Client Hyper-V More Usable Than XenClient

On 5 December 2012 by Pete Petersen

Client Hyper-V

It’s funny that some of the most powerful products that Microsoft produces get such little press–both by Microsoft’s own marketing teams, and by the industry press in general. One of these is App-V, as mentioned in Microsoft App-V: The Secret Powerhouse. Another, more recent product is Client Hyper-V, which is built into Windows 8. So with all these new Windows 8 boxes out there now with Hyper-V included, why has there been so little written about it? Serdar Yegulalp had some top uses of Client Hyper-V on Windows 8, including running Windows XP, running lab VMs that can be spun up, snapshotted, and destroyed as needed, running Linux, and others.

So why are these great products not marketed widely? Too niche? Difficult to implement? Small use case base? None of these seem to make sense since other products of lesser value seem to get plenty of press.

However, that all being said, one of the great inclusions in the Windows 8 release is Client Hyper-V. Now your local machine (as long as it can meeting the hardware requirements) can act as a virtual machine host. To me, this entirely negates the need for VMware Workstation, and especially Citrix XenClient.

VMware Workstation

VMware Workstation has clearly been around the longest, is the most full-featured client virtualization platform out there. It’s easy to install, is relatively inexpensive, and allows power users to run more than one machine at a time on their client hardware. The advantage VMware Workstation has over Client Hyper-V, in addition to its wide install base, is that it has very little in the way of hardware requirements–only really defined by the host and VM OSs themselves.

Citrix XenClient

Citrix XenClient, being a Type 1 hypervisor, is very dependent on having the right hardware underneath. Although XenClient boasts the best performance of any hypervisor out there, the cost is that there is an extremely limited number of devices that will actually run it. It is very hard to make the case for a hypervisor on the client anyway in most organizations, and driving to a very specific piece of hardware is just not going to fly much of the time.

Microsoft Client Hyper-V

Microsoft Client Hyper-V does have some hardware requirements. However, it mostly needs a modern (non-mobile) CPU. Since it’s included with every Windows 8 license, there is no reason not to at least turn on the feature and try it out. No cost. No hunting for the media. Not a lot of hassle.

It’s easy to see why Client Hyper-V could quickly outpace all other client hypervisor platforms in a very short period of time.

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