Three key features added to SuperVisor for VMware 1.5 include:
- Snapshot Manager, which gives administrators the ability to create, utilize, and manage cross-platform snapshots inside the VMware vCenter console, providing a single point of management for heterogeneous virtual machines
- Template Manager, which enables users to create and deploy a single template across all target hypervisors, eliminating the redundancy of building and maintaining multiple platform-specific virtual machine templates
- Homogeneous Live Migration, which allows VMware vMotion capabilities to be utilized for cross-platform, critical workloads -- vCenter will be able to manage the live migration of Hyper-V, XenServer and KVM virtual machines within homogeneous clusters (for example, from Hyper-V host to Hyper-V host, or from XenServer host to XenServer host)
The homogeneous live migration feature is a nice addition. However, keeping live migrations locked to a particular platform is still limiting. In this day and age where we want it our way and we want it now, wouldn't it be great if virtual machines could be live migrated from one host to another without worrying about the underlying platform type? That way, we could migrate a VMware virtual machine to a Hyper-V or XenServer platform (or vice versa) if it were the better choice.
This feat may not be easy, but it's also not science fiction. In fact, HotLink CEO Lynn LeBlanc hinted that her team may be working on this very thing, saying that this barrier may be broken by an on-the-fly virtual-to-virtual (V2V) migration. Stay tuned.
While all of this sounds great, it's important to remember that this is technology, not magic pixie dust. The software does a lot of things, but it can't make Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer, and Red Hat KVM do things that only VMware vSphere currently has the capabilities to do. These other platforms have advanced over the years, but they're still playing catchup with VMware. There are a number of VMware-specific features, like Distributed Resource Scheduling (DRS), that HotLink can't extend to the other platforms on its own.
HotLink sells SuperVisor for VMware with either a perpetual license or an annual subscription license (a new option with the latest 1.5 release). To get things moving, the company offers a starter kit with the SuperVisor server and the ability to manage five physical hosts running non-VMware hypervisors at a cost of $25,000 for the perpetual license while the annual subscription starts at $6,000 for the same number of hosts.
As you can see, the technology doesn't come cheap. Do you save money moving non-mission-critical workloads onto one of these cheaper alternative hypervisors but still managing them from VMware vCenter thanks to HotLink? You'll have to do the math. But no matter which way you slice it, moving to a heterogeneous hypervisor environment is going to add a cost somewhere. Make sure you weigh all the costs associated with every option.
Does this look like something your organization would purchase and use? Are you one of those VMware administrators who refuses to give up VMware vCenter? If you could still use VMware vCenter to manage alternative hypervisor platforms, would that make you consider going heterogeneous in your virtual data center? Let me know what you think.
This article, "HotLink SuperVisor brings multihypervisor support to VMware vCenter," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization and cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.