VMware, Xen, Hyper-V - Your Experiences?
I've been playing with Xen, VMware ESX and Hyper-V for a little while and I was just wondering if there seems to be a consensus of which is most popular in a school environment? If you are using one of these virtualisation technologies in a school/education system or are likely to soon, would you mind voting in the poll to show your preference?
If you look at threads like this one then you can see a huge use of VMware in more enterprise-level setups, and certainly everything I've read and seen would suggest VMware ESX is the most powerful virtualisation technology out there.
However, here are my personal experiences with the three technologies:
Hyper-V - Disappointing, far more complex to set up than it needs to be, and only supports Windows (and SUSE Enterprise) guest VMs. Even in it's Core form, I personally find Server 2008 to be much more work to configure and manage than setting up a ESX or Xen host. If you want to do things properly then you need SCVMM (and a MS SQL server). Costs are good as it will be mostly 'free' for those who have MS volume licensing.
Xen - I considered Xen to be the underdog as it hasn't got the large deployments of VMware or the big name of Microsoft behind it, but so far it has really impressed me. It is so unbelievably easy to set up and use, the XenCenter console take two minutes to install and configure, and there's no dependence on a central management server or SQL database to control your setup. Does anyone know where the pool config is stored with Xen - presumably it's replicated across the hosts?
VMware ESX - I really wanted to love this product, but so far it hasn't impressed me that much. Maybe vSphere will be better? The ESX Hardware Compatibility List seems pickier than Xen (not a problem if you're buying new servers, but it was a real pain to have to buy new NICs to fit in brand new Dell desktops for testing), it requires a dedicated VCenter Server that needs an SQL database (you can't really virtualise this box so does it not become a single point of failure?), and seems far more awkward to set up than Xen.
My Xen setup was as simple as building a couple of hosts (five minute each), installing XenCenter (two minutes), configure a LUN on a SAN (two minutes), create a Pool on XenCenter, add the hosts and a Storage Repository from the SAN (five minutes), tick High Availability (two seconds) and I've got a failover-level setup...
With Hyper-V and ESX doing this seems a lot more complicated, or is it just me?