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November 4, 2011

Mass defections away from Vmware coming?

Filed under: Virtualization — Tags: — Nate @ 10:57 am

I have expected as much since Vmware announced their abrupt licensing changes, in the same survey that I commented on last night for another reason, another site has reported on another aspect of it – nearly 40% of respondents are strongly considering moving away from Vmware in the coming year, 47% of which cite the licensing charges as the cause.

A Gartner analyst questions the numbers saying the move will be more complicated than people think and that will help Vmware retain share. I don’t agree with that myself I suspect for most customers the move will probably not be complex at all.

Myself I was just recently trying to a dig a bit more into KVM trying to figure out what they use for storage, it seems for block based systems they are using GFS2 (can’t find the link off hand)?  Though I imagine they can run on top of NFS too. I wonder what the typical deployment is for KVM when it comes to storage – is shared storage widely used or is it instead used mostly with local DAS?

I just read an interesting comment from a Xen user (I’ve never found Xen to be a compelling platform myself from a technology perspective, my own personal use of Xen has been mostly indirect by means of EC2 – which in general is an absolutely terrible experience), from a thread on slashdot about this topic –

Hyper-V is about 5 years behind and XenServer is about 3 years behind in terms of functionality and stability, mainly due to the fact that VMWare has been doing it for so long. VMWare is rock-solid and feature rich, and I’d love to use them. Currently we use XenServer, but with Citrix recently closing down their hardware API’s and not playing nicely with anyone it looks like it is going to be the first casualty. I’ve been very upset by XenServer’s HA so far, plain and simple it has sucked. I’ve had hosts reboot from crashes and the virtual machines go down, but the host thinks it has the machines and all of the other hosts think it has the machines. I’ve done everything XenServer has asked (HA quorum on a separate LUN, patches, etc), but it still just sucks. I’ve yet to see a host fail and the machines to go elsewhere, and the configuration is absolutely right and has been reviewed by Citrix. Maybe 6.0 will be better, but I just heard of major issues today with it. Hyper-V is really where the competition is going to come from, especially with how engrained it is in everything coming up. Want to run Exchange 2010 SP2? Recommendation is Hyper-V virtual machines.

God I miss VMWare.

I hope Vmware comes through for me and produces a price point for the basic vSphere services that is more cost effective(basically I’d like to see vSphere Standard edition with say something crazy like 256GB/socket vRAM with the current pricing). Though I’d settle for with whatever vRAM is available in enterprise plus.

So your actually paying more for the features.

I can certainly find ways to “make do” at a cost of $1,318/socket (w/1 year of enterprise support based on this pricing), for Standard edition (includes Vmotion and HA), vs $4,369/socket for Enterprise plus. Two sockets would be around $2,600 — which is less than where vSphere 3 was, which was in the $3,000-3,500 range per pair of sockets for standard edition in 2007.

I’m not holding my breath though(since being kicked in the teeth with vSphere 5 licensing changes).

Time will tell if there are such defections, unlike Netflix where the commitment is basically zero, we’ll have to wait for the next round of hardware refreshes to kick in to see what sort of impact there is from the licensing change. Speaking of hardware refreshes(that need vSphere 5) what the hell is taking so long with the Opteron 6200s, AMD?! I really thought they’d show up in September, then couldn’t imagine them not showing up in October, and here we are at November, and still no word.

Vmware does need a “Netflix moment”, a term that has been used quite a bit recently.


  1. I’d like to agree but I can’t. Xen will never be what VMWare is now, or was when 4.0 came out, not with the resources and awful support that Citrix provides. If anything, I’d say Citrix probably doesn’t have more than 10 years of longevity left unless they come up with some model that makes their technology mission critical. Let’s face it, without ICA Citrix would cease to exist. Furthermore with a simple decision, Microsoft could bring Citrix to its knees.

