Vizioncore's vConverter 5.0 adds P2V support for Microsoft Hyper-V

Vizioncore brings physical-to-virtual conversion and data protection to the Hyper-V hypervisor, which could be a huge blessing for Microsoft

How appropriate is it that while at the Microsoft TechEd 2010 Conference in New Orleans, virtualization management software provider Vizioncore announced that its upcoming vConverter 5.0 product is adding support for physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversions on the Microsoft Hyper-V platform?

What's interesting here isn't that Hyper-V is gaining another P2V solution; rather, Microsoft is gaining another ISV partner for its virtualization ecosystem. You see, until now Vizioncore has focused on building solutions for VMware ESX. But with the introduction of vConverter 5.0, it's clear that Vizioncore is now ready to move on and become a multihypervisor management company.

[ Novell beefs up its PlateSpin P2V solution for Hyper-V and Linux | Keep up to date on virtualization with InfoWorld's Virtualization channel ]

vConverter 5.0 is not expected to be released until the end of the month, but in advance of this general availability date, Vizioncore is offering a free 90-day licensed version of the software. Administrators and early adopters can take advantage of this early access to prepare their virtual environments and to ascertain what benefits can be gained by transforming their data protection capabilities. Of course, it probably won't hurt Vizioncore to get a fair amount of external testing on the product, what with adding first-time support for a new hypervisor.

This sneak peek edition of vConverter 5.0 will be denoted as vConverter 5.e where the "e" designation stands for "early access."

The vConverter product enables the conversion of physical systems to virtual machines and back again. Once a physical server is converted to a virtual machine, it can be replicated, protected, and recovered on either a virtual system or backed up to another physical machine. By leveraging P2V technology, administrators are able to safeguard physical systems and data within their virtual infrastructure.

So why support Microsoft Hyper-V now? What's the driving force here?

"Vizioncore feels that the time is now to start building awareness in the Hyper-V community because Microsoft is doing more to encourage customer adoption of this virtual server technology," said Kelly Polanski, lead product marketing, DP products at Vizioncore. "Our customers are asking us what we intend to do to support the platform."

When I asked this same question of Dave Bartoletti, a senior analyst with the Taneja Group, he seemed to agree with Vizioncore's assessment. He believes it is a case of waiting for Hyper-V to gain market share -- in other words, waiting for customers to demand Hyper-V management solutions.

"As you know, most small management players live and die by quickly pulling ahead of the pack with some key differentiator, and to date those differentiators had to be VMware-focused," said Bartoletti. "Too many marketing dollars and product development cycles were burned in 2007-2009, rushing out 'multiplatform' management solutions designed to tap into the (relatively non-existent) multi-hypervisor market. This was a natural reaction -- based on fear, mostly -- to Microsoft's major noise in the virtualization space. Now that Hyper-V is out and in the field, these vendors can wait for customers to tell them what doesn't work, what's really missing (as opposed to the FUD), and attack just those holes with targeted solutions to differentiate."

For Microsoft and Hyper-V, Vizioncore's announcement could be a huge blessing. One of the things that has pushed VMware to greatness and market share dominance has been a great ISV partner ecosystem. That's not uncommon. When you start with a great product and a good foundation, then add useful and wanted applications, people tend to show up in large numbers.

Unfortunately, it can often become a chicken-and-egg problem. In order to gain market share and wide adoption of Hyper-V, it needs to have the useful and wanted application stack surrounding the core technology. Even Microsoft can't build that alone. But in order to get an ISV ecosystem to build those applications, they need customer adoption of the platform and a market to sell their wares too. You can see the dilemma.

Bartoletti said this latest move by Vizioncore signals some market share uptick for Hyper-V, but added, "The fact that we're starting with P2V tools puts us back in 2005-era VMware ecosystem maturity. It shows how much of a lead VMware has."

Polanski said Vizioncore knows its customers are in the evaluation stage of considering Hyper-V. To assist in that evaluation, Vizioncore wants to enable organizations to be able to rapidly move virtual machines from VMware to Hyper-V and to be able to convert physical systems to Hyper-V. Both of these capabilities are now offered in the vConverter 5.e product, which is part of Vizioncore's Data Protection (DP) portfolio. The portfolio of products also includes such Vizioncore favorites as vRanger Pro, the company's backup software, and vReplicator, its disaster recovery and business continuity offering.

One area that Hyper-V continues to lag VMware is in the breadth and maturity of VM-optimized backup and recovery solutions. Indeed, that's a perfect place for Vizioncore to be, what with its DP suite of products already created for VMware environments.

According to Polanski, Vizioncore intends to support all of the company's DP products on Microsoft Hyper-V sometime within the next 12 months.

So is it true? If you build it, will they come?

This article, "Vizioncore's vConverter 5.0 adds P2V support for Microsoft Hyper-V," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Marshall's Virtualization Report blog and follow the latest developments in virtualization at InfoWorld.com.

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