Ritmo2k
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

ESX 3.5 or Xen 4.1

Anyone have any insightful advantages that VMware has over Xen between the standard editions of both?

The one thing I am noticing while evaluating Xen 4.1 is the client gui seems a bit archaic and simple. It clearly isn't as polished as VMware's.

Just wondering what some more technical points would be as I don't have a long enough time before I am required to make a decision.

Thanks!

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12 Replies
Ritmo2k
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Good reads...

Problem is that most seemed to be something of a pissing contest rather then a technical apples-to-apples comparison of abilities. The one thing I see so far as wider hardware support which obvioulsy carries its own burden with stability.

Am I correct in understanding that managing vmdk snaps like we do involves using lvm, but it does have the multi level snaps as well?

Lastly, do they also have virtual switches and nics as well with the ability to connect different switches together if/when needed?

Thanks!

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mike_laspina
Champion
Champion

Hello,

I would think that is really dependant on your position and requirements. For example if you need to provide an exec some indication of market stability and other performance assurances XEN would be a hard sell.

If your budget is big problem then XEN could solve that issue however this is a burden on your shoulders to deal with any technology issue quickly and mean while support can go dark on you leaving you with some ugly possibilities.

VMware has a proven track record and many success stories. XEN is gaining ground but does not have the management and features that are available from the high gloss VMware ESX products.

So while we can use the XEN product it carries the same issues that early linux adopters faced.

http://blog.laspina.ca/ vExpert 2009
Ritmo2k
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Mike,

Xen Std is 900.00 + ~1400.00 for some basic support versus VMware Infrastructure Foundation w/ 1 year of support is 1540.00. I think the cost savings are only there on the high end solution. Looking at what Gold Support offers, I am fairly swayed in VMware's direction...

There's also this forum which I don't think is paralleled by any vendors on any product yet.

Thanks!

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JonathanR
Contributor
Contributor

Software vendors are starting to support their applications running under VMware. It's a known quantity and is widely used in the software industry.

I'm not saying that Xen won't work, but I'd speak to the vendors of the applications that you want to move to a VM based environment to see what their support policies are with respect to virtualization.

Vmware has also been around a lot longer -- the first version of Vmware that I ever worked with was Vmware Workstation 2.0 in '00.

Xen didn't start supporting Windows until Intel added VT technology to their processors about 2 years ago.

Best of luck with your choice.

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mcowger
Immortal
Immortal

Xen's performance for non paravirtualized OSs (e.g. non Linux) is terrible - SIGNIFICANTLY slower. Also, in general, its network performance is less than half that of ESX.

--Matt

--Matt VCDX #52 blog.cowger.us
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Ritmo2k
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Funny you should say that:) They claim with their 50k lines of code versus VMware's 2M they are faster. I just installed my Xen 4.1 demo on an HP DL and ran a few trivial benches on a fresh install of Win2k8 x64 w/ pv drivers and then installed esx 3.5 on the same box and built a new image the same way.

Esx was repeatedly ~35% faster? WTF?

Not looking good here for my Xen POC exercise...

Thanks!

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RParker
Immortal
Immortal

ESX is only 500,000 lines of code, not 2 million.

From the Xen site: Xen is exceptionally lean-- less than 50,000 lines of code.

And code isn't everything. The one main feature that no one supports, besides VM Ware is the ability to migrate live VM's. No one else can do that. Besides, who cares about how many lines something has to build with? Who would understand what a "line" of code truly is, that's a rediculous comparison. That's like saying a car is made up of 5000 parts.. so what, you can't drive 5,000 individual parts, the SUM of the parts makes the whole.

And XEN is pinning their hopes on paravirtualization, which sounds good, but it requires modified OS, now you take away stability, because stability relies on STANDARDIZED OS, which is the same as everyone else.

Every OS has it's pros and cons, but all things being equal, VM Ware has totally redefined vritualization, even Microsoft can't keep up.

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Ken_Cline
Champion
Champion

ESX is only 500,000 lines of code, not 2 million.

From the Xen site: Xen is exceptionally lean-- less than 50,000 lines of code.

And you're not really comparing apples to apples with that...ESX needs the COS to provide a fully functional environment. The combination adds up to some large number of lines of code -- in order to get a full WORKING Xen implementation, you have to have a DOM0 instance, which is typically a full-blown Linux distro -- count the lines of code there and then let's have a comparison...

Ken Cline

Technical Director, Virtualization

Wells Landers

VMware Communities User Moderator

Ken Cline VMware vExpert 2009 VMware Communities User Moderator Blogging at: http://KensVirtualReality.wordpress.com/
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DougBaer
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

>The one main feature that no one supports, besides VM Ware is the ability to migrate live VM's. No one else can do that.

While I agree with most of what you say, I have to disagree with this. XenSource (Citrix) has XenMotion, VirtualIron has had LiveMigrate for quite some time now. In the OS virtualization market, Virtuozzo has the ability to move live OS containers between host machines. Even the versions of Xen that I have seen with SuSE and RedHat had the beginnings of an ability to move running VMs over a year ago -- the configuration is a bit more complicated than the same for ESX, but it is possible. (And I'm not talking about a Microsoft-ish "QuickMigration" bastardized implementation!)

VMotion is pretty simple to get set up and working, but that doesn't discount the fact that others have copied it rather successfully in functionality, if not in elegance.

Doug Baer, Staff Architect, Sr. Manager of vPod Architecture team for the VMware Hands-on Labs | VCDX #019, vExpert 2012-20 | @dobaer
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Texiwill
Leadership
Leadership

Hello,

Xen has its place. If you are a 100% Linux shop you may want to use Xen as it comes with just about any distro out there. You can run any number of paravirtualized Linux Domains. However, you are very limited on Hardware VMs (Windows Systems).

Networking is very much like what is available with VMware Server and Workstation as there is no virtual switch concept in Xen. While this is somewhat good for some cases, security is an issue. It is impossible to separate VMs from Domain-0. Yet you gain the ability to have a firewall that applies to all VMs not just Domain-0. THat could be a win for some folks. But the lack of segregation and the complexity of the firewall scripts is a bit daunting to most people. In essence if you do not FULLY understand IPTABLES and how Xen uses it, I would not mess with it.

The major crusher I found was for networking performance. In our test, Physical Hardware was able to push 3600 requests for second, while a paravirtualized Linux VM was only able to push 100-150 requests per second (no clear repetitive number) and had massive packet loss and damage. The same was true for a Hardware VM we put up. Packet loss or incomplete packet delivery was too high and the throughput was too low. I know they are working on better paravirtualized drivers for this, but that was just a bit too much of a problem for us.


Best regards,

Edward L. Haletky

VMware Communities User Moderator

====

Author of the book 'VMWare ESX Server in the Enterprise: Planning and Securing Virtualization Servers', Copyright 2008 Pearson Education. As well as the Virtualization Wiki at http://www.astroarch.com/wiki/index.php/Virtualization

--
Edward L. Haletky
vExpert XIV: 2009-2022,
VMTN Community Moderator
vSphere Upgrade Saga: https://www.astroarch.com/blogs
GitHub Repo: https://github.com/Texiwill
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CoreyIT
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I believe the OP was referring to Citrix Xenserver and not the open source Xen for linux. Regardless you make some fair and valid points.

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