The new calculator’s results, highlighted by Microsoft in a gloating blog post, show vSphere 5.1 Enterprise Plus as 19% more expensive than Hyper-V 3.0 with System Center 2012 when running 100 virtual machines (VMs) with an iSCSI SAN. Other configurations, such as running 150 VMs on NAS, also show VMware to be more expensive (by 6% in that particular case).
While embarrassing for VMware, this development is just one tiny part of bickering that has been going on for quite a while. And even these favorable calculator results are not good enough for Microsoft. In last week’s blog post, VMware’s rival insisted the findings are still off, particularly when the full vCloud Suite is taken into account.
Has anything really changed?
This summer’s SearchServerVirtualization.com special report on VMware and Hyper-V pricing and licensing found that the actual overall cost for the two platforms depends heavily on the size of the IT shop and the type of workload being virtualized.
It also found that the story doesn’t end there. For one thing, public-facing cost calculators are based on list prices, which enterprises rarely pay, thanks to Microsoft and VMware’s deep discounts.
Some shops may find the cost savings enticing enough to swap out one hypervisor for another, but VMware also remains the incumbent vendor in most enterprise shops, and the costs of switching have many users saying Microsoft’s savings aren’t worth it.
It’s also important to remember that VMware and Hyper-V don’t match feature for feature, especially with several of Windows Server 2012’s Hyper-V advanced features still waiting on System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 Service Pack 1 to be put to the test.
VMware has not responded to multiple requests for comment about its online calculator.
Update: VMware published a blog post yesterday called “Flawed Logic Behind Microsoft’s Virtualization and Private Cloud Cost Comparisons” which says that in the more common configuration of 128 GB memory server hardware, VMware vSphere remains on par with or cheaper than Hyper-V, and concludes that the Microsoft blog post pointing out the calculator’s findings “is yet another attempt to artificially inflate VMware’s prices and distract customers from the shortcomings of their own products.”]]>
A. Because of its cool apps that let me make dinner reservations, hail a taxi to the restaurant and then watch ESPN while I’m in said taxi.
B. Because of its remote-desktop capabilities.
Chances are, you just answered A (or some variation of it). People buy mobile devices for the apps. Sure, they use their remote-desktop features, but only because it’s easier to carry an iPad all day than it is to lug around a laptop. (And because you look a lot cooler if you have an iPad.)
Everything being equal, people would rather run Windows applications natively than log into a remote-desktop app, spend five minutes figuring out how to double-click on an icon and then hope the WiFi doesn’t cut out.
Pop quiz part 2: What does this have to do with the virtualization market?
B. More than you’d think. Read on…
VMware and other remote-desktop middlemen keep trying to insert themselves into the mobile conversation with their clients for smartphones and tablets. This plays into VMware’s prediction of the death of the traditional operating system. The idea is that VMware’s virtual infrastructure technologies and cloud-based applications, along with the proliferation of mobile devices, will break IT free from the chains of Windows, allowing users to be more independent and more productive. (It will also really, really complicate enterprise device management, but they usually leave that part out.)
The subtext is that the downfall of Windows will lead to the downfall of Microsoft, setting the stage for VMware to become the Microsoft of the 21st century. Of course, even if you agree with this premise, that’s all still a long ways off. And even if it does come to fruition, Windows is not the only bullet in Microsoft’s chamber. They still have the Xbox!
Just kidding. They still have the apps. Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. drive a whole lot of business around the globe. The problem is, using them on smartphones and tablets isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world these days.
Our sister site SearchEnterpriseDesktop.com reports that more IT shops are calling for tablet versions of Windows apps to address this issue. The story focuses mostly on developing apps for Windows 8, which, with its ARM processor support, will be designed to run on mobile devices as well as traditional desktops and laptops.
But to truly ensure its continued relevance among business users, Microsoft needs to decouple its applications from its OS altogether. Look at it this way: If you’re an existing iPad user who wants Office, you shouldn’t have to go out and buy a Windows tablet. (And you most likely wouldn’t, even if you had money coming out your ears, because really, who wants to carry two tablets around? Do you know anyone who has an iPod AND a Zune?) Not taking this approach will hurt Microsoft on two fronts: nobody buying its tablets, plus a decreased reliance on Office among mobile workers.
