Barney's Rubble

Musical Hypervisor Chairs

Now that Hyper-V is out, it's time to take a fresh look and offer a fresh set of predictions.

Besides running Redmond, I'm also the editorial founder of Virtualization Review magazine.

This magazine and its Web site, now about a year-and-a-half old, cover all things virtual: hypervisors all from the major vendors, plus storage, network, desktop, application and even I/O virtualization. And, like Redmond's readers, the readers of Virtualization Review are not afraid to ask questions. Here's one:

Dear Mr. Barney,

I love your columns in Virtualization Review. They are humble yet sharp. I've been monitoring the market for a while and couldn't disagree with you at all. Now, it would be really interesting to hear your opinion on who will lead in the hypervisor market.

Name withheld by request

Anyone with kids, a wife, or a boss knows the best way to get a favor is flattery. In that vein, this column will attempt to answer this kindly worded request.

I tackled this subject last August where I walked through the state of the market, examining VMware, Microsoft and Citrix.

Back then, Microsoft's Hyper-V was more FUD than stud, and VMware had market share that looked more like Microsoft's than that of a modest Palo Alto, Calif., software house.

Now that Hyper-V is out, it's time to take a fresh look and offer a fresh set of predictions.

Back in August I expected Hyper-V's release to "unleash a third-party explosion." I haven't heard any big bangs or seen thousands of third-party products flaring through the night sky. The migration of VMware add-ons to Hyper-V is quieter than I expected -- but these things take time. And many tools are a layer removed from the hypervisor, so it just works already.

It's hard to get a true sense of hypervisor market share, as most are given away and many are bundled. Forrester Research took a crack at it, and now believes that VMware has roughly half of the enterprise market, with Microsoft coming in second with 22 percent. That leaves more than a quarter to other vendors such as Citrix.

VMware should look at this fragmented market and publicly and boldly commit to fuller support of Hyper-V and XenServer hypervisors.

Citrix is doing exactly what VMware should do. Citrix still has XenServer, which has great share among the open source community. But it's also building tools that add value to Hyper-V, and that's where the big bucks are.

This market is so dynamic -- and interoperability is getting to be so good -- that there's room for lots of nice players. We have Parallels, which is a bit more than a niche and KVM 9, now owned by Red Hat. Both all are doing just fine.

Where do you see the hypervisor market going? E-mail me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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