Infoworld.com Virtualisation Shootout april 2011
Infoworld.com Virtualisation Shootout april 2011

Of course we all knew that already 🙂 Paul Venezia posted an in depth article on Infoworld where he compares the four main server virtualization software competitors on a selection of criteria.

Now, you can nit-pick on the measurements he made or the criteria he has chosen, but in general I think it’s a solid test of up-to-date versions.

The best conclusions I can draw from his report are these:

VMware might not always be the cheapest, VMware might not always be the one with the highest speeds.. but VMware is still the one with the most diverse OS support (any x86 OS can be virtualized), the best management toolkit and the most reliable architecture.

 

The article also shows some interesting trends. If you go back in time a bit, you can certainly remember that Citrix was aiming at the server virtualization market when they bought Xen. They even re-branded their entire portfolio with it after the purchase. When you look at the results they present in the test Paul did, the conclusion I draw is that Citrix has run out of fuel in this part of town and is concentrating on the desktop again.

Also, another remarkable trend is to be seen at Microsoft and Red Hat. A few years back, Red Hat didn’t really compete in this part of town and Microsoft was more or less the laughing stock of the bunch. Nobody really considered running Hyper-V in their data center as it was not even ready for proper single server deployment, let alone in a complete data center cluster.

Well, Microsoft did what was to be expected of them; they improved and improved again. One thing can be said of their current version, it can be deployed in a data center scenario. But as the shoot out shows, there is still a lot of room for improvements. And we all know that statements made with previous versions of Hyper-V like ‘who needs live migration’ quickly changed into ‘look, we can do live migration too!’. Reliability and scalability hugely improved, management still is a pain in the butt for Redmond. One thing that strikes me most when I am in selection of a virtualization platform. Many clients tend to think Hyper-V is for free. You get it with any server license you buy. Indeed you do. But keep in mind that you burn that specific license for your virtual platform AND you still need to buy a collection of management software to properly manage the lot. But I guess we haven’t seen the last of this yet.

Red Hat is one of the most remarkable companies in this list. They have been on the virtualization train for quite some time but as this test shows, they really can compete with the big three in this field.. and come out as second. It seems that open source is closing the gap quickly with the enterprise environments and really showing off what they can do, although implementation is a bit limited with Windows and Red Hat Linux as only supported client VM’s.

Anyway, when you are in the process of selecting your new server virtualization platform, this definitely is a must-read article.