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'Good enough' Microsoft Hyper-V starts turning more heads

Microsoft virtualization technology still has uphill battle vs. VMware, but third-party support making Hyper-V more alluring to customers

By , Network World
April 23, 2013 12:29 PM ET

Network World - About three years ago Embotics jumped into developing support in its private cloud management platform for Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor, hopeful that the VMware virtualization challenger would take off. When that takeoff initially stalled, Embotics curtailed its Hyper-V work to focus resources elsewhere.

But over the past six to eight months, Embotics saw a big increase in customer interest for Hyper-V -- so it resurrected its efforts and earlier this month officially rolled out support for the Microsoft platform.

Jay Litkey
Jay Litkey, CEO, Embotics

"It's finally good enough," says CEO Jay Litkey of Hyper-V. "It's finally ready."

[ BACKGROUND: VMware, the bell tolls for thee and Microsoft is ringing it ]

Embotics isn't alone in expanding support for Hyper-V. OpenStack, the open source cloud computing platform, did likewise: Hyper-V was originally supported in the project, but was later dropped until the most recent Grizzly release of the code, which now supports both Hyper-V and VMware ESX hypervisor.

Around the time of this month's Microsoft Management Summit a host of companies rolled out support for Microsoft's suite of management tools, with more than a handful of them extending their platforms to support Hyper-V. Other announcements included:

  • Amazon Web Services announcing its Storage Gateway now runs in Microsoft Hyper-V virtualized environments, in addition to VMware ESXi architectures. The gateway is a software appliance that acts to synchronize data between customers' on-premises data and Amazon's cloud (Simple Storage Service or S3 specifically) for file backup, disaster recovery or sharing.
  • Cisco now supporting Windows Server 2012, which includes Hyper-V, and Windows Systems Center VM Manager in its Unified Computing System (UCS), including the Microsoft management tools being certified to work on Nexus 1000V Series hardware, as well as on Cisco/NetApp partnership gear named FlexPod; and in Cisco/EMC partnership packages called VSPEX.
  • Hitachi Data Systems announcing its unified computing platform (UCP) now supports Windows Server 2012 and Windows Systems Center.
  • Virtual machine backup specialist Veeam announcing broader support for Hyper-V in the Virtual Lab v7 release of its Veeam Backup and Replication software, which allows users to reboot VMs directly from compressed or deduplicated backup files. Vision Solutions, another provider of disaster recovery and high availability services, expanded its support to include not only Hyper-V, but now Windows Azure, Microsoft's infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud platform.

So what does it all mean? Mark Bowker, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, says it's common for providers to make news at shows like the Management Summit but that "the frequency and sheer quantity of them points to something bigger. Microsoft has really come around in the last year or so." The release of Windows Server 2012 and Windows Systems Center, plus improvements to the Hyper-V virtualization platform have all caused IT professionals to take a closer look at the Microsoft's virtualization offering, he says.

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