Is Everyone but You Deploying a Multi-Hypervisor Data Center?

Don’t fall into the trap of believing that everyone else has managed to architect a successful multi-hypervisor private cloud — the trend is actually heading in the opposite direction.

A recent survey by Wikibon found that multi-hypervisor environments are actually projected to decline to 43% next year, down from 52% today.  Wikibon also concluded:

… the experimentation phase of multi-hypervisor is coming to an end, and consolidation of the number of hypervisors is expected over the next few years. When asked about their strategy, 48% of the sample said they were willing to trade the risk of lock-in for simplification and expect to focus on a single hypervisor approach.

For the most part, those advocating a deliberate multi-hypervisor strategy do not necessarily have the end user’s best interest in mind.  They are either looking for a way to increase their own market share or sell a solution to help manage the complexity of a heterogeneous environment.

Microsoft, which has been trying desperately for over half a decade to break out of the mid-20% virtualization market share range, would like nothing more than to get a foot in the door of established VMware shops.  Which is why they invest heavily in attempts to lure VMware professionals over to Hyper-V:

The “over 70%” figure referenced above likely comes from an ESG survey that does not attempt to explain the proportional share of the hypervisors in question.  There is no denying that complex data centers are rarely homogenous — despite the burden of added management overhead, there are often multiple vendors of server hardware, networking equipment, operating systems, and application frameworks.  One would not expect the hypervisor to necessarily be an exception.  However, consider the reality that even in an environment with hundreds of VMware ESXi hosts, it takes just a single Hyper-V host to trigger the “multiple hypervisors” designation.

Lastly, consider this pithy, if not slightly facetious, perspective from Gartner analyst Chris Wolf on the topic:

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The hypervisor is a crucial element of the virtualized data center and hybrid cloud. Reliability, manageability, and security benefits ensure VMware will continue to dominate as customers everywhere count on VMware vSphere for their primary virtualization platform by an incredible margin.

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2 comments

  1. Sketch’s avatar

    So – is this like the coffee conundrum? A “trusted” group says its bad for you, then a year later says its GOOD for you, then several flip-flops later, you’re still drinking coffee, while all the chicken-littles of the world have screamed their bloody heads off for nothing.

    “Lock-in” was always a BS argument if only because there are few options of VM formats in use (with NO easy answer) and NO ‘true’ multi-hypervisor management – and there never will be, because to do so would require these vendors to open up proprietary information, and that is something they simply will not do.

    “Lock-In” is something some marketing schmuck at Microsoft probably came up with because they don’t innovate anymore and couldn’t find a company to buy fast enough to get them up to par, and OpenStack? that’s an “open source” wet dream.

    1. Eric Gray’s avatar

      I love those coffee studies.

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