Mental Ward

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Lack of Live Migration in Hyper-V a 'Deal-Killer'

Very, very busy couple of days for me, as we're putting our launch issue to bed now, but I wanted to pass along one little tidbit of information from a managed service provider I took a briefing with yesterday.

This provider and I were chatting about his offerings, and about how his products work on top of VMware infrastructure. I asked him about the possibility of implementing his solution on top of Hyper-V. His answer was very revealing. He simply won't do it. His company has tested Microsoft's new hypervisor a good bit, and they've found it's simply not enterprise-ready in its current state; and he doesn't expect that to change when the final code of 1.0 hits, sometime this fall most likely.

A key reason for this is Hyper-V's use of "Quick Migration" of VMs. Quick Migration allows fast migration of VMs from one physical server to another. The catch is that the VM must be shut down to make the move. Even if it's only for a moment, it still has to happen. Compare that to VMware's VMotion, which is true "Live Migration." With VMotion, the VM is transferred without any interruption -- no lost session-state data, for example, which you will lose with Quick Migration.

For this MSP, the lack of live migration alone is a deal-killer. He sees Microsoft as well behind VMware, and doesn't see any scenario in the near future where he'll consider Hyper-V in his environment. It's a shame for Microsoft, since he hosts several important Microsoft applications for his customers.

Microsoft knew it was making some big compromises last year when it killed off live migration in order to make it ship concurrent with Windows Server 2008. I've talked to a number of high-ranking Microsofties in the virtualization group that put on a brave face about the lack of live migration; but I'm certain they were very disappointed about the compromise solution, for reasons like those given to me by the MSP.

While Quick Migration is a step in the right direction, it may be awhile before Hyper-V makes serious inroads into enterprise environments because of the lack of live migration.

Posted by Keith Ward on 03/05/2008 at 12:48 PM


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