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

Hyper-V vs vSphere – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons). Both Hyper-V and vSphere are virtualization software tools that help run simulated versions of your IT resources. They are reliable, dynamic, and scalable virtualization platforms you can rely on to virtualize your IT environment. Through virtualization, you can run simulated versions of your data, network, storage, desktop, server and applications.

This article about Hyper-V vs vSphere – What’s the Difference? It discusses both Hyper-V and vSphere tools their features and finally talks about differences. Read on!

What is Hyper-V?

Hyper-V is a virtualization platform from Microsoft that enables IT users to virtualize their physical IT resources. It is a hypervisor that enables users to create virtual versions of a computer, known as a virtual machine. The virtual machine works like a computer, enabling you to run programs and operating systems.

The hypervisor manages the interactions between virtual and hardware resources. It runs each virtual machine in its own space. Therefore, you can run multiple machines on the same hardware simultaneously.

How Hyper-V Works

Well Hyper-V is based on hypervisor technology. It manages the interaction between hardware and virtual machines and gives the isolated environment in which they run. Each virtual machine runs on virtual hardware. With Hyper-V it can create virtual devices such as switches and hard drives.

There are three versions of Hyper-V. These are:

Hyper-V Server. A Hyper-V server allows you to virtualize both your hybrid cloud and data center. Provides enhanced features so you can run critical workloads with high performance and scale. This standalone product contains virtualization components, Windows Server, driver model, and the Windows hypervisor.

Hyper-V for Windows 10. This version is available on 64-bit versions of Windows 10 Education, Enterprise and Pro. However, it’s not available on the Windows 10 Home edition. Primarily the Hyper-V on Windows 10 enables you to run virtualized systems on top of a physical host. Consequently, you can run virtualized systems like physical computers.

Hyper-V on Windows Server. This version enables you to create a virtualized computing environment. In this environment, you can create and manage virtual machines. Also allows you to isolate operating systems and run them on one computer.

Features of Hyper-V

Features of Hyper-V enable seamless virtualization. Some of these features include:

Computing Environment

Firstly Hyper-V includes all the basic computing resources. These include a processor, networking, storage and memory. You can configure these resources to meet your needs.

Remote Connectivity

Remote connection of Hyper-V has a tool known as Virtual Machine Connection that you can use with both Linux and Windows. This tool provides access to the console, allowing you to see what’s happening in the operating system.


Portability features of Hyper-V has such as import/export, storage migration and live migration. These features help you distribute or move the virtual machine easily.

Disaster Recovery and Data Backup

Replica in Hyper-V allows you to create copies of virtual machines that you can store in other physical locations. As a result, you can restore the copies in case you lose your original versions.

Pros of Hyper-V

Here are some of the advantages of using Hyper-V:

  • Virtual machines help improve business continuity by reducing server downtime.
  • You can create a virtual switch at no extra cost.
  • Supports multiple operating systems.
  • Integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft products.
  • Allows users to scale IT infrastructure to meet the demand of larger workloads.
  • Supports up to 1,024 virtual machines on a single host.
  • Provides real time replication of VMs to remote hosts.

Cons of Hyper-V

  • Poor support for Linux OS
  • The standalone edition has licensing issues.
  • Requires lots of memory and CPU.

Now in Hyper-V vs vSphere – What’s the Difference? it is time to get to know vSphere.

What is vSphere?

vSphere is VMware’s server virtualization software. A suite of virtualization tools that includes vCenter and ESXI hypervisor. Tools such as VMware vSphere encompasses multiple products that enable full infrastructure virtualization.

Moreover vSphere gives you leading virtualization technology. Use it to build, run, manage and do other wide range of IT resources. Designed to enable IT teams to run applications cost effectively and efficiently.

How vSphere Works

The core virtualization software is VSphere ESXi . An enterprise grade hypervisor capable of creating virtual instances of your physical resources. During virtualization, the hypervisor is installed on the physical server. Once installed, vSphere simulates the physical server, creating virtual computers known as virtual machines on the physical server. These virtual machines are isolated software containers with an operating system and application inside. You can also run containerized clusters in Kubernetes just as you’d run VMs.

Features of vSphere

There is wide variety of features with VMware vSphere . These include:

Software Development Kits(SDKs)

Bundle in vSphere containing software development kits (SDKs). These SDKs are released as open source, enabling system administrators, automation engineers and developers to build world class solutions on VMware. Secondly vSphere has SDKs for computer virtualization, cloud management, hyperconverged infrastructure, storage and more. These SDKs provide you all the libraries, documentation, and code examples that developers need to build world class solutions.

Live Migration

Vmotion in vSphere allows you to migrate virtual machines between hosts while running. Therefore, you don’t have to shut the virtual machine and suspend business processes.

High Availability

There is high availability feature that delivers the availability needed for applications running on VMs. That feature provides uniform failover protection against OS and hardware outages in your virtualized IT environment. Additionally it clusters both hosts and VMs, and monitors for failures. When a failure occurs, it restarts the virtual machine on failed hosts on alternate hosts.

