Microsoft's share could continue to increase because of anger among VMware customers over new licensing prices. In postings on a VMware community forum, one customer professed to be "totally floored" by the new prices, while another used the phrase "still in shock" and claimed to be emailing a VMware sales rep to complain.
VMware increased the number of licenses required to virtualize systems that meet certain thresholds of sockets and memory, causing one customer to call it a "penalty on density."
"Our team prefers vSphere over Hyper-V, but with this new pricing we might be forced to switch," one customer wrote.
Hyper-V is free as a stand-alone product and comes with Windows Server, which many or most VMware customers buy to begin with. The analyst firm Gartner recently placed Microsoft and Citrix in the leaders portion of its "Magic Quadrant," behind VMware, meaning their tools aren't as robust but are enterprise-ready.
Veeam's virtualization management tools only support VMware's hypervisor today, but the company is planning a backup and replication product for Hyper-V in Q4 2011, and some of its VMware tools are compatible with Microsoft's System Center management platform.
"Because we're a virtualization company, we want to support a market-leading hypervisor or hypervisors," said Doug Hazelman, Veeam's senior director of product strategy. "We have always felt it was going to be a race between VMware and Microsoft, but at the same time we can't count out Citrix."
Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin
Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.