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Surveying the Hypervisor Landscape

I find that the virtualization industry is very dynamic, yet I'm a bit guilty of having "tunnel vision" for the two most popular Type 1 hypervisors, VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. But there are other good ones out there, and you should know about the options. To that end, here's a quick rundown on who's who for 2016 in the hypervisor market:

  • VMware vSphere: The current version is vSphere 6.0 update 1 (b). Most are familiar with vSphere, as it's still the standard. A lot of innovation around this hypervisor has come in the storage industry, and more is coming.

  • Microsoft Hyper-V: The current version of Windows Server is 2012 R2, which means the latest edition of Microsoft's hypervisor is Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2012 R2's Hyper-V role. Windows Server 2016 is right around the corner, with new Hyper-V features on the way.

  • Huawei FusionSphere: I had no idea this was even an option! Currently on version 3.1, this is an implementation built on OpenStack, and is more relevant for cloud-stack data centers.

  • Oracle VM: This hypervisor is on version 3.3 and has fans in large Oracle shops, as well as those looking for SPARC support in the datacenter. I used to love using Sun xVM VirtualBox; and even after the Oracle-Sun merger, it's still here (as a Type 2 hypervisor) and ready for download.

  • Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization: This hypervisor is positioned to be an OpenStack implementation and is based on the KVM hypervisor. It's currently on version 3.5.

  • KVM: Kernel Virtual Machine, or KVM, is on version 1.3 and is the pure standards-based hypervisor that Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization is based on. Many Linux distributions can add KVM (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), for example).

  • Citrix XenServer: This commercial hypervisor is based on the Linux Foundation Xen Project. Citrix's XenServer currently is on 6.5 SP1.

  • IBM PowerVM: This is different from the others in that it's targeted for AIX and other enterprise datacenter systems. Further, it's limited to support on a few hardware systems (such as POWER6 and POWER7). Also in this category also is the IBM z/VM hypervisor -- currently on version 6.3 -- which provides a virtualization layer for mainframe systems. While not broadly applicable, it's interesting to note that the other types of enterprise data center platforms have a virtualization option.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 01/14/2016 at 9:46 AM


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