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Hypervisor Test Explained

In many e-mails over the last few days, I simply used a subject line of 'The Benchmark' and everyone knew what I was talking about. Last fall, Virtualization Review magazine Editor in Chief Keith Ward and I decided a bare bones hypervisor performance comparison was due, with Hyper-V joining the horse race in the server virtualization space. The end product was the comparative performance test for VMware's ESX, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer.

It would be expected that there would be a naysayer or two in the crowd, mainly revolving on minor test details that don't accurately represent what a reader wants. The best example is that many commented directly to me and online on many sites that this should have been performed on shared storage. Other comments were made that torture tests of CPU, disk and memory operations have no place in virtual environments. Even the poor SQL database was incorrectly criticized for being a rouge agent. There were also comments that this was not an enterprise-level test, which I expected to an extent.

All of that and the associated community response to the piece seems to be missing one pivotal component. What was I out to prove?

I was not out to start a virtual war or single out a product in any direction. The test plan and piece was written for the typical virtualization administrator. We have CPU hogs and memory beasts that we want to get virtual, and the canned response of an application not being a virtualization candidate is a warning we may not heed by choice. We work with default configurations because we don't always have the time or other resources to go about it another way. We don't work with "camera-ready" databases. As a matter of fact, the database used in the test was a VMware vCenter database, which underwent some cleanup over and over --normal operations in my book. That's why I write the Everyday Virtualization blog, as this is what I deal with every day.

I think the test was a good thing, and should be a springboard for everyone to do their own internal testing. If you haven't already, share your thoughts with me; if you want more of this, we'll do more.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 03/19/2009 at 12:47 PM


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