In a world of 4 hypervisor based solutions (vSphere, Hyper-V, XenServer, and KVM), there is no question that vSphere has assumed the king of the hill role. Their focus on development and enhancement of the hypervisor and functions synonymous with virtualization has really driven the market to where it is today.
However, as tends to happen in Enterprise IT and a major architectural change, the front runner is finally seeing some competition. Microsoft's Hyper-V solution represents what I believe to be the first major competitor to vSphere… with Hyper-V 3.0.
We see this competition coming to fruition in:
- People actually having this conversation
- Software vendors writing solutions to interact with non-VMware products
- Hardware vendors crafting their solutions to interact with non-VMware products
VMware's ancillary vSphere applications, like SRM, and vCloud Director are advanced beyond what Microsoft is offering right now. So, those customers are not even going to blink at the thought of jumping ship to Hyper-V. However, for those utilizing the basic virtualization functions/features (consolidation and VM migration (both host and storage), suddenly Hyper-V becomes much more viable. Combine that with Enterprise licensure agreements from Microsoft, and the cost of moving to the Hyper-V platform is more palatable.
Plus, the Microsoft System Center platform is provides compelling integrations into virtualization and environment management that we have not seen from VMware yet. The ability for the System Center Orchestrator to spin up template-based VMs, install applications, configure the applications, etc… is really nice. I know this can be accomplished using a number of utilizes not he VMware side, so it is not like it cannot be done.
I look forward to seeing where this competition takes the virtualization environment. VMware has done a fantastic job in enhancing virtualization functions until now. Virtualization is still exciting to me and I thank VMware for that. However, now Microsoft and VMware have each other pushing the other. I believe this competition to drive the market further than we would have thought possible.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Microsoft is stepping up or catching up? Does Microsoft have a compelling product destined for larger scale adoption or are they going to be flash in the pan when we look at virtualization in 10 years?