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With the new version of System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2012, the features gap is slowly reduced from the vSphere vCenter Server.

But the positioning and the comparison remain not so simple due to different license (and different cost), different set of features, and different integration with other products.

Note also that some features in Microsoft environment are not depending from VMM but are features of the Hyper-V or the FailOver Cluster part (so are basically included in the free Hyper-V Server), for this reason some features will change when VMM 2012 will be used with the new Hyper-V3 (for more info see Hyper-V 3.0 vs vSphere 5.0).

Another aspect is that VMM partially cover also the vCloud Director features, for example in the Self Provisioning feature or in the Cloud concept (that is similar to the virtual datacenter concept of vCloud).

This is a (partial) list of product’s features:

Feature vCenter Server 5.0 System Center VMM 2012
Multi Hypervisor No (limited with XVP Manager) Yes (but cannot manage a ESXi directly)
Multi Users Yes (role based) Yes
Multi Tenant Partially (complete with vCloud Director) Yes
Processor Compatibility EVC (Limited) Feature of Hyper-V
VM host hot-migration vMotion Live Migration (also without VMM)
VM storage hot-migration Storage vMotion Yes (but only with Hyper-V3)
VM replication Yes with SRM5 or other products Yes with Hyper-V3 or other products
Storage classification Storage Profile Yes (but only for supported storage)
Storage Load balancing
(space and/or I/O)
SDRS Not included
(but could be implemented)
VM Load balancing DRS Yes (also without SCOM)
Host affinity rules DRS rules Failover Cluster rules
Power Management DPM (Limited) Feature
Resource Management
(CPU/RAM)
Resouce Pools (need DRS license) Yes (at VM level)
Resource Management
(Storage)
SIOC No
Resource Management
(Networking)
NIOC Only traffic shaping
Load balancer integration Only vShield family Supported LB
Storage array integration Yes (for example see Dell products) Yes (for example see Dell products)

Basically VMware vCenter remain still more simple (for example DRS and EVC are still better implemented in vCenter) and complete (exept is some cases where it need other products) compare to VMM 2012. Another advantage is that vSphere could be multi-platform: for the client there is the WebClient and for the vCenter Server there is the vCSA.

Also the integration with the guest part is still limited in VMM, for example you cannot see in a simple way the IP and names of the guest OS (and this is possible in VMware ESXi also without vCenter!). Some idea in VMM are good but could be really improved: for example there is a RDP integration, but it works only if you have a consisten naming resolution.

Where VMM is really better is in the PowerShell usage (and explication): each operation is a set of PowerShell commands and you can see then, so could become really simple study by example.

Andrea MauroAbout Andrea Mauro (2413 Posts)

Virtualization & Cloud Architect. VMUG IT Co-Founder and board member. VMware VMTN Moderator and vExpert (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). PernixPro 2014. Dell TechCenter Rockstar 2014. MVP 2014. Several certifications including: VCDX-DCV, VCP-DCV/DT/Cloud, VCAP-DCA/DCD/CIA/CID/DTA/DTD, MCSA, MCSE, MCITP, CCA, NPP.