It has become a trend to select products or solutions based on Market research whether they are good for the organization, practical or not. The decision more often than not seem to go in the right direction, however with a cost overhead.
The simple methodical way to evaluate a product or a solution would be to list down the requirements, test install, compare the offered features and cost by giving a weightage to the agreed criteria, and the best total is selected as the chosen product or solution. This is an approach followed by the men-in-arms or the on-the-field administrators and their middle management to whom the solution is required to be practical and operationally manageable.
This more often than not get a slack from some decision makers who more often than not have little practical or operational experience. This group give huge weightage for market research and often care less for the practical application of the solution. Meaning to say there is often a disconnect between these decision makers and the operational teams.
Let us analyze the server virtualization product or solution based on market research/trends along with having the operational requirements just in the corner of the head.
Let’s first analyze the market research:
“…Microsoft has closed most of its technology gaps with market leader VMware (which tends to have an advantage with higher-level management and automation tools).” - Gartner
“The survey found that two-thirds of VMware shops have evaluated competing platforms, and a quarter of those organizations plan to deploy an alternative. VMware’s server virtualization market share likely won’t suffer drastically, because the vast majority of these businesses will only be adding Hyper-V or XenServer to their existing VMware infrastructures” - Techtarget
“Although market share leader VMware continues to set the standard in products and the pace in terms of strategy, Microsoft has increased its market share (especially among midmarket customers new to virtualization), and Citrix is leveraging its desktop virtualization strengths and its free XenServer offering to expand its server virtualization share.” – Network World reviewing Gartner report
First of all, VMWARE and Hyper-V are established as the clear top-2 market leaders in server virtualization market.
The study of features, reviews, cost analysis- all point towards Hyper-V gaining the market share at the expense of VMWARE. Most companies have opted to have both Hyper-V and VMWARE solutions in place based on either of the following reasons:
1) VMWARE already has a presence in the organization from quite some time. These customers clearly eyeing the cost advantage, stability of Hyper-V and its closing in on the features of VMWARE tend to have the presence of Microsoft Hyper-V in their organization.
2) Some organizations who already have a VMWARE presence have started to implement Hyper-V for non-critical systems for reasons of cost.
3) Some organizations who are existing VMWARE customers being cautious in their approach have started implementing Hyper-V sighting future market share, cost benefits and supportability.
4) Yet some other organization primarily VMWARE customers have taken a strategic decision to implement Hyper-V for non-production environments for cost benefits.
In all the above cases, the organizations have been able to implement Hyper-V at no extra cost of doing away with VMWARE, in fact they have released massive cost benefits.
In the wake of the above, the maturity of server virtualization technologies, the stability of Hyper-V and the market share, it is perceived best for companies to plan the following:
1) If it is a Windows-only virtualization i.e. if all the workloads are on Windows, it is best to go the Hyper-V route.
2) If very advanced features are required and disparate workloads are planned to be included in virtualization, VMWARE is best adopted, however if windows workloads are a majority, Hyper-V too should be planned. This would be beneficial in terms of cost and achieving expertise on both the products.
3) For cautious organizations with very critical workloads need to go for VMWARE (currently) and implement Hyper-V in parallel for non-critical workloads, so that they save cost and gain expertise on Hyper-V and VMWARE to be prepared to move to either of future leaders in the segment.
4) If it is a SMB and a cost conscious organization, it would be best to go the Hyper-V way
5) If it is a large enterprise, again depending on the above arguments might need both technologies.
With the above discussions practically speaking, clearly either only Hyper-V or both VMWARE & Hyper-V need to be in place. You will just be wasting your time and money if you try to do in-depth analysis for server virtualization at a stage where you have physical servers and no virtualization solution yet. Some companies have been evaluating virtualization products since as long as 4 years and have just been doing that – without taking any decision, waiting for a clear market leader to emerge.
The advice for new customers looking at a server virtualization solution would be the following:
1) Do not waste time; jump on the virtualization bandwagon
2) Start right away with either or both VMWARE and Hyper-V based on simple cost analysis and requirement
3) When in doubt select Hyper-V, you have nothing to lose. If at a later stage you feel the need for advanced features or to have VMWARE for some reason, you can always go ahead if you can afford..
Each passing day would be unnecessary cost spent on space, power, cooling and maintaining physical underutilized machines.