Fault Tolerance

During outages, the vSphere Fault Tolerance provides continuous availability. What’s more it safeguards each of your virtual machine with up to four CPUs. Tanks to this feature it provides a live shadow instance mirroring the virtual machine, preventing you data loss and downtime. After normalcy is restored, FT creates a secondary VM.

Distributed Resource Scheduler

The vSphere DRS helps you to manage workloads by grouping hosts into clusters. By clustering, you give your workloads highly available resources. The clusters also help scale and manage computing resources without suffering service disruption. By all means, it balances I/O and storage capacity across data stores.

Pros of vSphere

Here are some of the advantages of vSphere:

  • High availability helps manage VMs easily.
  • You do not need an external OS to manage components.
  • Creates VMs for multiple OS environments.
  • Enables businesses to utilize hardware resources efficiently.
  • Easily scales up vSphere to create additional resources that you need to run applications.

Cons of vSphere

Here are some downsides of vSphere:

  • Limited free trial.
  • Technical background is required to handle vSphere.
  • Relatively high licensing costs.
  • No hardware monitoring.

Hyper-V vs vSphere Differences

Now that we have the features, pros and cons of both Hyper-V and vSphere, it’s best to look at the differences. Here are some of the things that set Hyper-V and vSphere apart:

Memory Management Features

First thing Hyper-V uses a single memory technique known as “Dynamic Memory.” Using this technology, you can add or release the VM memory to the Host. This feature reduces memory consumption as the VMs use the provided amount of memory.

But vSphere has various memory management features such as transparent page sharing and memory compression. With transparent page sharing and memory compression, you can recover memory that’s not utilized by the VM’s guest OS. Therefore, you can easily optimize RAM. However, they are more complex than Hyper-V’s Dynamic Memory.


In Hyper-V, you can mount either local or remote storage. The availability of multiple storage methods provides strong connectivity and configuration. Disks are the basic component of Hyper-V storage. With disks, you can assign secure, scalable, and reliable storage for virtual machines.

On the other hand vSphere provides highly available software defined storage for workloads. Defines all types of physical storage as virtual disks on the hosts. Uses the vSAN to virtualize physical hard disks and create a single storage pool across all hosts.

Migration Tool

Consequently Hyper-V uses the Live Migration feature to move VMs between hosts without downtime. Works in conjunction with other related features such as the System Center Virtual Machine Manager and Failover Clustering. All these features contribute to migration flexibility. Also, they help create fault tolerant and highly available systems.

Contrarily, vSphere uses the vMotion feature for the migration of workloads between servers. Thanks to that it enables users to migrate workloads without shutting down the virtual machine. Delivers zero downtime during migration across Clouds, Clusters and vSwitches.

Virtualization Management

Consequently with Hyper-V, the virtualization management tool depends on your Windows version. Mainly it uses Windows Admin Center or PowerShell to manage resource virtualization.

Evidently vSphere uses vCenter to manage virtualization. This is a server management platform that enables you to control all vSphere environments. Equally  vCenter is easy to deploy and provides all the visibility you need to seamlessly extend your on premise environment.


Both Hyper-V and vSphere are free to download. You can download and use it free without host limitations on storage, RAM, or CPU. However, virtualization management comes at a cost.

Generally Hyper-V has two pricing layers. The Windows System centre license costs $1,323 per year. The Windows Server 2019  Essentials edition license costs $501 per year. The standard edition costs $1,069, while the Datacenter edition costs $6,155. The Data centre edition is the most premium package with full visualization features.

However vSphere has three packages: vSphere Essentials, vSphere Essential Plus, and vSphere Standard. Essentials of vSphere costs you $576.96 per year and supports 3 servers, each with 2 processors. The vSphere Standard costs you $1,394 per physical processor per year. The Essentials Plus package costs $5,596 per year.


Both Hyper-V and vSphere have robust security features to protect the VMs. Network encryption is a prominent feature of Hyper-V security. With this feature, you only encrypt the network at the subnet level such that you don’t have to configure the virtual machines. Also, it has Guarded Fabric security features that protect hosts and VMs from malicious software. 

Furthermore vSphere has host level security capabilities. Supports the isolation of devices, memory, and CPU. The isolation of these interfaces ensures strict network management and defence in depth. Each host in vSphere is protected by a firewall that denies access to ports. Other security features include SHA-256 RSA encryption and an overall secure default environment.

Thank you for reading Hyper-V vs vSphere – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons)

Hyper-V vs vSphere - What's the Difference? Conclusion

Choosing between Hyper-V and vSphere can be overwhelming. Both Hyper-V and vSphere provide enterprise grade virtualization helping businesses achieve IT goals. Using these platforms requires proper IT knowledge and familiarity with virtualization. They are evenly matched when it comes to storage, have robust security features and provide reliable and scalable virtualization.

When choosing the virtualization platform, consider your business goals, the resources to be virtualized, and your expertise. All in all, you can be sure your workloads will be secure and reliable.

Avatar for Dennis Muvaa
Dennis Muvaa

Dennis is an expert content writer and SEO strategist in cloud technologies such as AWS, Azure, and GCP. He's also experienced in cybersecurity, big data, and AI.

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