Virtualisation in your school: deciding on your technology

Taken from our Virtualisation with Microsoft® Hyper-V eBook (available to view and download below).

We recently posted about deciding on hardware for a virtualisation scenario in your school. So now you’ve done the planning, answered the key questions, and settled on the structure of your new virtualised environment.

The next question is which virtualisation technology you are going to choose and install. There are a number of players in the market but the two key ones in education are:

• VMware
• Microsoft® Hyper-V

Either product will fulfil your needs when it comes to virtualising your servers. However, there are two key factors to consider before deciding between them .


VMware naturally comes at a cost, and it isn’t cheap. If you’re already a Microsoft establishment, however, with a Windows® environment, you’ll find that Microsoft Hyper-V is built into versions of Windows Server at no extra cost of licensing.

There is also a free standalone version of Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 which can be downloaded using the link below. This version is purely for use as a Hyper-V server and does not have the same management GUI as the Hyper-V version in Windows Server 2008 R2.


Licensing can be expensive, Microsoft has taken steps to reduce the licensing burden on Schools by introducing the new Enrolment for Education Solutions licensing scheme but when undertaking virtualisation you need to consider how you are going to license both your hosts and your virtual servers.

Your hosts will need a version of Windows Server 2008 R2 installed to run Hyper-V, which version you install can have a dramatic effect on how you license your virtual servers. The table below illustrates a typical large School and how the version of Windows installed on the hosts affects their licensing requirements.


As you can see paying a little bit extra for the Datacentre version of Windows Server can help save you money by reducing the number of server licenses you have to purchase. This may not fit for every implementation but for large Hyper-V implementations, licensing can play a huge part in both making the decision on technology provider and your on-going costs. Of course with VMware, as well as paying for the actual software there’s no provision for ‘included’ Windows licences and so you will have to license every copy of Windows you install, whether it is physical or virtual.

The general point here is that you need to spend time fully researching the costs involved in each of the virtualisation solutions you consider.


An institution which uses Microsoft technologies will find that the installation, development and management of Hyper-V involves the use and deployment of familiar tools and interfaces. This makes for substantial savings of time – and therefore costs – in the areas of training, management and leadership. If VMware is chosen, the extra demands on training and the development of skills and knowledge will need to be taken into account.


We believe, based on customer feedback, that Microsoft technologies perform best with Hyper-V. So if you’re virtualising, for example, SharePoint, Exchange, SQL and other Microsoft technologies, we strongly believe that Hyper-V offers the better performance option.


You can view and download our Virtualisation with Microsoft® Hyper-V eBook below.


Comments (0)

Skip to main content