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Is hypervisor homogeny the best way to save money?

Recently I reviewed a product that actually does a pretty good job of allowing administrators to provision and manage virtual machines across multiple hypervisors. I have worked with some companies that have a mixture of hypervisors and what I've seen in reality is it's pretty ineffecient as far as common tool sets, training and monitoring.

Even if one  of them is "free", do you lose all the perceived savings when supporting multiple hypervisors? What has been your experience with multiple hypervisors in real world deployments? Ultimately, do you want to manage multiple hypervisors and why? What impact do cloud deployments have on this decision?

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5 Replies
Level 12

In our environment (SaaS), we run most things on VMware, including our production/client-facing hosted application, but we do also keep a small Hyper-V cluster rolling along at our headquarters. While we continue to see Microsoft lagging behind VMware, they are making progress, so part of our reasoning is simply to keep track of its abilities. From a value point of view, we use it as a platform for a number of testers' VMs with varying OSes, as they can access them via VMM/Hyper-V's web console. Furthermore, the licensing is covered by their TechNet subscriptions, so there's no additional cost and it spares some load from our vSphere boxes.

On the monitoring side, we utilize both Microsoft System Center Operations Manager and SolarWinds Orion NPM and VMan. Thus, we have insight into both hypervisors with decent depth. My IT counterpart in house is the Microsoft/Hyper-V/SCOM specialist while I center on VMware/vSphere/SolarWinds.

Do we really need to run both? With the exception of those testers, probably not. It's more of a tech luxury. That said, I'd say it saves us cost (30 VMs not on VMware's expensive vSphere Ent Plus licenses) and keeps us abreast of the alternative, which isn't completely out of the question, if it catches up someday.



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So it sounds like you found a really good balance of lower SLA or testing machines with Hyper-V. I like the idea of keeping current with how it advances with each version too. Always good to keep your options open.

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Level 21

I am not sure anybody wants to support multiple hypervisors.

We are a cloud hosing provider with a focus on IaaS and we currently use VMWare almost exclusively as our hypervisor of choice for both our Multi-Tenant and Private Clouds.  That being said, because of customer requests it's likely that we will soon be supporting Hyper-V as well. 

We often see cases where a customer has already made a significant investment into a specific technology and then bring it to us to manage.  However, this does raise an interesting question; is it more cost effective to take the VM's running on the other hypervisor and move them to your standard hypervisor and eat any associated licensing cost versus the cost to maintain both the knowledge and technology to support the additional hypervisor(s).

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Thanks for the reply Byron.

I guess that would be more complicated for a hosting provider to be able to convert the VMs to or from one hypervisor or another if the client wants to maintain flexibility as a hybrid or private hosted cloud. The multi-hypervisor tools will probably gain the most traction in environments where the technical support teams are forced to have to support more than one hypervisor by the business.

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