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Changing Hypervisors Not Like Changing Clothes

It would seem that hypervisor users are a restless bunch if you believe Veeam's quarterly V-Index tracking system, which claims that that 38 percent of enterprises using server virtualization, and 34 percent of those using desktop virtualization, have indicated they will change their primary hypervisors in the next 12 months,

Veeam claims the main concerns driving this potential hypervisor infidelity are rising costs, increasingly complex licensing models, and the improved features and maturity that other hypervisors now offer.

Let's start with complex licensing models, a.k.a. VMware. VMware customers might grump, and they might even hedge their bets by bringing in Microsoft Hyper-V gratis for a look if they are a Windows 2008 R2 SP1 shop. Even then, vSphere will continue to do the heavy server virtualization lifting, while the desktop load is divvied up between VMware View and Citrix XenDesktop. That works well enough for the overwhelming majority of VMware customers, who are willing to eat those rising costs cited by Veeam, rather than worry about the allegedly improved features and maturity of competing hypervisors.

Looking at it from another perspective, as Gartner guru Chris Wolf told me a while back, hypervisors are becoming almost as "sticky" as database software. It's not that users can't just convert a VM, because vendors provide suitable tools for that task. The issue is the operational software--backup, security, capacity management and configuration management--that gets tied into the hypervisor. How do you untie those knots?

And then there is the decidedly unpleasant task of going back to the manager you just hit up for your existing system, and explaining to him how suddenly it is no longer such a good investment. Anybody want to volunteer for that?

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 11/03/2011 at 12:48 PM


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