due to the need to write changes to a delta file. The impact increases with the number and age of snapshots, as each read operation might need to check multiple delta files.
  • Management: VMware recommends limiting the use of snapshots to short periods and having a minimal number of snapshots per VM to avoid performance degradation and excessive storage use. Snapshots can be merged (committed) or deleted, which consolidates the changes back into the original virtual disk files.

Hyper-V Checkpoints

  • Functionality: Hyper-V checkpoints (formerly known as snapshots) serve a similar purpose, allowing administrators to capture the state, data, and hardware configuration of a running VM. Hyper-V implements two types of checkpoints: standard and production.
    • Standard Checkpoints: Capture the state, data, and hardware configuration of a VM but do not include the contents of the VM's RAM. They're useful for test environments but might not be suitable for production because they can result in an inconsistent state of applications that were running.
    • Production Checkpoints: Use Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) or file-system freeze on Linux VMs to create a data-consistent checkpoint without capturing the memory state. These are more suitable for production environments as they ensure application consistency.
  • Use Cases: Checkpoints are used for similar scenarios as VMware snapshots, such as testing updates or changes with the ability to quickly revert to a previous state. The choice between standard and production checkpoints provides flexibility depending on the need for application consistency.
  • Performance Impact: Like VMware, Hyper-V checkpoints can affect performance, especially if many checkpoints are kept for a long time. The system needs to manage and track changes in separate files, which can increase disk space usage and affect overall VM performance.
  • Management: Hyper-V also recommends careful management of checkpoints, advising against excessive reliance on them for long-term VM management. Checkpoints should be deleted or applied as appropriate to maintain optimal performance and reduce storage consumption.

Key Differences

  • Checkpoint Types: Hyper-V offers two distinct types of checkpoints (standard and production), providing options based on the need for application consistency. VMware snapshots are more uniform, focusing on capturing the complete state at a moment in time.
  • Implementation and Performance: Both VMware and Hyper-V use a similar underlying mechanism for snapshots and checkpoints, creating new files for changes post-capture. However, the performance impact and best practices for managing snapshots/checkpoints can vary based on the virtualization platform, the workload of the VM, and the storage infrastructure.
  • Application Consistency: Hyper-V's production checkpoints leverage VSS (or similar mechanisms on Linux) to ensure application-consistent backups, which is particularly important for databases and other transactional applications. VMware achieves application consistency through integration with backup solutions that use VMware's APIs.
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