If you’re an existing iPad user who wants Office, you should be able to go into the App Store and buy it with just a few taps of the screen, just as you would with Angry Birds or Words with Friends. Same if you have an Android tablet or a Hewlett-Packard TouchPad or even a BlackBerry PlayBook, if you’re into that sort of thing.
With ubiquitous availability on mobile devices, Microsoft applications will remain dominant, even as we adopt “a new way to work,” and even if the traditional OS does die. And it will come with the added bonus of cutting out VMware and the other virtualization/remote-desktop middlemen that mobile users now rely on to access their Windows apps.]]>
Due out in the second half of 2011, SCVMM 2012 may bring greater feature parity with VMware’s vCloud Director. New features include new administrative roles and workflows for self-service portals, which are meant to support Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), plus automated, wizard-driven provisioning of virtual machine (VM), network and storage hardware through Virtual Machine Manager.
One new tidbit that jumped out at me looking through information about this new beta is that it requires Microsoft’s SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008 R2 back end. For one beta tester, this will mean running multiple versions of SQL Server, at least temporarily.
“The majority of our apps that require SQL are still only supporting SQL 2005, so we predict we will be in a migration mode for the next few years,” said Rob McShinsky, senior systems engineer for Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.
Running multiple versions of SQL isn’t totally unheard of, but “I have always thought Microsoft products ‘requiring’ other Microsoft licenses without an alternative option seems a bit self-serving,” McShinsky said. “A combined license with the primary product, a free option like SQL Express or an alternative supported database would [be preferable].”
SCVMM 2012 will also use the Storage Management Initiative-Specification (SMI-S) standard for integration with data storage infrastructure in private clouds. SMI-S, which is overseen by the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA), specifies a means for clients to communicate with storage arrays of different types and from different vendors, through modules called SMI-S Providers.
By picking an evolving storage industry standard, Microsoft is trying to make it easier for Windows shops to bring multi-vendor storage to its System Center Virtual Machine Manager. But whether or not Microsoft has made the best choice will ultimately depend on how well the standard continues along its development track, and just how well it is embraced by the storage vendors.
At this year’s TechEd conference, meanwhile, Microsoft partner NetApp revealed it is using an Opalis-based workflow management system layered over several hundred custom PowerShell commandlets to communicate with System Center. Similarly, in early May, EMC Corp. announced support for Hyper-V that included PRO pack and RESTful API integration in addition to SMI-S integration into System Center.
Microsoft conducts beta testing in multiple phases, according to a spokesperson. The first phase, the Technical Adoption Program (TAP), sees a product released to a select group of partners and users as the product is still being developed. TAP program members are often involved before the first public beta of a product.
For SCVMM 2012, the first public beta was released in March; two months on, the second beta will also see the opening of the Community Evaluation Program (CEP), a guided product evaluation process open to a broader audience. The next step is usually a Release Candidate (RC), and then a Release to Manufacturers (RTM).]]>
These guys, who played synth pads and called themselves The Glitch Mob, were the first-day keynote’s opening act.
Robert Wahbe, corporate vice president of server and tools marketing at Microsoft, emcees the first-day keynote.
I thought this was a pretty cool idea: a cell phone charging station.
Meanwhile, I’m thinking of proposing a new site idea at my company: SearchPenVirtualization.com.
How to tell you’re at an IT conference: There’s coffee … outside.
I wrote that sentence last month, when I argued that VMware’s iPad app actually strengthens IT’s reliance on Windows, not diminishes it. Although CEO Paul Maritz and co. have been banging the “death of the traditional operating system” drum for years now, their vision of VMware as a Windows OS killer is still a pipe dream.
And honestly, if VMware execs wanted to compete head-on with Microsoft in the OS market, they could’ve gone and acquired Novell when they had the chance. The fact that they didn’t is telling. They’d rather attack the traditional OS indirectly, through the applications market, and this strategy has really come together in the past few weeks.
As colleague Bridget Botelho reports, VMware now has cloud-based email and collaboration (Zimbra), desktop backup (Mozy) and presentation software (this week’s SlideRocket acquisition). And Project Horizon, which her sources say will be out in three weeks, will be able to integrate all these services using Active Directory.
The Zimbra and Mozy acquisitions were head-scratchers at the time; many observers felt they had nothing to do with VMware’s focus on virtualization. But it’s pretty clear now that virtualization is no longer VMware’s endgame.
