VMware may be losing dominance in server virtualization

Veeam's V-Index report shows one-third of enterprises plan to switch primary hypervisor platform

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While VMware was not mentioned specifically as the platform that companies were thinking about leaving, those top four reasons certainly seem to point the finger in VMware's direction. Back in July, VMware announced an update to its core platform with the release of vSphere 5. But in addition to new technology, vSphere 5 also came with a new licensing model and an increased cost that proved widely unpopular with VMware's consumers. At the same time, competitors have been singing about new features and functionality that come in at a supposed lower cost to VMware, and also claim their products have reached a level of feature parity -- or elevated maturity -- with the market leader's platform.

V-Index Consolidation Ratios

I also found it curious that companies are overestimating the consolidation ratio within their own environments. According to the survey results, organizations on average believe they are getting nearly 80 percent better consolidation ratios than they are actually achieving, with an averaged perceived ratio of VMs to physical servers coming in at 9:1, while the V-Index report found in reality a ratio more on the average of 5.1:1. Perhaps next quarter, Vanson Bourne can follow up on this.

Hopefully there is a reason for this large of a disparity between perceived and actual consolidation ratios, and decision makers are really more up to speed on their environments than this may show. But since organizations plan on expanding their percentage of servers being virtualized, this lower-than-expected ratio may not be that alarming to IT managers.

The September V-Index report has also been updated to include enterprise virtual desktop infrastructures or VDI, a growing segment in the virtualization market. What's interesting here is that VMware's market share lead isn't quite the same as it is within the server virtualization market. When the discussion shifted to hypervisor platforms used to specifically serve VDI desktops, VMware ESX drops to 54.2 percent, while Citrix XenServer climbs to 24.9 percent and Microsoft Hyper-V reaches 20.3 percent.

However as with servers, companies expressed an interest in swapping out their primary hypervisor for desktop environments as well. The number is a bit smaller, with only 33.8 percent planning to make a switch, but the reasons for change are similar.

The information contained within the V-Index is interesting and useful to ponder. However, this is only the second quarter for the index, and it will take some time before trend lines can be seen for sure.

As interesting as this information is, I doubt VMware decision makers are scrambling over it. Even if folks are creating more heterogeneous data centers and looking to move to other hypervisor platforms, that's just another reason why VMware for the last few years has been shifting its focus away from the hypervisor and more toward the cloud fabric and its PaaS and IaaS cloud offerings -- another area where its competitors will have to play catch-up.

What about you? What's your current server or desktop hypervisor platform? And do you plan on switching any time soon?

This article, "VMware may be losing dominance in server virtualization," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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