Sound’s confusing right? We have two different versions of Hyper-V, one is Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2, it’s a standalone version of Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V (standalone hypervisor) and second one is Hyper-V can be installed on top of Windows Server and licensing Difference on each versions
Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2
Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 is free, yes it’s completely free to download and install, and hypervisor license is free however still need a license for the virtual machines that you will be running on top of the hypervisor
We can build our own virtual environment for free with Hyper-V Server 2012 R2, install standalone Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 and create as many virtual machines, if you already having your virtual machines operating system licenses then no need to buy any more licenses
Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 has a limitation, its litter version on GUI and you can able to do very limited configuration task on the server console
Then how do we manage Hyper-V Server 2012 R2? We have multiple other options to manage the Hyper-V Server, manage virtual machines through PowerShell, Hyper-V Manager to connect the Hyper-V Server and manage the Hyper-V Server through System Center Virtual Machine Manager
Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 is not come with a GUI, however Hyper-V Server is not light on features, you can configure failover cluster for free using Hyper-V Server 2012 R2.
Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V
Windows Server 2012 R2 standard Edition allows you to have 2 VMs running Windows Server 2012 R2
Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter Edition allows you to have unlimited number of VMs running Windows Server 2012 R2, you can install Windows Server 2012 R2 onto a physical box and then install Hyper-V, as many virtual machines can be created on that host server. No need to pay any additional operating system licensing fees so long as the VM’s are running Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter Edition
No limitation on user interface and you can all configuration and others task on GUI mode
Which is best, Hyper-V Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012?
It depends on the requirement and licenses needs, if you want to host VMs that are already licensed then Hyper-V Server is the best choice, If you want dedicated hypervisor to consolidating large numbers of virtual machines then Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 is way to go and the core hypervisors are completely identical
If you want to create new virtual machines then you are probably better off using Windows Server 2012 R2, you will get the 2 VM licenses on standard Edition and unlimited licenses on Datacenter Edition
With the help of new Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 Microsoft hypervisor is finally starting to maturing and gives the features to compelling alternative to some of the other hypervisors in the market
Defiantly it’s a positive trend for Hyper-V, Microsoft already started capturing the market share on virtualisation and cloud space, hope they will do better in future with solid improvement and support