So what is? Well, I’m not exactly sure what you’d call it, but it sure seems like VMware wants to be Microsoft for the 21st century — a company that offers everything from productivity apps to data center infrastructure software, but does so within the context of on-demand, service-based computing.
Successfully executing this strategy will be a challenge for VMware. Despite VMware’s data center dominance, corporate reliance on Exchange and PowerPoint will not be easy to shake. And although VMware has very loyal customers, they’re mostly infrastructure pros, not application owners.
Still, a lot of the pieces are in place now. And the next time VMware makes an acquisition — of, say, a unified communications service or content management platform — it will be a lot less puzzling.]]>
In companies that deploy both VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V, 71% have difficulties managing both hypervisors from a single console, according to a recent Veeam Software survey. Also, 68% of the 253 CIOs who responded said it’s becoming more important to be able to manage both hypervisors from a single interface.
This was a vendor-driven survey, and Veeam has recently touted the importance of multiple-hypervisor management. But it’s no secret that there’s a gap between what users want and what virtualization management tools deliver — especially those tools from platform vendors and systems management providers.
Until very recently, multiple-platform management wasn’t even in VMware’s vocabulary. VCenter manages only vSphere, but there have been whispers that it may eventually support Hyper-V and Xen. And it’s now possible to manage Hyper-V with XVP Manager, an unofficial VMware Labs fling that installs as a vCenter plug-in.
XVP Manager points to a larger issue for VMware: Its management philosophy is scattered. Over the past couple of years, the company has made a flurry of acquisitions targeted at improving virtualization management. And it should be commended for its virtualization-first approach to infrastructure management. But the way VMware has integrated features and capabilities into vCenter has left some users confounded.
VCenter Operations, which incorporates technologies from the Integrien and Ionix purchases, remedies some of these product-integration issues by providing essential management capabilities from a single pane of glass. Then again, vCenter Operations offers some performance-monitoring and capacity-planning features that are found in other vCenter products — which harkens back to VMware’s disjoined management approach.
Overall, VMware offers a dizzying array of vCenter add-ons, a lot of which are strong in their own right. But using multiple vCenter products is not only expensive, but also difficult to navigate.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s virtualization management tools are playing catch-up with VMware. The release of System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2012 will finally bring several vSphere-like features to Hyper-V, such as distributed resource scheduling and power management. But even with support for Hyper-V, vSphere and Citrix Systems XenServer — and the added capabilities from other System Center products — SCVMM 2012 can’t be everything to everyone.
The Big Four
Don’t look to traditional, physical infrastructure tools to completely solve your management woes, either. Many users say data center management products from IBM, Hewlett-Packard, BMC Software and CA are geared more toward physical servers than their virtual counterparts. And most of these systems management products aren’t virtually aware, meaning that they lack the granularity and sophistication required to control a dense virtual infrastructure.
As a result, some companies are turning to open source tools for virtualization management, but it’s not all puppies and candy canes with open source tools, either. Developing features in-house requires expertise and a development philosophy, which may not be possible for SMBs.
Ultimately, it’s hard to imagine that there will be one, broad virtualization management tool to rule them all, because each infrastructure has specific requirements and workloads. It’s clear, however, that vendors and users realize that virtualization management isn’t where it needs to be.]]>
CEO Steve Ballmer announced Muglia’s departure in an email to employees today:
Now is the time to put new leadership in place for STB. This is simply recognition that all businesses go through cycles and need new and different talent to manage through those cycles. Bob has been a phenomenal partner throughout this process, and he and his leadership team have the right strategy in place.
In conjunction with this leadership change, Bob has decided to leave Microsoft this summer.
Muglia has been with Microsoft since 1988. In his current role, which he took in 2009, he has overseen Microsoft’s Windows Server business (including Hyper-V), as well as System Center, Windows Azure and related products.
In 2008, as senior vice president of the division, Muglia spoke at Microsoft’s virtualization launch event, which heralded the release of Hyper-V. One of the first things he said at that event was, “it’s still early days for virtualization.” He meant that in regards to the market as a whole, but it also reflected Microsoft’s late entrance to the party.
Since then, Microsoft has steadily improved its server virtualization portfolio. System Center Virtual Machine Manager was released later that year, with the ability to manage not only Hyper-V, but also VMware (albeit to a limited degree). Hyper-V R2 added Live Migration in 2009, and next year’s Service Pack 1 will bring Dynamic Memory. And, don’t forget, Microsoft made Hyper-V free.
