Mental Ward

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More Poll Respondents Use Hyper-V Than ESX

Well, this should shake up folks in the virtualization industry. Alessandro Pirilli at has posted the results of a "Virtualization Industry Survey" he conducted over a month's time. He says he received 1,050 responses, and those responses are interesting, to say the least.

The finding that made me sit up, and I'm sure everyone else, was Question 6, "What hardware virtualization platform do you implement?" It was a multiple-choice question with eight hypervisor choices, including the Big 3 of Microsoft's Hyper-V, VMware's ESX and Citrix' XenServer.

To the shock of, I'm sure, everyone who read it, Hyper-V had a commanding lead, with nearly 600 people saying they're using it. ESX was way back in second place, with around 475 votes. XenServer was a blip, with fewer than 100 votes, and the others barely registered. Note that the bar graphs Alessandro uses are imprecise, making it hard to estimate with great accuracy the tallies; but they're close enough.

Now, anyone who follows this industry will be immediately suspicious of these results. ESX as a platform has been around for years, and Hyper-V less than a single year. In addition, VMware is the clear leader in this industry in number of installations; on that, I would stake my reputation and job. It just isn't close.

Comments posted with the survey results are already questioning their validity -- and I am among them. It's completely counter-intuitive, raising red flags all over my simple mind. I don't know how scientific these results are, and Alessandro's questions aren't designed, from what I can tell, to dig down into the reasons for the numbers.

For instance, there was no information listed on commercial implementations vs. private ones. Also, Hyper-V is part of Windows Server 2008; are those respondents using Hyper-V, or did they respond in the affirmative because they've installed Windows 2008 on their networks and Hyper-V is part of the package, even if they're not using it?

Other questions: How did Alessandro filter out multiple votes? What was the voting process? How were vendor votes weeded out? What is the margin of error on his results? When I was editor of Redmond magazine, we did an annual salary survey (which is still being done.) We hired a private survey company to do the poll; we wanted professionals to handle the data, knowing we'd get more accurate results.

Note that I am not saying that Alessandro's results are meaningless; not at all. I am saying we need more information to know how to judge the findings. I hope he opens up about his methodology.

Posted by Keith Ward on 01/20/2009 at 12:48 PM


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