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I just read an interesting commentary on Microsoft Hyper-V by Richard Adhikari on internetnews.com, in which he likens Microsoft to a cat among pigeons because their Hyper-V release is causing quite a lot of “fluttering about and squawking.”

It will be interesting to see how all this pans out, but I think Richard is right on several points:

  1. “Microsoft’s sheer size and power will push it to the forefront.” This will certainly push adoption in corporate environments and, when you consider that the majority of VMware shops are using VMware to virtualize Windows (and many of the current VM admins are repurposed Windows admins), it makes sense that Hyper-V will gain broad acceptance.
  2. Hyper-V’s lack of disaster recovery / business continuity features “will hamper adoption of Hyper-V in the enterprise.” That is likely true at the Enterprise level, but I think there will also be a lot of adoption by SMB’s and other business that don’t necessarily have the high-availability requirements of a global production datacenter customer.

So, does that mean a bunch of people will be dropping VMware? Not necessarily. VMware is a more widely deployed platform, with more mature functionality (especially for the largest IT shops). VMware has also done a fantastic job of making it easy for staff to become educated and certified on its platforms. And they have done a great job of becoming more proactive with regard to platform security and stability over the past year or two.

What I think will happen is you’ll see “the great coexistence” emerge in many enterprises, in no small part because Microsoft has made a commitment to manage both VMware and Hyper-V in its management suite, which means you don’t have to make an “either/or” choice. Microsoft is also being very aggressive in its pricing, and has made some smart licensing changes to make it easier to deploy Hyper-V broadly in the enterprise.

And, contrary to one quote in Adhikari’s article, Microsoft doesn’t intend to keep Hyper-V boxed in as a Windows-centric platform; they are talking the most heterogeneous talk I’ve ever heard from them, and are already supporting both Windows and Suse Linux as VM’s in their first release. I don’t think they’ll stop there.

This can only be good for customers, as both VMware and Microsoft will have to concentrate not just on technical strengths but on the overall combination of (technology)+(cost savings)+(user experience) to win the hearts and minds of the enterprise. It’s going to be a fun ride for customers.