VMware: The Hyper-V assault is underway, but the war is a long one

VMware: The Hyper-V assault is underway, but the war is a long one

Summary: 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.

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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:

Jason Perlow on his new Tech Broiler blog writes:

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.

Dan Kusnetzky has gone on spin patrol and noted that Hyper-V has a long way to go to catch VMware.

Paula Rooney puts Hyper-V into a broader context and notes the game is really about the operating system:

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.

Topics: Cloud, CXO, Hardware, Microsoft, Storage, Virtualization, VMware

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  • A few points...

    "...as well as a price point that is absolutely unbeatable ? free with the Windows Server 2008 OS..."

    I expect Neely Kroes will have something to say about this.

    "VMware is great, but you need Microsoft to make virtualization mainstream everywhere."

    Says who? The competition has been doing fine at virtualizing hybrid environments, including M$ OSs.

    "Hell, virtualization may even get Microsoft out of its Windows reverse compatibility pickle."

    No better than a draw...M$ gains that, but also loses, since what really happens is that noone needs Windows any longer to run Windows apps...or at least *new* Windows. They can keep running old apps in a VM on top of Linux or *name your new OS here*. Or something like Wine. This stuff is already happening, but solid VMs can make it work better, and also the concept of running those apps in another "sandbox" (for lack of a better general term, since WINE is not an emulator), is no longer weird or way beyond the ability of the average user...because competing OSs will probably come up with a distro that does it outta the box. Can you say Winux?
    Techboy_z
  • Jason: it has no track record (yet)

    Jason Perlow says the following: "...it does offer equivalent stability...".

    Excuse me? It has *no* track record in the real world. It hasn't been sitting out there for months and months being pounded by *numerous* numbers of external installations (sorry, Microsoft, you are excluded, since you prejudice the testing).

    That is not to say it won't be stable. It may be rock-solid right now, but to say that it's "stable" on Day 0 is just plain ridiculous. After Virtual Server 2005's tepid performance and lack of technical info from Microsoft regarding its problems (yes, we suffered through it), I wonder what Hyper-V problems MS will bury in the backyard.

    XX
    techvet
    • Hasn't the beta been tested for months and months

      What do you think this is Brand New Code?
      andrej770
  • RE: VMware: The Hyper-V assault is underway, but the war is a long one

    I hardly think this would be end of Operating systems. In fact, virtualization only HURTS performance. And this won't change the backwards compatibility strategy in Windows one bit.

    For example, lets say Vista was written to run JUST Vista Apps. You needed a copy of XP running to use any legacy XP APIs. Thus you would have TWO operating systems running at the same time. This would make a virtualized solution far more hardware intense than say, if Vista was written with legacy XP APIs written in as a subset. Two OSes means two separate HALs, two separate Memory management modules, two separate Device models, and two seperate everything else.

    While one OS is just one of everything with legacy support written in as subsets. Which would be far far smaller and easier to support than two OSes with virtualization support. And besides, the old APIs ARE running in a virtualized environment if you think about it. Why would anyone think adding ANOTHER layer of virtualization would speed things up.

    The biggest advantage virtualization offers is redundancy.
    surfasb
    • ..not just redundancy

      I certainly can't agree that the the biggest advantage of visualization is redundancy.
      Surfasb's reply really is centric around application layer virtualization. It wouldn't be a best practice implementation of virtualization to utilize an entire virtual OS to support legacy applications. There's products in the virtualization space that target application portability from EOL or legacy OS's with very minor performance overheads.

      If you're talking Server virtualization then you can begin to look at the benefits of hardware consolidation. No more do you need to purchase over-spec'd hardware to run "a web site" and have it sitting next to idle.. ticking away at 14% utilization. Buy two identical servers, a dependable abstracted storage medium and you can begin to utilize the benefits of VMotion if you run VMWare, LiveMigrate if you run Virtual Iron.. etc..
      mren08