Hypervisor Vendors Go to War in 2013: Customers Emerge the Ultimate Winners - Executive Viewpoint 2013 Prediction: HotLink

Lynn LeBlanc (Profile)
Monday, January 14th 2013

If you’re a virtualization professional, 2013 will be another good year for you! Server virtualization remains the top initiative for most IT shops. According to Gartner, just over 50% of the server workloads have now been virtualized. The main drivers for this move are cost savings from server consolidation, dynamic resource management and improved business continuity. Of course, 50% virtualized means 50% more to go.

Since VMware was first on the scene, by 2012 most large data centers have sizable investments in VMware infrastructure. And this investment is growing with every enterprise license agreement renewal. At the same time, the competitive landscape has materially changed. Microsoft’s sustained investment in Hyper-V has delivered a legitimate alternative to VMware vSphere -- at a dramatically lower price point. IDC reports that Hyper-V market share is already at 26%, compared to VMware’s 56%. With most VMware hosts running Windows workloads and Hyper-V rapidly closing the feature gap with vSphere, it’s not surprising that VMware executives were fixated on Microsoft in 2012. With a lion’s share of VMware revenue derived from vSphere, the warfare between VMware and Microsoft will most certainly escalate in 2013.

VMware’s premium pricing combined with its heavy-handed tactics predictably led to second sourcing and diversification of server virtualization platforms. Though unthinkable in prior years, CIOs are now deploying multiple hypervisors to bring virtualization costs under control and remove the vulnerabilities of lock-in. Aside from cost, IT also manages multiple infrastructure types to support varied business unit and engineering requirements, accommodate alternate sites and support application affinity, as well as any number of other good reasons. This year, estimates of multi-hypervisor deployment ranged from 40% to 70%, depending on the group surveyed. In 2013, IT shops will accelerate deployment of heterogeneous hypervisors as Hyper-V advances further, VMware price/performance is rationalized, and multi-hypervisor trials are completed.

Tackling the challenges of holistic management of multi-hypervisor infrastructure will take center stage in 2013. Management is typically the Achilles heel, and mixed server virtualization has particular challenges in this regard. Each hypervisor vendor has its own management console and exposes only limited functionality through public APIs. As a result, most heterogeneous management solutions still require the native management consoles -- creating a “manager of managers” operating model. This approach is complex, expensive and simply will not scale. Therefore, IT managers will look to a new generation of technologies to fill the gap.

In 2013, heterogeneous management solutions will be differentiated by their levels of flexibility, integration and the ability to seamlessly manage mixed environments as effortlessly as homogeneous ones.  Vendors like HotLink have built sophisticated technologies to address multi-hypervisor deployments, and data centers will look to these next-generation virtualization management solutions, specifically designed to streamline multi-platform administration and operations.

Though hypervisor vendors will be battling it out next year, customers will be the ultimate winners. Fierce competition increases innovation and decreases cost --, the perfect combination for your IT roadmap in 2013.