Microsoft Claims Strong Lead for Hyper-V

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Aug 5, 2009

On Monday, the Washington Post reported three long-time senior management execs at Google had departed for greener pastures at VMware. In and of itself, this information isn't terribly newsworthy. Execs move about all the time.

Virtually Speaking: Microsoft claims a 24-point increase in Hyper-V penetration, but exactly what and how it's measuring is unclear. VMware, meanwhile, may be suiting up to grow its high-end base.

It is the timing that opens the door for speculation. As WaPo notes, "it is interesting that all these of these guys left Google, where they had been for a long time, around the same time, to go work together at an already established company."

Also interesting is that all three come from highly technical divisions — they aren't marketing or finance execs, they were instrumental in developing Google's APIs, another

So either life in the Googleplex isn't what it's cracked up to be or VMware is running hard to stay ahead of the curve, and where better to look than a company hotter than itself?

No doubt, it's a combination. For the past year, VMware has been pushing the envelope further to ensure it remains the market leader. It's latest undertaking is the cloud-centric vSphere. Choosing between the two was a fairly straightforward proposition before the economy nose dived and Hyper-V was considered mature.

But now Hyper-V R2 is out, and favorable reviews are coming in; in some cases from unlikely places. Live migration has been added, rendering VMware's former trump card less valuable, and network performance and virtual machine density has been improved.

And then there's the question of market share. CNN reported last week that Microsoft claimed a year-over-year 24-point gain in market share, citing "businesses of all sizes," as Hyper-V customers.

That may be, but Hyper-V is a component of Windows Server 2008, and while this is interesting, it is fairly meaningless, given that Microsoft revealed very little about its methodology and what exactly it is measuring. If Microsoft is counting every instance of the operating system that ships with Hyper-V, then it is in actuality measuring Windows Server 2008 penetration.

Hyper-V is free and functional, and it's not a stretch to imagine enterprises would take it out for a spin, especially in these cash-strapped times. But it would be interesting to know whether those using it are new to virtualization or dissatisfied with VMware or XenServer as well as whether they are large enterprises or SMBs.

Most likely the majority of actual deployments are coming out of the SMB space from companies that previously lacked the resources to virtualize. Hyper-V makes it feasible from both a monetary and a skill set perspective.

Yes, VMware and Citrix Xen have made their hypervisors available at no cost, but their value proposition is centered around the management tools, which are designed for large deployments and don't come cheap. Microsoft's integration is designed with ease of use in mind.

It's possible VMware has ceded the low end to Microsoft and others in pursuit of large-scale, complex deployments. Its latest shift in focus is away from the individual server and into the cloud. Microsoft's cloud strategy is more akin to fog at this point, but if history is any indication, it won't stay that way for long.

Which brings us full circle to the migrating execs and what they'll do to keep VMware in the lead.

Amy Newman is the managing editor of ServerWatch. She has been covering virtualization since 2001, and is coauthoring a book about virtualization that is scheduled for publication in October 2009.

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