Hyper-V is an SMB's best friend
August 26, 2019

Hyper-V is an SMB's best friend

Nathan Roberts | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Hyper-V

I use Microsoft's Hyper-V to run a number of critical virtual machines for my organization, including domain controllers, servers running WSUS, and servers providing remote access. What I like best about it is it comes with Windows--I don't have to buy anything extra to use it. It's easy to configure, very stable, and offers all the features I need to power my servers. I also take advantage of Hyper-V Replica, which allows me to have the flexibility of planned or unplanned failover to another system running Hyper-V when I need to take a system offline for updates or in the event of a hardware issue. Again, no extra licenses to buy and really easy to configure.
  • Allows you to dynamically add storage, memory, and networking, all without powering down the VM.
  • You can set VM resources to adjust dynamically in response to what other VMs are doing, including weighting VMs based on the criticality of their functions. This is a great feature to ensure VMs "behave" themselves when dynamic resource allocation is utilized while ensuring that VMs that are spiking in utilization can automatically ramp up their resources to match the load.
  • The Replica feature means you don't have to invest in expensive and complicated clustering technology if your goal is simply to achieve resiliency against hardware failure. Replica works really well, is easy to set up, and can even be placed in a remote location.
  • If you're a Windows SysAdmin, Hyper-V is intuitive to deploy, monitor, and manage.
  • I like that you can specify the boot order of the VMs when you power on the Hyper-V server. You can also stagger the "on" state of each VM so you don't overwhelm the host, and you can specify what happens to each VM after the host reboots.
  • For me, checkpoints have been a sore spot over the years. These are system snapshots, where you can roll back the system to a previous point in time if you encounter issues after installing updates, applications, or making changes to the system. I'm using Server 2016 and haven't tried them in this version, but earlier versions created all sorts of issues if you ran into a scenario where you needed to recover a VM. I don't use these, instead relying on Veeam backups.
  • Moving VMs from one server to another could be easier. To be clear, I'm not talking about Replica, but actual VM migration.
  • Hyper-V has provided for an extremely cost-effective virtual environment with disaster recovery. For the size of our business, it's all we need to ensure our desired level of continuity of services and protection against hardware failures.
  • Since we are a Windows shop, deploying Hyper-V means we don't have the added cost of a hypervisor, since it's included in the cost of the Windows Server license. It's all we needed to achieve our goal of running all our virtual machines on a single server with another, less expensive server on tap for replication and failover.
  • We wanted easy deployment and management with disaster recovery while having the ability to leverage our years of Windows SysAdmin experience. Hyper-V fit the bill.
Hyper-V is intuitive for any SysAdmin that's already experienced with Windows Server. It installs as a service and is managed through a management console (either on your Hyper-V server or from an admin workstation).
There is a wealth of documentation for Hyper-V since it's so widely used. You should have no problem getting all the help you need deploying, managing, and troubleshooting any issues that come up.
I have used VMware in the past and I think Hyper-V compares favorably. I would probably not use Hyper-V for large-scale deployments, but for my needs, I just don't see where the added cost of VMware is necessary. Hyper-V gives me all the functionality I need for the cost of a Windows license and includes disaster recovery. When I first used Hyper-V I was dubious, but now that it's matured I find I really love using it.
Hyper-V scales really well, so if you have a lot of compute capacity (lots of RAM and CPUs) and ample storage, you can run dozens of VMs on a single server. This makes it extremely cost-effective. Throw in Hyper-V Replica, which you don't have to have an identical server to accomplish, by the way, and you can achieve disaster recovery for a fairly modest cost.

Note that Hyper-V Replica is not a substitute for backups, because if you have an issue with the primary VM's software, for example, that will be copied over to the replication server. Ditto for altered or deleted files. But for a small- to medium-sized business, Hyper-V represents a robust virtual environment solution with disaster recovery built-in. Large enterprises will likely need to employ a clustering solution for desired system resiliency and performance--Hyper-V Replica is not meant for that. But for the SMB, you're getting a full-featured hypervisor for the cost of the Windows license--if you're going to be running Windows Server anyway, it really makes for an affordable solution.

Hyper-V Feature Ratings

Virtual machine automated provisioning
7
Management console
9
Live virtual machine backup
10
Live virtual machine migration
8
Hypervisor-level security
9