Hyper-V vs ESXi – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons)

Hyper-V vs ESXi – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons). Virtualization allows many virtual machines (VMs) to share a single hardware. All in all, virtualization also helps with resource and IT management, enhances business continuity, and speeds up hardware and software delivery. It also dramatically lowers expenses.

It is a hypervisor that offers virtualization benefits and you install it directly on the hardware. The most popular hypervisors are Hyper-V and VMware ESXi. In this article, we’ll look at their differences and compare both.

Shall we start this article blog about Hyper-V vs ESXi – What’s the Difference ? 

What is Hyper-V?

Primarily, Hyper-V, allows the creation and operation of a software virtual machine (VM). With Hyper-V, numerous virtual machines run simultaneously on a single computer, each with its operating system. 

Microsoft Hyper-V is a Type 1 Hypervisor in addition to being a Type 2 Hypervisor. In Hyper-V, there are parent and child partitions. The host OS is run on the parent partition, while each child partition is a virtual machine (VM) with an installed guest operating system. The same hardware resources are used by the host, the VMs, and both.

It is possible to create many virtual machines on a single Hyper-V host. You can also check out Azure Hyper-V and understand how to set it up on the Azure cloud platform. Three versions of Hyper-V are available: Hyper-V for Windows Servers, Hyper-V Servers, and Hyper-V for Windows 10

Importantly, Hyper-V for Windows Servers is a property of the Windows Server operating system. As with Hyper-V for Windows Servers, Hyper-V Servers is a standalone program that you may use to administer virtual and dedicated server instances. 

The version of Hyper-V that operates on your laptop also runs on Windows 10. You require a 64-bit OS to enable Hyper-V on your Windows device. Hence, Windows 10 is not the only option, though. Windows 8.1 also functions.

Features of Hyper-V

  • All of the components in your personal computers, (processors, networking, storage, and memory) are present in the virtual machine. Every element has different options and features you configure per requirement.
  • It makes a replica of the virtual machines for disaster control and stores it physically elsewhere to restore later. There are two backup solutions in Hyper-V. The 1 technique uses saved states, while the second method uses Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), which create backups with the applications that VSS supports.
  • Hyper-V’s shielded VM feature utilizes BitLocker technology. Above all, it secures virtual machines from malware attacks and data tampering attempts. Secure Boot is another security feature that protects virtual machines against unauthorized access, even from system administrators. The virtual computers are insulated, and the booting procedure is secure, protecting them from viruses and unauthorized access to the virtual machine or its data.
  • You mobilize a virtual machine from one Hyper-V host to another using the Live Migration feature of Hyper-V without pausing any active programs. Storage migration allows administrators to migrate or distribute a VM’s filesystem (including virtual disk files, configuration files, paging files, etc.) across separate storage locations without downtime. 

Pros of Hyper-V

  • Increases productivity.  One administrator oversees the data from the data center in many businesses with over 100 servers. Managing this data becomes quite simple when you deploy virtualization in such an organization. 
  • Replicating servers across a secure VPN or WAN is made simpler by the Windows Hyper-V Replica capability.  Therefore, a greatest technique to safeguard your servers against disaster.
  • Ability to make use of a variety of tools. Combining all these characteristics allows you to complete jobs that typically take days, weeks, or months in only a few minutes. That leads to cost savings and agility.
  • Only the more recent versions of VMware vSphere offer a few of the advanced features seen in Hyper-V. The Windows hypervisor is superior to alternative hypervisors in every way, including features supplied, ecosystem, and level of company provided solution comfort.
  •  Live VM migration between hosts has become simpler, thanks to Windows Hyper-V. Simply, move the virtual storage of an active virtual machine from one VM storage repository to another using the new Storage Migration functionality. 

