Almost everybody is virtualizing x86-based commercial enterprise applications, and VMware is still the hypervisor of choice for most organizations, but how long can that situation last? It is the nature of IT organizations to prefer heterogeneous relationships, so the outstanding questions are: Will VMware users remain faithful, for how long, and to what extent?
Server virtualization projects are still driving activity and spending across much of the IT marketplace, and only 31% of respondents considered their environments to be ‘sufficiently virtualized’ at the end of 2012. A further 23% of respondents are expecting to hit that nebulous goal in 2013, leaving the other half to toil away for the next few years. In this transitional environment, most IT organizations are still developing their expertise in running production workloads in a virtualized environment, and are sensibly keeping things simple by not introducing unnecessary variables.
The future hangs in the balance
In TheInfoPro Server and Virtualization Study’s Wave 12, the respondents that chose to discuss their virtualization plans in detail were equally divided over their plans to introduce heterogeneous hypervisor environments. A best-of-breed match to requirements and cost were the leading considerations by a wide margin.
Most respondents have indicated that when license renewals are up for renegotiation, users will reconsider their options. Thirty-eight percent (38%) of respondents will consider switching at least 20% of their Windows virtualization requirements to an alternative platform, with a further 8% maybe considering a switch, implying that Microsoft and other vendors can lay siege to VMware’s fortress-like market position.
Anecdotal commentary by TheInfoPro respondent community adds some flavor to the thinking behind the statistics:
- “Twenty percent (20%) will be something else no matter what: cost is the major driving factor which trumps simplicity.” – LE, Financial Services
- “Why support heterogeneous hypervisors? Optimize TCO (i.e., gain leverage with VMware) or be forced to do so by a software vendor like Oracle or Microsoft (due to product certification requirements).” – LE, Consumer Goods/Retail
- “Ten to twenty percent (10-20%) probability, cost or a point approach, we have VMware, may consider Microsoft for Windows or Red Hat for Linux. Have to be a significant cost savings. [Reasons not to:] Too busy running our business.” – LE, Financial Services
- “Easier to manage one hypervisor. We’re past the initial virtualization ramp-up and at a mature perspective. I don’t see the value to retooling to include other hypervisors.” – LE, Telecom/Technology
- “Have now, cost a big one, licensing deal ran out. Red Hat, Citrix, Microsoft all vying for attention. Sixty to eighty percent (60-80%) could run on anything. Continue to upgrade and move along with VMware.” – LE, Financial Services
- “We shall stay in a homogeneous environment since the company’s mission is to keep to one vendor within geographic regions. VMware is the leader today in the Windows virtualized environment.” – LE, Business/Accounting/Engineering