Microsoft is VMware’s only real competitive threatApril 13, 2012
Let me be clear here right from the start. In server virtualization, there are a number of worthy competitors to industry leading VMware. But as virtualization becomes mainstream for most organizations, the only vendor that has any kind of chance of catching up to VMware, and contending for its crown, is Microsoft.
For virtualization, 2011 was a watershed year as we saw the proportion of server workloads on virtual machines pass the 50% mark across all enterprises (small to large). That includes production servers as well as test/dev.
We’ve been covering the server virtualization market since 2007. Throughout that time the interesting story has been less about perennial leader – in features and market/mind share – but rather the game of catch-up being played by VMware’s competitors. Microsoft was late to the game with Hyper-V but has steadily improved the product. Citrix bought XenServer, restructured their whole product lines around virtualization, using “Xen” as a branding lever for everything from server virtualization to server hosted applications. Red Hat has come a long way fast since acquiring KVM in 2008.
Others fell by the wayside. Virtual Iron had a compelling and low cost alternative but it was eaten by Oracle and disappeared. Sun Microsystems was also acquired by Oracle. Their server virtualization and management products melding into Oracle’s offerings.
2011 was also the year when the market started to really take Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization seriously. This was due largely to two events, the release of Hyper-V R2 Service Pack 1 (Hyper-V R2 SP1) and the beta release of improved management components in Microsoft System Center 2012.
In our recent strategy set on server virtualization, Get the Most out of Server Virtualization, we recognized Microsoft as the leading alternative to VMware. Microsoft has solidified its second place status in terms of market choice. More significantly, Microsoft has solidified its role as the go to alternative to VMware.
Between our 2011 and 2012 surveys, VMware and Microsoft emerged as the sole choices among those using only one virtualization vendor. The others are now more likely to appear in secondary and special purpose roles where more than one server virtualization hypervisor product is deployed.
It should be noted that the proportion that have a heterogeneous virtualization environment has grown year over year (from 42% to 50% in 2012). So there are plenty of opportunities for competitors.
Typical multi-hypervisor scenarios include cases where the organization standardizes on VMware for its main production servers, but leverages a lower cost alternative — such as XenServer or Hyper-V — for secondary processes or for special projects like virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). But when it comes to choosing just one hypervisor for everything, increasingly that choice is being made between VMware and Microsoft.
Recently Info-Tech also published our most recent Vendor Landscape report on Server Virtualization. Interestingly, Microsoft was not a Champion in the landscape. Citrix and VMware were Champions while Microsoft is a Market Pillar. How can this be if we see Microsoft as the chief rival to VMware?
Our Vendor Landscape compares vendors on a range of measures, including depth and breadth of product features as well as vendor market strength. Citrix XenServer remains the product that is the closest competitor to VMware feature for feature. Microsoft has a range of impressive features and management capabilities coming down the pike, but we could not give them full marks at the time of writing as they were still in beta.This entry was posted in Infrastructure, News & Analysis, Research, What's New in Research and tagged Citrix, hyperv, hypervisor, kvm, microsoft, microsystems, server, server-virtualization, vdi, virtualization, VMWare, xenserver. Bookmark the permalink.