The Virtualization Room

Aug 28 2009   5:54PM GMT

Microsoft pushes on despite Hyper-V ban at VMworld

Bridget Botelho Profile: Bridget Botelho

VMware’s clause against competitive products at VMworld 2009 annoyed the hell out of Microsoft, and the company doesn’t intend to sit idly by as thousands of potential Hyper-V users convene in San Francisco next week.

Sure, they will follow the show rules; Microsoft Corp. will have a 10-by-10 booth on the show floor and they won’t demonstrate the new features and capabilities in Hyper-V, which will be available in Windows Server 2008 R2 in October. But will they talk to attendees about Hyper-V and undermine VMware’s Stalin-esque policy of keeping the opposition out? You bet.

“When we saw the clause we called [VMware] to check on what we could do. We are only allowed to show products that complement VMware, so we won’t be doing any product demos,” said David Greschler, director of virtualization and management marketing. “But we will be there at the sessions at VMworld and we will be twittering (@MS_Virt) during the show, which is no longer an industry show. It is a VMware show.”

At VMworld 2008 in Las Vegas, Microsoft did some guerrilla marketing to promote Hyper-V 1.0 by handing out poker chips with negative messages about VMware. I’m sure we’ll see more of the same at the Moscone Center next week.

In fact, Microsoft has already started. On Thursday, the company put out a press release listing more than a dozen companies that saved over six-figures by moving from VMware to Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and other Microsoft virtualization products.

Microsoft’s cost savings case studies will probably catch some attention, especially in a poor economy. But VMware has about a 10-year head start in the virtualization market and companies that invested in VMware won’t abandon that investment.

Knowing that, Microsoft included in Windows Server 2008 R2 Systems Center Virtual Machine Manager the ability to manage VMware ESX, VSphere and Hyper-V – eliminating a big reason VMware users might not try Hyper-V.

Microsoft is also playing the “easy” card. Greschler said adding VMware onto a Windows Server system, which already has Hyper-V built in, “is like having a car with GPS in it, but going out and buying a separate GPS system, and having to learn about that separate system. Hyper-V doesn’t require a separate layer.”

But whether the next version of Hyper-V with live migration and its other management features will be good enough to wow VMware users remains to be seen. At the very least, VMware customers will have another option, and will be able to use Hyper-V as leverage when negotiating prices with VMware.

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