Posted by: KeithKessinger
research, Virtualization, VMWare
The virtualization market is stepping out of VMware’s shadow, according to TechTarget’s Virtualization Decisions 2011 Purchasing Intentions Survey.
Make no mistake, VMware is still the dominant force in virtualization. It’s the primary hypervisor in 75% of IT shops that deploy virtual infrastructure, and that number has remained relatively consistent in recent years. But now more than ever, organizations are considering alternatives to VMware.
Just look at the data
In the latest Virtualization Decisions survey, 55% of VMware users said they are considering another hypervisor. Reducing costs and extending feature sets were their primary reasons.
For years, VMware had no rival, and its pricing took advantage of that. VMware’s platforms always supported the most powerful virtual machines (VMs), in terms of processor counts and memory. The company was also the first to introduce live migration, which is the ability to transfer VMs to other physical servers without any downtime. In short, if you wanted to run mission-critical applications in a virtual infrastructure, VMware was the only game in town.
That’s starting to change as of late. Microsoft Hyper-V R2 and its Service Pack 1 bridged many of the feature gaps, offering live migration and more granular control over memory allocation. And next year’s expected release of Hyper-V 3.0 will challenge VMware even further, with increased scalability and more advanced virtual networking features. Hyper-V also comes free with Windows Server licenses, although you need to pay for management tools.
Other virtualization vendors are also stepping up their offerings. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0 will debut in late 2011 or early 2012, and Citrix Systems recently released XenServer 6.0. Both platforms feature improved scalability and other advanced capabilities.
Heterogeneous infrastructures en vogue
Microsoft, Red Hat and Citrix may not match VMware feature for feature, but they are becoming good enough for most workloads — including mission-critical applications. For cost-conscious IT shops, this development is great news.
Even among organizations that are reluctant to run important workloads on anything but VMware, more are using secondary hypervisors for test and development environments, or in branch offices. With these use cases, an organization can reap the benefits of virtualization but not have to pay a premium for VMware.
VMware’s lead in the virtualization market is safe, but the competition is catching up. Don’t be surprised if more organizations start evaluating and deploying other virtualization platforms — either as their primary hypervisor or in conjunction with existing VMware infrastructure. As the numbers have clearly shown, it’s already begun.