Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Open Source Cloud, @CloudExpo, Cloud Security

Containers Expo Blog: Article

‘Hypervisity’ Rages On

Competition in the hypervisor space is vigorous these days

We've tracked a trend for the past several years: customers aren't moving to standardize on a single brand or type of server, operating system, or even x86 hypervisor. But, in our in fifth annual x86 Data Center Survey (2011-‘12 edition), we were somewhat surprised to find that customers were using a wide range of different hypervisors to a greater extent than we anticipated.

The total number of respondents in our survey was 345, with 40% of respondents in mid-size and large organizations of 4,000 employees and above. This was a global survey; 46% of respondents hailed from Europe, 40% from North America, and 11% from Asia/Pacific. Respondents came from our Gabriel Consulting Group survey data base of previous participants and from targeted advertising.

Just over 80% of the IT shops in our survey are using VMware on at least some systems in their infrastructures. The company held roughly the same percentage of usage in both the 2009-'10 and 2011-'12 editions of our survey.

While VMware is the most prevalent, the company doesn't have a lock on the enterprise hypervisor market; other mechanisms are getting plenty of use as well.

Microsoft's Hyper-V product is the second most widely used hypervisor - around 40% of our enterprise data center respondents use it on at least some systems. This percentage has held roughly steady over both survey periods.

The major Xen variants from Citrix and Oracle are used by 32% and 21% of our survey respondents, respectively. These percentages are virtually the same in both our 2009-'10 survey and in our latest 2011-'12 edition.

The only virtualization mechanism showing growth overall is KVM, which moved from 31% to 33% prevalence in our two surveys. This clearly isn't a huge jump, but it's more than we've seen for other solutions.

Standardization of Hypervisor Platforms
Looking beyond which virtualization types are used, next we analyzed standardization on a particular hypervisor technology. We were able to trend this data as well. Again, VMware dominated but we detected more customers committing to KVM and Hyper-V as their "go-to" hypervisor technology. Let's review the numbers.

VMware has become slightly stronger in terms of being the standard virtualization solution for our enterprise data respondents, moving from 55% to 57%. But the magnitude of VMware's sizeable lead obscures the moves in the back of the pack.

We examined the same data, but with VMware removed to more clearly highlight the changes in standardization rate among the other hypervisors.

Customers standardizing on Oracle's version of Xen moved from 2% to 3% during the two survey periods. For Citrix Xen, we see a small drop from 4% to 3%. Both of these changes are probably due to differences in the survey respondent bases.

But when it comes to KVM and Microsoft's Hyper-V, we do think that we're seeing real growth. The number of customers who use Hyper-V as their standard solution more than doubled, moving from 3% to almost 8%. KVM also saw its customer standardization rates double from 3% to 6%.

Examining KVM's Growth
In fact, KVM is the only hypervisor in our last two surveys to notch gains in both the number of overall users and in the number of users adopting it as their standard go-to hypervisor.

These are modest gains to be sure, with overall usage increasing by 2% and standardizers growing from 3% to 6%.

While this isn't what we'd call "house on fire" growth, it's certainly a positive development for KVM and, given other KVM-related activities, might signal the beginning of a growth spurt.

We believe KVM capabilities have come a long way in the past several years, with support for a wide range of Linux, Windows, and even Unix guest operating systems. KVM also provides some of the most popular features of VMware and Xen, like live migration and the ability to host large (up to 16 CPU) SMP guest instances.

It's noteworthy that KVM is different from the others in a couple of crucial ways. It's the only hypervisor that's actually part of Linux and it uses the Linux scheduler and memory manager. Both VMware and Xen are external hypervisors and therefore need to have control mechanisms for the entire system, making them larger and more complex.

Summary
Despite VMware's big lead, competition in the hypervisor space is vigorous these days. Microsoft is using their heft to drive Hyper-V into their sizeable installed base. Commercial and open source Xen and KVM variants give customers alternatives that are technically sophisticated and also available as fully supported packages.

Our survey clearly shows that rather than selecting a single hypervisor and virtualization suite provider, customers are picking and choosing what they feel are the best tools for their unique needs. The more competition we have in this or any other market, the better the resulting products. Go here if you are interested in seeing more details on our report.

More Stories By Dan Olds

Dan Olds is Founding Principal, Gabriel Consulting Group. He has proven himself to be someone who understands both business and technology and, more importantly, how technology can be applied to solve business problems. He has been in the high tech arena for 15 years; he held significant positions at Cray, Sun Microsystems, and IBM prior to founding Gabriel Consulting Group in 2001. This varied background gives Dan insight into how technology can be used to make business more efficient, effective, and profitable.

Dan was one of the first technologists to closely study IT Total Cost of Ownership, virtualization, and server consolidation. With Gabriel Consulting Group, he has completed a number of groundbreaking studies on these industry trends and their impact on operational efficiency. He closely follows advancements in high performance computing, software, and worldwide technology development.

Dan is a frequent speaker at industry events, and he contributes articles to technology publications. He has been quoted widely in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Bloomberg News, Computerworld, eWeek, InformationWeek, CNET, and a host of other tech news sources.

Dan's formal education is in business; he earned an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business with concentrations in Finance and Marketing.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...