While VMWare has been the leader in the virtualization world, Hyper-V is quickly becoming a threat to the VMWare market share. As VMWare and Hyper-V have become so comparable, you have to look into the deeper layers of what makes up each platform to find the differences.

One of those differences is the hypervisor type. The hypervisor is one of the most important pieces of the virtualization puzzle. Here are the pros and cons of monolithic hypervisors and microkernelized hypervisors.


VMware products like vSphere and ESX are monolithic hypervisors. The biggest advantage of monolithic hypervisors is that they do not require a host operating system. Instead, the hypervisor acts as the operating platform that supports all virtual operating systems running on the physical machine. This offers better performance as virtual operating systems behave as if they are running on the hardware.

The downside to using monolithic hypervisors is their instability. They are prone to issues because the device drivers are incorporated into their layers of functionality. So, if one driver is affected by a bug or update, the entire architecture of the virtual machine is affected.


Hyper-V software is a microkernelized hypervisor. This means the software has no device drivers at the hypervisor layer, unlike VMWare. Instead, drivers are located in the individual operating systems. Drivers are partitioned and run independently for each individual virtual system. This gives Hyper-V a security advantage over VMWare as APIs are not able to access the hypervisor layer, making it difficult for hackers to compromise the virtual machine.

This added security comes at a cost. As Hyper-V requires that an operating system to be installed on the physical machine in order to work, Hyper-V is more vulnerable to system downtime. As Microsoft requires frequent security updates, it requires the host operating system to reboot after installing these updates. This increases downtime for the virtual machines.

While VMWare and Hyper-V have many notable differences, when it comes to hypervisors, they both have their own set of unique advantages and disadvantages.

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