Hoster kicks out VMware, Xen for Windows Hyper-V

Cutting off air supplies

Expressnet managing director Simon Holman

Expressnet managing director Simon Holman

Microsoft may have been late to the server virtualisation party, but it’s Hyper-V beginning to see success up against the more established VMware and Xen hypervisors.

Adelaide-based Windows hosting company Expressnet first dabbled with virtualisation with Virtuozzo, but, according to managing director Simon Holman, the stability and performance was inadequate.

"Software services were not restarting when we restarted the server," Holman told TechWorld.

Expressnet then investigated VMware and Xen, but "wasn’t overly convinced" at the suitability of those products either.

When Hyper-V came out as part of Windows Server 2008, Holman was impressed with the beta version of it.

"We rolled out a Dell server as a test bed for Hyper-V and we were testing virtualisation from a customer product offering point of view and for our own systems," he said.

The trial was successful and Expressnet went into production and now has customers looking for virtual dedicated servers.

"Customers are happy with performance and its even taken me by surprise," Holman said, adding another server is now being brought online for virtual machines.

The hardware is Dell 2950 servers with two quad-core Xeon processors and 16GB and 32GB of memory, respectively.

The 16GB machine is running 12 VMs and it is anticipated the 32GB machine will run 20 VMs.

Holman said one of the restricting factors of Hyper-V is that it pre-allocates RAM so as soon as the VM is started it allocates the memory to a particular VM and can’t be changed without a re-configuration and reboot.

"Xen and VMware can do that but the performance benefit we are getting outweighs that," he said. "The shut down and boot times are faster in virtual environment and only takes about 40 seconds."

Holman said Hyper-V is lacking in management tools; however, Microsoft has released the its System Centre VM Manager which makes it easier to do advances features like cloning VMs and templating.

"The performance monitoring we did was fairly loose. We ran Xen 4.1 and ESX 3.5 on two boxes with 2GB of RAM and it was more of a gut-feel scenario than proper benchmarking. We found VMware and Xen was the slowest."

Expressnet also leaned towards Hyper-V as a result of legal uncertainty with hosted VMs on VMware.

"In the terms and conditions it was a bit ambiguous whether you can offer the product how we wanted with the base-level ESX server," Holman said. "But that was a secondary concern. We were looking at performance and cost."

Holman also praised the "point-and-click" installation of Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008 data centre edition, which took about 20 minutes. But the virtual network adapters had to be set up manually.

The data centre edition of Server 2008 allows unlimited VMs to be hosted on the physical machine.

The guest operating systems are Windows Server 2008 as it was unclear of Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003 licence allowed migration of a physical system to a virtual one.

Holman has been trying to get a hold of Microsoft’s Linux integration tools for Hyper-V for some compatibility testing, but "they seem exceptionally hard to find".

"Virtualising saves me a lot of time and resources and we’re using less power and servers," he said.

Tags xenhyper-vwindows server 2008virtualisationVMware




Seriously, how much did they pay for this advertisement

Are you kidding me, did you actually write a review of VMware vs MSFT based off a 100% MSFT house? So the director of IT at any company is going to a production environment of a basically beta version vs. that of a technology that has been built upon for 10 years. Who needs management capabilities, who needs a business continuity/disaster recovery plan when you have such a stable solution in hyper-v? I'll stick with VMW and keep my data center up and running...I'll also keep my job, sleep at night and know that my customers will be in good hands.



who are you kidding?

For Hyper-V
>The 16GB machine is running 12 VMs and it is anticipated the 32GB machine will run 20 VMs.

and VMware/Xen
>The performance monitoring we did was fairly loose. We ran Xen 4.1 and ESX 3.5 on two boxes with >2GB of RAM

Gimme a break! Tell me, what did your Hyper-V testbed look like? Does Hyper-V _even_ boot on a box with 2GB of memory? How much RAM is given to the Hyper-V VMs out of the 16 or 32 GB, and how much RAM was given to the Xen/VMware vms from the _2_ GB ?

Yes, your performance <cough>monitoring</cough> is absolutely loose.

Mike DiPetrillo


How About the Correct Title?

First, change the title. VMware and Xen weren't kicked out - they were never in there. VIrtuozzo (not even in the tile by the way) was the one that was kicked out.

Second, you tried to do an eval with a box with 2 GB of RAM? For real? I know you have money since you're running a hosting company. And you're surprised that Microsoft did better when it was running on a system with 16 GB of RAM?

Please, if you aren't even serious about a product then why even test it? Just take your pretty Microsoft check, cash it, and be done with it. And for the person writing the article - shame on you. You really need to try harder in the future. At least we get a good example of how to write a bad article for journalism class next time.

Simon Holman


Clarifaction of article

There seems to be some confusion by the three people who have posted comments over the testing procedure that was used when testing the virtualisation platforms.

All three platforms were tested on the same host server which was running 8 GB of RAM with two virtual machines each with 2 GB of RAM. One running SQL 2005 and the other running Windows 2008 Standard with IIS 7.0. So the evaluation platform was standard across VMWare, Xen and Hyper-V. This ensured that both running VM's had the same resources and that the host server had ample resources in reserve. This may not have been explained properly in the article.

If anyone has any concerns over the testing procedure or the results then I invite them to contact me directly via the Expressnet website at to discuss further.


Simon Holman
Managing Director

Ryan Scherer


Website hosting

Hi Folks,

My Name is Ryan Scherer, Director of operations at iRAW Design. I just thought I would post here in support of Expressnet's quality hosting and service. We are in the process of moving our clients to Expressnet’s hosting. DotNetNuke is known for the slow start up speed in the application pool as a .net application but this does not seem to be a problem on Expressnet's hosting. We operate a gold coast and <a href="">Brisbane website design</a> company in Queensland and have complete faith in Expressnet’s reliability and QOS they provide for a very reasonable cost. Be sure to consider Expressnet when you are searching for a host.

<strong>If anybody has any questions or does doubt the technology and how it works, please feel free to contact me or simply call me as I am happy to speak to anybody who has concerns. </strong>

Ryan Scherer

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