Cons of Hyper-V

  • Problem with licensing. You need to buy separate licenses for each operating system you install on a virtual machine. This is costly, if there is more than one virtual machine. 
  • Inability to run additional servers like Windows Server 2008 host. Hence, the virtual machine lacks a graphical user interface and relies on a command line interface. So, the administration must be carried out in the form of commands.
  • Servers in Hyper-V virtual machines tend to consume more hardware resources than physical service. Users cannot run Hyper-V on a machine lower than 1Ghz of processing power. In addition, the hardware components in your computer must support virtualization. For example, the processor should be 64bit and compatible with virtualization acceleration technologies like Intel VT or AMD Virtualization.
  • Hyper-V, Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 and Virtual PC 2003 all use the same file format VHD to create files. Therefore, you use the files created conveniently in between them. But the virtual hardware components used in those operating systems cannot be used in Hyper-V, unless you update their drivers. This file format is a major problem in the latest virtualization operating systems such as Windows Server 2012. This operating system requires an advanced VHDX file format rather than VHD.
  • Some still face compatibility issues. One popular example is Microsoft 365. Even some third party software vendors do not support Hypervisor.

Next with Hyper-V vs ESXi – What’s the Difference ? we introduce ESXi.

What is VMware ESXi?

Basically, a bare metal hypervisor created by VMware for vSphere is VMware ESXi.  One of the key elements of the VMware infrastructure software package is ESXi. Because ESXi is a Type 1 hypervisor, it operates without an operating system on system hardware. Type 1 hypervisors are sometimes known as bare metal hypervisors. On a physical server, hypervisors make it easier to efficiently run several VMs.

Basically, small businesses, individuals and corporations are the target markets for ESXi. The VMkernel of ESXi communicates with VMware agents and authorized third party modules directly. Besides, administrators can upgrade VMware ESXi with the Lifecycle Manager plug-in and configure it using a vSphere client.

Direct installation of ESXi occurs on a local drive in the host computer. A resource request is sent to the physical hardware of the host when a VMkernel receives it. You can also create new VMs in ESXi 7.0.

Features of VMware ESXi

  • Set up a single ESXi hypervisor to handle up to 128 virtual CPUs and 120 devices on 6 Terabytes of RAM. The Virtual Machine File System (VMFS), a high performance cluster file system included in ESXi, enables additional storage resources to be distributed despite having little physical storage. 
  • On VMware ESXi, encrypted data is enabled by default, increasing security by making decryption more difficult. Certainly, this secure environment has a comprehensive logging system to find and address problems. Additionally, vSphere‘s Tasks and Events tab offers the opportunity to audit security and quickly locate changes.
  • The resource over allocation of servers is simple with VMware ESXi. Build servers to test and fine tune new upgrades for compatibility and increased resource utilization. To host the finished project, production servers and test servers are present. Because each server instance is distinct, a more private testing environment is possible.
  • Scaling the environment is one of the most frequent tasks in VMware ESXi. Easy to do as your business expands. By scaling, you can increase the amount of CPU, RAM, and storage available to handle resource intensive workloads. A reboot is necessary to guarantee that settings are properly reallocated after each upgrade on hardware.
  • Since VMware ESXi is a minimal application for creating virtual machines, deployment is easy and fast. It uses bare metal or dedicated physical resources, making workloads easy to manage.

We navigate to pros and cons of ESXi of this article blog Hyper-V vs ESXi – What’s the Difference ?.

Pros of VMware ESXi

  • Vmware advertises ESXi as the smallest Hypervisor in the world at just 150 MB. In addition to being simpler to maintain, a small footprint frequently signifies a decreased attack surface from outside threats. Additionally, this implies that ESXi does not require routine patching.
  • Built in encryption protects the data in your VMs from snoopers. Create role based access and robust logging and auditing tools.
  • Due to ESXi’s prominence as an enterprise platform, many hardware suppliers and application partners support it, and it is compatible with various software programs and guest operating systems.

Cons of VMware ESXi

  • One of the downsides of VMware ESXi is that it gives fewer configuration files. It offers a few configuration options to maintain its size. 
  • You might experience reduced performance with VMware ESXi. Overhead created with additional CPU work, and OS calls might cause an application to slow down in a virtual machine.
  • With vCenter, a centralized server for managing hosts and virtual machines, you cannot administer the free version of an ESXi server. The error “License not available to operate” is likely to appear if you attempt to add an ESXi host with a free license to the vCenter Server. Hence, you cannot migrate machines from one free ESXi host to another and use clustering features because the vCenter Server needs to perform these operations. This is a significant disadvantage if you plan to use multiple ESXi hosts.

Up next with Hyper-V vs ESXi – What’s the Difference ? is the comparison of the two tools.