    Hyper-V’s next release shows much promise, but it will be up to Microsoft to determine just how much market share they take from VMware. I tend to lean towards the much smaller shops, or the ones that have gone all-in with EA agreements. The ultimate cost savings with Microsoft can seem amazing at first glance, until you start adding up all the stealth costs that you don’t normally associate with Virtual Machines. The CAL model is way past its prime, but its also the gravy train for Microsoft just as is OS support is for AS400 with IBM and their other mainframe products. Couple that with the near necessity to deploy SCCM to manage it and you have a recipe for Microsoft Shops Only deployments.
    VMware will continue to be the dominant player in the space and I say this not because they have such a large head start over the others, but because its reliable and they have a huge support infrastructure for those willing to pay, and there are a tons of people who have dedicated their careers around this one product. The ecosystem that has evolved around the ESX/ESXi product line is huge. And while some are hedging their bets with plays into the Hyper-V realm (Veeam for instance) very few are bothering to waste time with Xen or KVM, or treat both as an afterthought. Not really the necessary model for building a viable technology ecosystem.

    The other factor is you have to couple this with the massive growth of the storage industry and their heavy ties into VMware integration and you have a “too big to fail” type situation. Far too many companies have tied their lifeblood to this platform for it to wither. Far too many companies with deep pockets who can pay for Gartner studies that will give the desired results.

    I would add lastly with one word: “Cloud” as much as its been hyped, this is where VMWare has the heavy advantage over their rivals. They have simply created an industry that has put that dreaded marketecture term into the head of every CTO/CIO on the planet. No one thinks Microsoft or Citrix when they say Cloud.

    Comment by GChapman — November 4, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  2. One more thing, I just went mental with trying to find a sweet spot for a vmware sweet spot when it comes to optimal host/ram licensing configuration. Though I’m probably not bright enough to apply this to a true enterprise class deployment, it does make sense for me from a SMB/Mid sized point of view:

    I would welcome your thoughts/critique.

    Comment by GChapman — November 4, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

  3. I tend to agree on the Xen front(which is in part why I have never given it serious consideration), at least short of Xen being completely re-written, which I imagine won’t happen, if anything perhaps Citrix will abandon Xen along with most of the rest of the players and adopt KVM to replace it, when it’s more mature.

    Funny thing WRT Xen, about a year ago now(maybe 1.5 years), one of, if not the largest Citrix deployments in WA state went through a solutions refresh. I think they were purely physical hardware and they wanted to go virtual. They ran a bunch of tests and concluded that VMware was the way to go for the hypervisor and Xen desktop (or whatever it’s called) was the way to go for the rest of the stack. The folks at Citrix didn’t really blink an eye, they were good enough to understand what was going on and did not try to fight to get Xen in as part of the solution. I really do respect Citrix for that in general in being more platform agnostic(I recall even at one point Citrix was releasing some new management tools and they were going to release them first on Hyper-V, months before releasing them on Xen!). I suppose they don’t have much of a choice but the fact that they have embraced it openly is nice. I don’t think Microsoft has been quite so friendly.

    As per the storage space, while it is certainly true there’s been quite a bit of work done from storage vendors integrating with Vmware, though a lot of it is fairly hypervisor independent technology at it’s core. It’ll be up to other hypervisors to add support for such things (I’m thinking VAAI with array-based offloading, sub LUN locking, space reclamation. SRM, from a storage perspective, last I checked(which was a while ago) was little more than some basic scripts that the SRM infrastructure called to trigger an array-based replication process to send the data over the wire.

    Vmware, by contrast has shown signs that it is trying to get more control of the stack(who isn’t these days..sigh), whether it’s this new VSA for the SMB crowd, or integrating thin provisioning into the hypervisor, storage vmotion, storage DRS.

    Then I look at the seemingly massive group of organizations joining the “open virtual alliance”

    Seems every couple of weeks there’s a new group of companies that join.

    At the top of the list – HP and IBM. More companies that are eager to control more of the stack.

    I will check out the link! thanks again for the posts!! (and for reading 🙂 )

    Comment by Nate — November 4, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

  4. […] tried to be a vocal opponent to this strategy and firmly believed it was going to hurt VMware, I haven't […]

    Pingback by The Screwballs have Spoken « — August 20, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

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