Like many people I follow with interest, amusement and sometimes consternation the war that is waged by proxy between the two main virtualization contenders: VMware and Microsoft.
VMware, the market leader, weighs in with the incontestable arguments of proven, real world experience as well as a solid set of features. Microsoft, the challenger, arguments to this with cheaper licensing, reduced operational costs, integrated management with SCVMM and features to be introduced in their next hypervisor.
What is appalling is that some supporters are very vocal, rather too much in fact, more like people at a marketplace screaming loudly to sell their fish & vegetables. What these people didn’t get is that as a customer, I’m not going to buy their fish or hypervisor based on who screamed the most, but based on the intrinsic qualities of the software. I usually have a list of requirements, my buyer’s checklist if you will, and I will compare products based on how they suit my needs, on their reliability, their reputation then their price.
A rant against Microsoft here. All the pro Hyper-V blogs always argument that “we’re cheaper!” and “we’ll include awesome features in the next version”. Great, but I need something which offers the features now, which is reliable, proven. When I design an infrastructure or a project I can’t tell a client that the feature will be available in the next release (I’m not a commercial, mind you). Price isn’t everything… when you can afford it. An enterprise class customer with a very demanding may opt to go for the hypervisor who offers enterprise class features, and no matter which side you support, real-world experience and feedback incontestably says that VMware is THE enterprise-class hypervisor.
However a customer won’t accept to pay blindly for a product, no matter how good and unique it is, and how rich they are. When Hyper-V will become good and mature enough so that a large amount of features offered by vSphere are included/supported in it at a decent (and presumably lower) price, VMware may be forced to review their pricing policy. A lot of people still have the vTax affair in mind. By the way, Microsoft and their PR machine put a lot of effort in making a big fuss about the vRAM entitlements, but did it made Hyper-V work better? And who says Microsoft will keep binding licenses to CPU sockets in the future. You get the point.
On the other hand I can fully understand that an SMB with Microsoft Gold Partner status will naturally be inclined to adopt Hyper-V as their standard hypervisor.
The IT transformation journey is a path paved with good intentions but ambushed by merciless propaganda. It’s not different from everyday life and good judgement should be applied the same way as you would do when choosing a new house or new car. You’re investing money so ensure it fits your needs and it’s not done to impress the neighbors.
Don’t get distracted by claims, check products that match with your needs and do the math yourself.