Differences between Hyper-V and VMware ESXi



Well comparing the license of Hyper-V vs ESXi – What’s the Difference ? Here, the Hyper-V is bundled with Windows Server 2012 by Microsoft. A single Datacenter license permits the host to run an infinite number of VMs and up to two CPU cores. In addition, the Data center license enables Windows Server 2012 to run on the host without needing an extra OS license. A Windows Server license includes all of Hyper-V’s essential features.

VMware ESXi

Certainly, vSphere licenses are used to license ESXi hosts. You use a specific amount of each vSphere license to license several physical CPUs on ESXi hosts. One CPU license now covers one CPU with about 32 cores as of vSphere 7.0. You need more CPU licenses if а CPU possesses more than 32 cores.



Certainly, Hyper-V’s pricing depends on the number of cores on the host and may be preferred by smaller companies. Also free to download and can be used without limitations on the host’s CPUs, RAM or storage. But while the Hypervisor itself is free, the management layer is provided at an extra charge.

VMware ESXi

Comparatively, with ESXi, and Windows and Linux desktops may run virtual machines using VMware Player, which is free. A 60-day free trial is available for other VMware products. VMware charges per processor, and its pricing structure might appeal to larger organizations. 



Strong security features offered by Hyper-V include guarded fabric, host guardian service (HGS), encrypted networks, and generation of two VMs with a Virtual Trusted Platform module (vTPM)

VMware ESXi

VMware has more effective security measures by default as enterprise grade virtualization technology. The following security features protect the ESXi hypervisor; Host firewall, Host level security capabilities, Secure defaults, Host Certificates, UEFI Secure Boot, and Strong encryption



Hyper-V uses many different storage types and storage connectivity and configuration methods. This affords it a great deal of flexibility at the expense of presenting a maze of choices. You can either use locally attached storage or removable storage.

VMware ESXi

ESXi hosts support host level storage virtualization, which abstracts the physical storage layer from virtual machines. ESXi supports the following storage technologies: Fibre Channel, Direct-attached storage, Internet SCSI, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), and Network attached storage.

Migration Tool


A Hyper-V feature in Windows Server is live migration. It enables seamless switching of active Virtual Machines between Hyper-V hosts with no noticeable downtime. Flexibility is the main advantage of live migration because virtual machines do not depend on a single host machine.

VMware ESXi

Live workload migration from one Server to another with minimal downtime is possible with VMware ESXi vMotion. It is feasible to use this feature with vSwitches, Clusters, and even clouds (depending on your ESXi edition). The program continues to function, and users continue to have access to the systems they require during the workload migration.

Management Utilities


Tools for managing Hyper server performance are needed for Windows Hyper V management. One such tool is the Hyper-V Manager, a virtual machine management tool included with Microsoft Hyper-V. It is a simple utility that enables you to manage virtual machines (VMs), virtual hard disks (VHDs), and more.

VMware ESXi

A set of tools called VMware Tools helps manage virtual machines more effectively and improves the performance of the guest operating system. Even while the guest operating system functions without VMware Tools, you can only use many VMware capabilities after VMware Tools have been installed. For instance, you cannot utilize the shutdown or restart options from the toolbar if VMware Tools are not installed on your virtual machine. Only the power options are available. 

Thank you for reading Hyper-V vs ESXi – What’s the Difference ? We shall conclude this article now. 

Hyper-V vs ESXi - What's the Difference ? (Pros and Cons) Conclusion

As businesses begin to virtualize networks, abstracting virtual machines become common. Summarizing, Virtualization platforms like VMware ESXi and Hyper-V make building and operating virtual environments possible. Both have acquired a broad following, and many organizations have come to depend on these solutions.

However, it is natural to feel overwhelmed about choosing because they are both extremely powerful hypervisors on which you can run your enterprise data center workloads. Each has various characteristics that serve as the basis for choosing the Hypervisor for running your enterprise data centers.

Take a look at more Hyper-V content in our blog over here

Avatar for Kamso Oguejiofor
Kamso Oguejiofor

Kamso is a mechanical engineer and writer with a strong interest in anything related to technology. He has over 2 years of experience writing on topics like cyber security, network security, and information security. When he’s not studying or writing, he likes to play basketball, work out, and binge watch anime and drama series.

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