Burton Group stirs up a contriversy over Hyper-V's enterprise readiness
Still, even if the hypervisor is soon to be a played-out battlefield, some people may not believe Hyper-V is up to snuff in the enterprise environment. For example, IDG News Service reporter James Niccolai recently reported the following: "Windows Server 2008 R2 will help Microsoft narrow the feature gap with virtualization products from VMware and Citrix Systems, but its new Hyper-V software still won't be 'production-ready' for most enterprise applications, according to Burton Group."
The analyst company did a side-by-side comparison between vSphere v4 and Hyper-V and concluded that Hyper-V lacks three of the 27 features required for a thumbs-up from Burton: "the ability to prioritize virtual machine restarts; support for a minimum of two virtual CPUs per guest operating system; and the lack of a fault-tolerant management server."
As Niccolai reported, "The first can be important because dependencies can exist between virtual machines, so companies may need to start them in a particular order, said Burton Group analyst Chris Wolf. The second translates to a lack of compute power: Microsoft supports more than two virtual CPUs with its newest OSes, but only two with Windows Server 2003, and one for all other operating systems, Wolf said." Note, this issue with compute is that Microsoft does not offer SMP (multiple virtual CPU) support for Linux workloads. Many large enterprises run a variety of Linux applications in production, making scalable support for Linux environments a requirement. The Burton Group and Chris Wolf (a virtualization expert) are well respected so I look forward to seeing if Hyper-V can meet their standards going forward.
I spoke to several people at Microsoft about Hyper-V being enterprise-worthy, the Burton Group report, and their take on the competition with VMware. The had several interesting points that speak to the other side of the coin discussed by David Davis. They countered:
First, VMware's platform is the ESX hypervisor and Microsoft's platform is Windows. This reality dictates the two companies' business models, development priorities, developer and channel priorities, and more. For Microsoft this means the partner ecosystem for Windows Server is the partner ecosystem for Hyper-V. It also means that customers adopt Windows Server for much more than just virtualization (Hyper-V), but also Web, directory services, file/print, networking, security, and more. And it means that the APIs for its products are open to one and all, not closely guarded like the APIs for vSphere.