Do Virtualisation Interoperability Claims Matter?

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.”

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