Need help picking your way through the Virtualisation minefield?

Microsoft has a lot to say about their Virtualisation technology. Most of it is a continual repetition of its “Our virtualisation technology is as good as VMware’s.” They have now sorted out their pricing model and have the core products either shipping or about to ship. So, how does it compare to VMware?

Microsoft have announced that:

  • Hyper-V will be available free of charge,
  • Virtual Machine Manager 2008 will be available within the month,
  • Virtual Machine Manager 2008 will be able to manage VMware servers, and
  • Live migration is coming to Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V.

They didn’t say that in a migration scenario their licensing model requires both the source and destination server be licensed (separately).

Interestingly, it would appear that Hyper-V users use Hyper-V because live migration just isn’t critical to their business.  Where migration is important, users stick with VMware. It will be interesting to see how the market share changes in 2010 when live migration ships in the next major version of Windows Server 2008. Until then it’s not important and customers seemingly don’t need it anyway.

VMM goes a long way to help with capacity planning but doesn’t provide much help to control the spread of virtual servers. It would seem that this is a significantly bigger issue than live migration.

Microsoft would also have you believe that they can manage both VMware and Microsoft virtual infrastructures from within Systems Centre. Why, one asks, would you bother since, until VMware publish their API’s for managing ESX, you have to buy VMware’s management tools and with the availability of live migration they are functionally richer?

This is all about Bangs for the Buck!

Despite the standard Microsoft message that “Hyper-V or VMM is in no way inferior to VMware” and even though committed Hyper-V users say VMware is better technology, users just don’t feel they need that level of capability, and aren’t willing to pay for it.

The argument will be swayed by the upfront cost and the most obvious potential for savings – the cost of the software vs. the amount saved from consolidating little servers into big ones.

I await VMware’s response at the impending VMworld gathering.

About Peter Borner

Peter is an entrepreneur and successful business leader. Currently leading a consultancy firm specialising in technical diligence for M&A and advising global firms on IT consolidation and migration to consumption based costing through the use of Cloud Technologies.