Hyper-V 29% of Hypervisors shipped and Second Place Never Felt so Good

Click!!
Click!!

I couldn’t help but cheer and raise a few virtual fist bumps to the Microsoft Server 2012 and 2012 R2 team as I read the latest report out of some industry group or other. Hyper-V 3.0, you see, is cracking along with just a tick under 1/3rd of the hypervisor market.

Meanwhile, VMware -founder of the genre, much respect for the Pater v-Familias- is running about 2/3rds of virtualized datacenters.

And that’s just fine with me. 

Hyper-V is still in a distant second place. But second place never felt so good as it does right now. And we got some vMomemntum on our side, even if we don’t have feature parity, as I’ve acknowledged before. 

Hyper-V is up in your datacenter and it deserves some V.R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Testify IDC, testify:

A growing number of shops like UMC Health System are moving more business-critical workloads to Hyper-V. In 2013, VMware accounted for 53 percent of hypervisors deployed last year, according to data released in April by IT market researcher IDC. While VMware still shipped a majority, Hyper-V accounted for 29 percent of hypervisors shipped.

The Redmond Magazine report doesn’t get into it beyond some lame analyst comments, but let me break it down for you from a practitioner point of view.

Why is Hyper-V growing in marketshare, stealing some of the vMomentum from the sharp guys at VMware?

Four reasons from a guy who’s worked it:

  • The Networking Stack: It’s not that Windows Server 2012 & 2012 R2 and, as a result, Hyper-V 3.0, have a better network stack than VMware does. It’s that the Windows server team rebuilt the entire stack between 2008 R2 & Server 2012. And it’s OMG SO MUCH BETTER that the last version. Native support for Teaming. Extensible VM switching. Superb layer 3 and layer 2 cmdlets. You can even do BGP routing with it. It’s built to work, with minimal hassle, and it’s solid on a large amount of NICs. I say that as someone who ran 2008 R2 Hyper-V clusters then upgraded the cluster to 2012 in the space of about two weekends. Trust me, if you played around with Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V and broke down in hysterics, it’s time for another look.
  • SMB 3.0 & Storage Spaces/SOFS…don’t call it CIFS and also, it’s our NFS: There’s a reason beyond the obvious why guys like Aidan Finn, the Hyper-Dutchman and DidierV are constantly praising Server Message Block Three dot Zero. It kicks ass. Out of the box, multi-channel is enabled on SMB 3.0, meaning that anytime you create a Hyper-V-Kicks-Ass file share on a server with at least two distinct IP addresses, you’re going to get two distinct channels to your share. And that scales. On Storage Spaces and its HA (and fault tolerant?) big brother Scaled out File Server: what Microsoft gave us was a method by which we could abstract our rotational & SSD disks and tier them. It’s a storage virtualization system that’s quite nifty. It’s not quite VSAN except that both Storage Spaces/SOFS & VSAN seem to share common cause: killing your SAN.

    "Turn me on!" Hyper-V says to the curious
    “Turn me on!” Hyper-V says to the curious
  • Only half the Licensing headaches of VMware: I Do Not Sign the Checks, but there’s something to be said for the fact that the features I mention above are not SKUs. They are part & parcel of Server 2012 R2 Standard. You can implement them without paying more, without getting sign-off from Accounts payable or going back to the well for more spend.Hyper-V just asks that you spend some time on Technet but doesn’t ask for more $$$ as you build a converged virtual switch.
  • It’s approachable: This has always been one of Microsoft’s strengths and now, with Hyper-V 3.0, it’s really true. My own dad -radio engineer, computer hobbyist, the original TRS-80 fan- is testing versions of radio control system software within a Windows 7 32 bit & 64 bit VM right from his Windows 8.1 Professional desktop. On the IT side: if you’re a generalist with a Windows server background, some desire to learn & challenge yourself, and, most importantly, you want to Win #InfrastructureGlory, Hyper-V is tier one hypervisor that’s approachable & forgiving if you’re just starting out in IT.

It’s also pretty damn agnostic. You can now run *BSD on it, several flavors of linux and more. And we know it scales: Hyper-V, or some variant of it, powers the X-Box One (A Hypervisor in Every Living Room achieved), it can power your datacenter, and it’s what’s in Azure.

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