Microsoft's Hyper-V--that long awaited virtualization effort from Redmond--is off and running and the analysis on it falls into three generic buckets: Hyper-V is spin; it's a real virtualization player; and Microsoft is going to crush VMware or be crushed by the incumbent.
While those of us in the technology business like to create these vendor on vendor battles, the virtualization war will be a long one.
Let's recap, the various views around ZDNet:
While the release version doesn’t add any additional features that would put it on par with competitor VMWare’s ESX and VI3 or Citrix XenServer (such as live migration, clustered filesystems, virtual desktop management or template provisioning) it does offer equivalent stability as well as superior performance to either of these two competing solutions, as well as a price point that is absolutely unbeatable — free with the Windows Server 2008 OS (gallery right).
Mary Jo Foley notes that Hyper-V, formerly known as Viridian, is lacking some features so Microsoft could release it to manufacturing ahead of schedule. The big takeaway for customers:
Microsoft is currently advising customers not to deploy Exchange Server 2007 SP1 on Hyper-V for at least 60 days after Hyper-V is released to manufacturing. The next version of Microsoft’s Hyper-V product is expected to be part of Windows Server 7 in 2010 and be available in hardware-embeddable form.
Microsoft’s delivery of its much anticipated virtualization hypervisor has kicked off what is to be a truly intense battle in the virtualization software market. But more importantly, it represents the future of Microsoft — interoperable with rival offerings, supportive of open source, and available on somewhat more flexible licensing terms.
The launch of the Xen open source hypervisor, XenSource and Citrix’s subsequent buy of XenSource notwithstanding, Microsoft’s launch of Hyper-V marks what I would argue is the pivotal turning point for the virtualization software industry, and indeed for the respective futures of VMware and Microsoft, and the operating system as we know it.
Add it up and I reckon you get the following:
- The mainstreaming--and commoditization--of the hypervisor. Virtualization will be something that's just there. VMware is great, but you need Microsoft to make virtualization mainstream everywhere.
- A rejiggering of vendor strategy. This effort is already underway as VMware has moved upstream to offer virtualization management software. The hypervisor is just the entry point. Citrix, with the acquisition of Xensource, also has its own spin on virtualization. There should be enough room for everyone, but what brought both Xensource and VMware to the party will become a built-in freebie.
- In the long run, virtualization is the OS. The OS today as we know it will be relegated to plumbing. That's what Paula was getting at above. Hell, virtualization may even get Microsoft out of its Windows reverse compatibility pickle. The virtualization layer, which will control all of the systems on a box, will be the real software in charge. In other words, virtualization could displace the bloated Windows, which is why Hyper-V is so important to Microsoft.
Will this happen overnight? Nope. But there's a much larger movement underway. Let the virtualization games begin.