Virtualization Pro

May 5 2008   4:40PM GMT

VMware expert sounds off on 3i, Hyper-V, XenServer

HannahDrake Hannah Drake Profile: HannahDrake

How to cheat at configuring VMware ESX recently spoke with VMware book author and expert David Rule about his latest book, How to cheat at configuring VMware ESX Server. (Check out Design is key to VMware implementation success, expert says for the main interview and a free chapter download.)

The main interview covered security, management tools and best practices for implementation, but there was some other strong material about VMware 3i, Microsoft Hyper-V’s potential affect on VMware adoption and how Citrix plans to gain a better foothold in the marketplace with XenSource, so we decided to include them in this supplementary blog post. Do you think VMware 3i is VMware’s answer to the problems with the service console (patches, security vulnerabilities, etc.)?

Rule: Yes, and I think 3i is a great product for a variety of reasons. It’s a simpler, lighter footprint on hardware, which in turn gives better reliability and performance.

Do you think Hyper-V will detract from VMware’s customer base?

Rule: I don’t think there’s a compelling enough reason to move from one platform to another. From our internal lab testing, as well as customer feedback, I can say there’s more interest than there used to be in Microsoft, but the main issue is supportability. For at least the next 12-18 months, VMware will remain the market leader. 18 months out we may see more competition. But even looking at the long term, VMware is in a pretty good position because of their current stronghold in the market.

On the other hand, I have seen a few customers here within the last one to two quarters that don’t have any virtualization in place. Microsoft does come up more in conversations with new adopters than it used to.

Given the low licensing cost of Hyper-V, do you think VMware will have to alter its pricing?

Rule: At least with our customers, I don’t see a lot of push back on VMware licensing just because of the amount of consolidation you can get. At a 10:1 consolidation, you’re saving the customer so much it becomes a non-issue. VMware may have to focus on the business approach, and focus on, say, in a 1,000 server data center, here’s how much we can help you save. It’s really going to be about VMware and VMware-partner marketing.

Do you think Citrix XenServer will become a bigger contender?

Rule: A lot of it hinges on Citrix bringing their solutions together. Xen had good momentum behind it in the marketplace. People that didn’t like the VMware licensing, such as smaller size SMBs or those who used virtualization for test and development, liked XenSource. So, Citrix has brand recognition. If Citrix can meld their application and desktop virtualization products together, that’s going to be their strength. And, actually, that’s the direction they want to see things go.

Citrix has two focuses: people that aren’t doing virtualization at all yet, and their core customer base from Presentation Server. They’re taking on more of a grassroots campaign. It would be a tough sell with accounts that don’t currently have a Citrix install base.

How do you think VMware will remain competitive?

Rule: They’re going for continual add-on business, net-new accounts and the licenses they’ll bring in. You’ll see movement with virtual desktops and Site Recovery Manager. But virtual desktops are where VMware is going to see a huge surge of revenue coming in. If you have 1,000 servers, that’s 3,000 – 4,000 users. Just 10% of that is a huge amount of net-new licenses.

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