Microsoft Jumps Into Virtualization Fray

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SQL Server in a virtual machine

Because Hyper-V comes with Windows Server 2008, "if you buy a Windows Server 2008 license for SQL Server, for example, you can automatically put up that SQL Server in a virtual machine," Ghostine said.

Although it's a first generation product, Hyper-V has clustering capabilities, VMotion-like capabilities and SCVMM, which lets users manage both VMware and Hyper-V virtual machines, Ghostine added. VMotion is the technology that migrates virtual machines from one physical server to another.

And, as Hyper-V gains ground in the SMB space, "Microsoft will gain more experience, expand its feature set, and be able to take on the enterprise market as well," Ghostine said.

Hyper-V enterprise ready?

Dave Malcolm, chief technology officer at Microsoft certified partner Surgient, whose Virtual Lab Management applications accelerate the application development cycle, says Hyper-V is enterprise-ready.

"We were working with Connectix before they were acquired by Microsoft, and we're in integration tests with Hyper-V now, and I'd say Hyper-V is ready for the enterprise," Malcolm told InternetNews.com.

Surgient supports Hyper-V, VMware, Citrix and "others who provide hypervisors," and, while "VMware is probably ahead on some management capabilities, there are some things there that Microsoft will roll out over the next couple of service packs," he added.

"I don't think people will notice the difference between Hyper-V and VMware."

Sean Derrington, Symantec director of storage management, believes Hyper-V, Citrix and other hypervisors actually offer enterprises more flexibility than VMware's hypervisor does.

"With Hyper-V, it's a question of how organizations will be able to manage application resources in a consistent way to the physical world, and Hyper-V is close to the open source hypervisor that Citrix uses for Xen Server, and Red Hat, Oracle, Novell and Sun use," Derrington told InternetNews.com.

"These are fundamentally different from VMware's; not all the architectures for x86 are designed the same way VMware is."

Ultimately, Microsoft's sheer size and power will push it to the forefront.

"The big advantage that Microsoft brings to the table here is that it's Microsoft, and that, for a lot of Microsoft shops, especially in SMB, will mean going Microsoft will be the path of least resistance to get into virtualization," Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff told InternetNews.com by e-mail.

Even existing VMware customers might be tempted by Hyper-V, Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Mark Bowker told InternetNews.com.

"They'll evaluate Hyper-V and see what workloads they can begin running on a virtual machine," he said. "Remember, virtualization is still in its infancy and the market is huge."

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