Microsoft has added a lot of compelling features to Hyper-V in Server 2012, which makes it very competitive with VMWare’s (industry standard) vSphere product.  Ars Technica provided a good general writeup of the third generation Hyper-V here.  Microsoft MVP Aidan Finn is my favorite technical authority on Hyper-V, and his comparison between 2012 Hyper-V and vSphere 5.1 offers a vicious teardown of the VMWare platform.  To be fair, some of the features he specifies as being available in vSphere Enterprise are also available in cheaper versions of vSphere.  But overall, it appears that Hyper-V is actually surpassing VMWare in many areas, and all of these features are included in the FREE version of Hyper-V Server.

Some of my favorite Hyper-V 2012 features include:

Shared-Nothing Live Migration – allows us to move VM’s between Hyper-V hosts without being part of a cluster or using shared storage. (Nice for maintenance or manual load rebalancing.)

Replica – replicates VMs over the WAN for disaster recovery.

In fact, Replica struck me as having so much potential that it inspired me to set up the first Aviator data center.  I have run Aviator very leanly (cheaply) up until now.  We don’t rent office space and we have kept CapEx nearly nil.  However, Server 2012 offers so much promise that I wanted to build out a robust lab environment in a colo to do real testing.  To that end, I purchased some solid used servers from UnixSurplus down in Mountain View. That place is amazing.  They have several warehouses with servers, switches, and other data center gear stacked up to the ceiling.  I upgraded the used servers with new hard drives.  Moving parts break down, so I don’t trust used HDs.  I also got an Infiniband switch and ConnectX-2 cards from Mellanox on eBay.  This is the cheapest 10gbe network around.  Next, I got a good deal on a co-location cabinet at Hurricane Electric’s Fremont data center via Connex Internet (15amps, 100mbps, full cabinet).

We are working on an offering to provide Hyper-V VM replication services to small businesses that want to have site redundancy in case of disaster.  FEMA estimates that 40% of businesses are unable to rebuild post-disaster.  We are now offering a pilot program with special pricing for clients who are interested.  Contact me for more details: