I’ve been reading up on loads of articles dealing with the differences and similarities between hypervisors. Lots of these articles compare different hypervisor performance-wise.

Here are some of the blogposts comparing hypervisors and/or management tools:

At work, I am responsible for all projects and initiatives handling virtualization. This includes (but is not limited to) VMware ESX and vCenter, Microsoft Hyper-V and SCVMM, Citrix XenServer en XenServer Essentials. I also train collegues to use these virtualisation solutions. Therefore, I need to be up to date on all the vendor’s products and solutions.

One thing that surprised me, is the ongoing battle between the hypervisors. Which is the fastest, which has the most complete feature-set? As you can read in the articles linked above and other resources on the web, it seems to be a big deal to compare Hyper-V (both the GA and the beta R2), VMware Infrastructure 3, VMware vSphere and Citrix XenServer.

As a techie, I really like these discussions, and like to replicate the situations and scenario’s described in these posts to check the facts and play around. As a VMware-enthosiast I still root voor ESX, although I do like to explore new possibilities with all the hypervisors out there.

As a manager virtualization, I don’t actually use or even care for these posts: I focus on the ‘higher-level’ comparisons, i.e. the management tools. I’ve been beaten to death with terms like ‘single pane of glass management’, ‘unified management’, ‘multi-hypervisor management’, etcetera.

Both Microsoft, Red Hat and Citrix have announced and are working on ways to enable multi-hypervisor management for their respective tools.

Eric Gray over at VCritical has made an excellent post yesterday about this unified management thing: “Managing VI3 with SCVMM considered harmful“. Microsoft’s Rakesh Malhotra almost immediately responded with a rather hefty post: “SCVMM 2008 and VMware management – we must be doing something right…“. He attacks each and every single point Eric has reased in the last couple of months, comparing both hypervisors and management tools. Yesterday’s post covered Microsoft SCVMM’s ability to manage VMware Infrastructure environments, and concluded it is doing a poor job. Rakesh countered aggresively by concentrating more on the ‘manager of managers’ point of view.

I really enjoy these discussions about the management tools comparisons, as these will ultimately make the difference in choosing your virtual environment. My point with this post is actually to warn all of those tech guys out there for the temptations of single pane of glass management. You will find that using a single pane of glass management system will almost always decrease the functionality, but will increase the manageability.

So if you don’t care about the loss of some functionality (like templates when managing VI3 with SCVMM), go with the flow and hype up your virtual infrastructure using unified multi-hypervisor management. If you’re interested using your environments to the fullest, get used to having both the VIClient and SCVMM opened on your workstation to get the job done.

My opinion: if you’re paying for it, use it. I categorize myself in the latter group, caring more for full functionality (for which I’ve paid good money) instead of having just one view of the complete environment. Paying extra to lose functionality just doesn’t seem right to me.