“We were a bit behind VMware with a competitive feature set, but we’re there now and we have a much, much better price,” Muglia said at last February’s Goldman Sachs technology conference.
Despite those efforts under Muglia’s leadership, Hyper-V remains a distant second to VMware. VMware’s huge head start in the server virtualization market paid off, and its large install base may result in another huge head start in the private cloud market.
Ballmer wrote in today’s email that the Server and Tools Business is “uniquely well-positioned to drive the future of cloud computing.” Microsoft is definitely taking the lead when it comes to cloud marketing, but in reality, the drive that Muglia’s replacement faces will be an uphill one.
More: Muglia to leave Microsoft]]>
The VMware CEO was the latest guest on Fortune’s “Connected with Adam Lashinsky,” where he talked about VMware’s standing in the overall IT market. I recently wrote that Hyper-V vs. VMware isn’t much of a fight these days (and Oracle vs. VMware is even less so), but Maritz made it clear that he takes the threat from both software giants seriously.
“They have unequivocally said that they want to remove the need for any VMware software in your data center,” he said.
Although Maritz vowed to fight off these challenges, he took a pragmatic stance when comparing VMware’s vision of a data center operating system to Microsoft’s success with desktop OSes.
“I don’t think we’ll ever have the degree of control that Microsoft did over the PC market,” he said.
One thing I took issue with was Maritz’s description of Microsoft’s fight against VMware.
“Microsoft decided to start competing with VMware as early as 2002, 2003 and have been working hard ever since, that’s seven or eight years now, and are still not at the same level of capability that VMware is,” he said.
That may be technically true, but Microsoft didn’t really put its weight behind server virtualization until it released Hyper-V in 2008. It’s not completely fair to frame it as a seven- or eight-year battle. And when you look at just the hypervisor, Microsoft has made a lot of strides in just two years.
When Hyper-V first came out, the big outcry was, “It doesn’t have live migration!” Live Migration came in Hyper-V R2, and then the critics said, “But there’s no memory overcommit!” Microsoft will answer that next year with Dynamic Memory in Hyper-V R2 Service Pack 1. And after that, I haven’t really heard any “It still won’t have X, Y, Z!” complaints.
Granted, Microsoft hasn’t taken advantage of this feature parity yet (except maybe in Europe). VMware had a big head start, captured a lot of the market and developed a strong management portfolio around its hypervisor, both in-house and through third-parties. Those are obstacles the folks in Redmond must still overcome if they want to make their threat to VMware a serious one.]]>
Photo after the jump.
The ad reads, in part:
Dear VMware customers,
VMware is asking many of you to sign 3-year license agreements for your virtualization projects. But with the arrival of cloud computing, signing up for a 3-year virtualization commitment may lock you into a vendor that cannot provide you with the breadth of technology, flexibility or scale that you’ll need to vuild a complete cloud computing environment.
If you’re evaluating a new licensing agreement with VMware, talk to us first. You have nothing to lose and plenty to gain. Not only is Microsoft’s server virtualization solution approximately one-third the cost of a comparable solution from VMware, but also a recent Microsoft study of 150 large companies showed those running Microsoft virtualization spent 24% less on IT labor on an ongoing basis…Most importantly, as you build out the next generation of your IT environment, we can providee you with scalable worldwide public cloud computing services that VMware does not offer.
VMware was secure in the world it had created for itself in the Moscone Center this week, but this ad was a reminder of the wolves still outside the door.]]>
Is this the dawn of a new era between these two longstanding rivals? Um, no. It’s just a way for Citrix to be more involved at VMworld 2010.
Last year, as you may remember, Microsoft and Citrix said they weren’t allowed to demo competing products on the VMworld floor because of changes to VMware’s exhibitor agreement. The brouhaha left both vendors with very small booths, searching for creative ways to get their messages across. Microsoft employees wore T-shirts that vaguely alluded to the controversy, from what I remember, and Citrix took out ads on taxis throughout San Francisco.
Apparently that wasn’t enough for Citrix, which became a VMware partner “in order to participate more fully and openly at VMworld,” according to company blogger Kim Woodward. Citrix will be a silver sponsor of VMworld and have a booth twice as large as last year’s. Microsoft hasn’t made a similar move, though.]]>