Developers of virtualisation software often boast of their ability to manage rival platforms as well. That sounds like an appealing feature, but is it something that's actually used or merely a checkbox to persuade users of one system to consider an alternative?
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Speaking at the Gartner IT Infrastructure Operations & Data Center Summit, which I covered extensively earlier this week as part of our World Of Servers series, Gartner analyst Thomas Bittman suggested the latter was more likely.
" Microsoft promote the fact they can manage VMware environments as well," Bittman said. "But managing VMware with Systems Center is very rare, something you would use in a transition phase rather than permanently."
The same argument applies in reverse. "VMware has a Hyper-V management centre, but this is a marketing game."
Bittman noted earlier this week that VMware remains the dominant virtualisation provider, but Microsoft is becoming a significant second player. Helping that process is the fact that Windows still dominates the operating system space: "80 per cent of the stuff VMware is running is Windows," Nittman suggested And if you want to deliver on service levels, it's not good enough to have VM management — you need to manage what's going on inside."
Bittman argued that being able to claim the ability to manage both platforms is a useful marketing tool, but few environments will want to maintain multiple hypervisors as a permanent strategy. "If you already are heavily virtualised, it's not easy to switch. And just having virtualisation doesn't mean users are going to switch out to your management tools either."