Mapping features of Hyper-V to VMware


Businesses thinking about deploying new virtualization solutions would do well to begin by comparing the available features of different virtualization platforms before deciding upon which platform to implement. Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization technology, which is built into their Windows Server operating system, together the VMware platform and its line of products, represent the two most popular virtualization solutions used by enterprises today. Many features of the Hyper-V platform have close or near parallels in the VMware world, and likewise many VMware capabilities are mirrored almost exactly in the Hyper-V universe.

Unfortunately this overlap between these two technologies is obscured to some degree because of how different features are named in both platforms. If you were able however to translate the name of a Hyper-V (or VMware) feature into its most closely corresponding VMware (or Hyper-V) feature, you would gain some immunity from the oceans of spin that attends each of these virtualization platforms. The net effect would be to allow you to more rationally compare and assess the capabilities of the two platforms instead of being swayed and tossed two and fro by the waves of hype emanating from their marketing departments.

The purpose of this article is to do just that. In other words, to provide you with a way of translating Hyper-V terminology into VMware terminology and vice versa. Using this cross-reference will then enable you to determine which virtualization technology has the capabilities you need to solve your business problem.

One caveat however before we begin. Both Hyper-V and VMware are constantly evolving with the introduction of new features and capabilities, and occasionally existing features are renamed or re-packaged to make them more attractive to customers or to highlight certain functionality that might be appealing to some customer segments. As a result you should consider that the information in this article will be subject to change over time. You should therefore only use this article as a starting point for feature comparison and then do some additional homework to ensure you’re making the best choice before you take the plunge and commit to either platform. Some additional resources are provided for you at the end of this article to help you make an informed decision in selecting the virtualization solution your organization currently needs.

Comparing terminology for virtual machines

At the heart of it, the function of both VMware and Hyper-V is to run virtual machines so you can virtualize workloads, desktops, applications and services. The first table below compares the terminology that VMware uses for describing its virtual machines with that used by Microsoft for a similar purpose.

VMware terminology

Microsoft  erminology

Service Console

Parent Partition



Standard/Distributed Switch

Virtual Switch



Hot Add Disks & Storage

Hot Add Disks & Storage

Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS)

Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO)

Distributed Power Management

Core Parking & Dynamic Optimization

VMware Tools

Integration Component



Table 1

Comparing terminology for storage

Virtual machine files must be stored somewhere, and that means storage features and different types of virtual machine storage are an essential aspect of any virtualization solution. The next table compares some of the storage terminology used by VMware with that used by Microsoft.



VMDK (Virtual Machine Disk)

VHD (Virtual Hard Disk)

Raw Device Mapping

Pass-Through Disk

Volume/Extent Grow

Expand Disk / Volume

Thin Provisioning

Dynamic Disk

Storage vMotion

Quick Storage Migration

Table 2

Comparing terminology for high availability

High-availability (HA) solutions mask the effects of hardware or software failure by maintaining the availability of applications, services, and other workloads so that their perceived downtime is minimized from the user’s perspective. Both the VMware and the Microsoft platforms offer various technologies you can implement to ensure your virtualization solution is highly available. The next table compares HA terminology used by VMware with that used by Microsoft.



VMware HA (High-Availability)

Failover Clustering


Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV)

Primary Node

Coordinator Node


Live Migration

Table 3

Comparing terminology for managing solutions

Virtualization is more than just running workloads in virtual machines on hosts. It also needs to include tools for managing those hosts and the virtualization machines running on them in an efficient and practical way. This especially becomes important as your virtualization solution grows and expands with more services and features being implemented across your organization. That’s why we’ve included this next table which compares the terminology used by VMware for their management products and tools with those offered by Microsoft for their Hyper-V platform.



VI Client

Hyper-V Manager


System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM)

vCenter Operations Management Suite

System Center Operations Manager (OpsMgr)

vFabric Application Performance Manager

System Center AVICode (integrated with OpsMgr 2012)

VMware IT Business Management Suite

System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr)

Web Access

Self Service Portal (SSP)

Consolidated Backup

System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM)

Update Manager

Virtual Machine Servicing Tool (VSMT)

Table 4

Additional Resources

Instead of trying to take a neutral stance when comparing the offerings of the Hyper-V and VMware, I’ve simply attempted to provide you in this article with a tool that can help you cut through the terminology differences so you can better compare the features and capabilities of each platform. It can also be helpful however to listen to how each company describes their virtualization offerings and compares it with their competitor–provided you listen to both sides before you make your decision. To help you do this, I’ve assembled a short list of additional resources below so you can learn for yourself how VMware views Hyper-V virtualization and how Microsoft views VMware virtualization.

How VMware views Hyper-V virtualization

Every Hypervisor is Not Created Equal: Learn more about how VMware vSphere Hypervisor is – and will continue to be – the industry’s most robust and production-proven hypervisor and why VMware is the best choice for building a virtual infrastructure (

How a Hypervisor-Converged Software-Defined Data Center Enables a Better Private Cloud (VMware whitepaper – PDF).

At a Glance: The VMware Advantage Over Hyper-V 3 ( – PDF).

Managing VMware vSphere Using Microsoft System Center Increases Costs and Complexity (VMware whitepaper – PDF).

Total Cost Comparison: VMware vSphere vs. Microsoft Hyper-V (VMware – PDF).

How Microsoft views VMware virtualization

VMware vs. Microsoft: Compare VMware’s high cost and limited cloud solutions to how Microsoft enables you to shape a comprehensive, flexible, and cost-effective IT environment for your business (Why Microsoft).

VMware or Microsoft? Quick Comparison between vSphere 5.5 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V (Pracheta’s Musings – TechNet Blogs).

VMware vs. Microsoft, A Memorandum to IT Leadership and Decision Makers (Yung Chou on Hybrid Cloud – TechNet Blogs).

VMware or Microsoft?–The Complete Quick List (Matt Hester – TechNet Blogs).

Debunking VMware’s Top 10 Virtualization Myths (Microsoft – PDF).

VMware to Hyper-V Migration (Microsoft Virtual Academy).

Microsoft Tools for VMware Integration & Migration Jump Start (Microsoft Virtual Academy).

Migrating from VMware to Hyper-V for VMware Professionals (Microsoft Ignite 2015 on Channel 9).

Migrating to Microsoft: VMware to Hyper-V and Microsoft Azure (Microsoft Ignite 2015 on Channel 9).

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