Ahead of the general availability of System Center 2012 SP1, I’ve added an extensive feature comparison of Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1 (100+ individual features) to the Virtualization Matrix.

The matrix now includes a separate listing for each edition with virtualization / cloud related features of Windows Server 2012:
  • Windows Server 2012 Standard
  • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
  • Free Hyper-V Server + Free Management
  • Free Hyper-V Server + System Center 2012 SP1
A couple of comments:
  • Please note that SP1 (System Center) is required to manage Windows 2012 hosts (GA expected early 2013) so all System Center related features listed are based on SP1.
  • You can select the appropriate ‘Editions‘ e.g. Standard, Datacenter or Hyper-V Server under the vendor (Microsoft) and product (Hyper-V 2012) – then simply click on the “refresh” button (see picture)
  • A new tick-box allows you now to include “previous versions” in any comparison e.g. older versions of vSphere, Hyper-V and XenServer and – soon to come – Redhat Enterprise Virtiualization 3.1 RHEV.
  • As the free ‘Hyper-V Server 2012’ can either be managed with the (fee-based) System Center (SP1) or the included (free) management tools (Server Manager, Hyper-V Manager, PowerShell etc) I’ve decided to add separate “editions” for ‘Hyper-V Server 2012 with System Center’ as well as ‘Hyper-V Server without System Center. This will avoid the confusion I’ve seen arising when mixing ‘fee’ and ‘free’ in any comparison.

What’s New in Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 – the main improvements included amongst many others in the Virtualization Matrix comparison are:

  • Scalability and Performance (Host: 320 logical CPUs, 4TB RAM, 2,048 vCPUs; vm: 64 vCPUs, 1TB vRAM; Cluster: 64 nodes, 8000 vms etc.)
  • Storage Improvements (SMB3, Virtual Fiber Channel, new VHDX format up to 64TB, ODX, TRIM, 3rd party MPIO, Storage Spaces etc. )
  • Networking (Hyper-V Extensible Switch with PVLANs, ARP/ND Spoofing, monitoring & port mirroring, partner extensions; SR-IOV support etc.)
  • VM Mobility Improvements (Dynamic Optimization, Shared Nothing Live Migrations, ‘unlimited’ concurrent live migration over 1 and 10Gbit, Live Storage Migration etc.)
  • Availability Improvements (DR through Hyper-V Replica, integrated NIC teaming, CSV v2, affinity rules and restart priorities, application monitoring, cluster aware updates etc.)
  • Management & Deployment (Service Templates, SMI-S/SMP based storage management, cluster management, bare-metal host deployment, host groups and multi-vendor management etc.)
  • ‘VDI’ Enhancements in Remote Desktop Services (unified management, RemoteFX enhancements, GPU support, user profile management etc.)
  • Cloud (Private Cloud management, multi tenancy improvements, App Controller hybrid management and portal, Network Virtualization etc.)

Some IT departments now have to prove that Hyper-V is “not good enough” if they want to justify continued use of VMware for all workloads

Given the interest I have seen from clients it is clear that Windows Server 2012 & System Center will make a significant impact in the virtualization space this year. The long list of enhancements is impressive. But the most appealing aspect is the “all-inclusive” packaging that comes with Cloud, Desktop Virtualization as well as physical and virtual operations management that specifically appeals to the small / medium enterprises.
I’ve had comments from several of my (also larger clients) with existing MS licensing agreements that they now have to prove to their management that Hyper-V is “not good enough” if they want to justify continued use of VMware for all workloads. So tables have turned a little.
But let’s also be realistic, while some VMware customers might be longing for the “second-vendor” alternative, they are also used to a mature, intuitive and sophisticated product.
Microsoft will have to demonstrate that they can match these high expectations over time, otherwise potential customers could simply end up using this “alternative” as leverage for price negotiations with VMware – certainly a scenario Microsoft will want to avoid …
PS Hover over the individual feature or click on it (pop-up) to get background information and details on the evaluation (see below for an example).
### Archived Article – thanks to Andreas Groth – WhatMatrix Community Affiliate (originally published on Virtualizationmatrix.com) ###
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Andreas Groth

IBM Cloud Architect with extensive expertise in complex solution design, networking and cloud/virtualisation platforms, translating technologies into real-life solutions for end-clients and channel partners. Currently leading technical consultancy engagements as Channel Solutions Architect for the IBM Watson and Cloud Platform. - Chartered IT professional of the British Computer Society (MBSC CITP) - Chartered Engineer Institution of Engineering and Technology (CEng IET) - IBM Certified Senior IT Specialist - Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) - VMware Certified Professional (ESX2, VI3 and vSphere) – VCP # 1281 Andreas is the creator of virtualizationmatrix.com. Specialties: • x86 virtualization and cloud technologies - VMware, Microsoft and Open Source (Xen and KVM). • Consultancy for server/desktop virtualisation and cloud delivery models - new focus: SoftLayer • Creator of IBM's first virtual desktop reference architectures (SmartCloud Desktop Infrastructure) • IBM System x (x86) and IBM BladeCenter system hardware and IBM Storage/Network Solutions. • Public Speaker at numerous external and internal WW and European Technical Conferences. • Technical Publication Writer with 2 IBM Redbooks, several papers and 2 international patents.

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