Virtualization Technology News and Information
SUSE: Interoperability the Priority in 2012 Hypervisor Wars


What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2012? Find out in this series exclusive.

Interoperability the Priority in 2012 Hypervisor Wars

Contributed Article by Kerry Kim, SUSE

In the last few years, competition has been steadily increasing in the hypervisor world, with ESX (VMware) leading the pack and others, like Hyper-V (Microsoft), Xen and KVM making steady inroads. In 2012, will Hyper-V3 finally start getting significant traction? Will there be rapid migration toward open source hypervisors, as accelerated innovation drives advanced features and functionality? Or will VMware continue to dominate?

Competition remains, but cooperation is king

As vendor differentiation increasingly manifests itself in the virtualization management layer and pure hypervisors become a commodity, the idea of competition in the hypervisor market becomes less relevant. Especially as different virtualization management frameworks support multiple hypervisor technologies. In the near term, however, the market will remain competitive and VMware will continue to rule the marketplace. But we'll see that slowly start to change as large enterprises that chose VMware integrate multiple hypervisors to manage different workloads. For some enterprises, the need for certain features on the management side will dictate their hypervisor choice.  Increasingly, though, they'll choose a particular hypervisor based on their tolerance to risk and desire to avoid lock-in with a proprietary vendor. 

Furthermore, enterprises will be looking for ways to manage not only the multiple hypervisors in their environments but also software that connects these hypervisors. In other words, they're looking for interoperability. Think of it this way: In today's digitally-ruled world, most consumers have a lot of different devices. iPod; mobile phone, laptop, etc. The much more convenient route, rather than using several cords and taking up several outlets, is to use a very manageable universal charger that can adapt to all of your devices. This is similar to enterprise software needs. You don't buy software that runs only on a Mac or certain PC hardware; you purchase software that can be deployed to all endpoints. With hypervisors, there used to be technology silos, and VMware was the option. Now, with open source driving innovation rather than proprietary software, there is an increasing need for these hypervisors to work together for more manageable workloads and greater data center efficiency.

Xen and KVM Learn to Get Along

Xen and KVM used to compete head on. Now that Xen is integrated into the Linux Kernel , it will be much easier for the open source development community to support it. And lessening that support burden increases the likelihood that both open source hypervisors will continue to be viable choices for enterprises in the years to come. While KVM is generating more interest, many enterprises have already deployed production-level virtual services using Xen. Continued support for both open source hypervisors means enterprises will be able to deploy the open source solution that works best for them, supporting the prediction that multiple hypervisors will be leveraged in 2012 to manage different workloads. 

Next year, we'll see that Xen remains a factor; vendors will continue to support it, and the community will too. Within the community, there's the common sense aspect that working together will benefit everyone long term, rather than diverging with an "every-enterprise-for-itself" mentality. There will still be competition between Xen and KVM, but it will be much friendlier in 2012.

Open Source - Slow and Steady Wins the Race?

In 2012, we'll see open source hypervisors making headway against VMware, but it will be incremental - much like what we saw with the adoption of Linux.  It's not displacement; it's net new growth, organically growing the enterprise data center using solutions that drive the business.  That's why enterprises will adopt and support multiple hypervisor technologies, as well as pursue strategies that incorporate support for mixed IT environments.

Still, while the goal is to make multiple hypervisors work together - it won't be a stroll in the IT park.  In 2012, we'll see greater progress toward standards and the adoption of management tools that deliver greater visibility and support for mixed IT environments.

Clear Skies Aren't in the Forecast Yet

It may always be sunny in Philadelphia, but the forecast is still cloudy in the IT world. That's not changing in 2012, though the excessive hype might start to die down as people look to the practical needs cloud can fulfill. More enterprises are looking at private clouds today, and hypervisor choices will impact those decisions. Hypervisors will become a standard part of the operating system as private cloud and virtualization strategies roll out. And those strategies will include heterogeneous environments, encouraging enterprises to look to open source solutions over proprietary ones to manage and support multiple hypervisors.


Published Wednesday, December 21, 2011 1:38 PM by David Marshall
Comments - Virtualization Technology News and Information for Everyone - (Author's Link) - January 4, 2012 7:06 AM

I'd like to personally welcome each and every one of you to the start of 2012! As we begin what will certainly prove to be a fantastic new year, I wanted to make sure to thank all of the loyal member's and readers of Once again, with the help

To post a comment, you must be a registered user. Registration is free and easy! Sign up now!
<December 2011>