Dell announced that it is being acquired by Michael Dell and Silver Lake for $24.4 billion. (Dell Press Release)

One of the investment vehicles being used for this transaction is a $2 billion loan from Microsoft. With many rumors floating around last week, I focused on what this means for Microsoft’s relationship with the other hardware OEM’s (HP, Lenovo, etc.)

I was reading this post by Mary Jo Foley of ZD Net. Mary Jo’s post is comparing the Dell situation with Nokia. The majority of the post compares the advantage Nokia would have in the mobile device market with Microsoft investment.

Quoting from the article, “While Microsoft still gives Nokia props and is counting on Nokia for turn-by-turn navigation and Maps technologies for all Windows Phones, Nokia isn’t the only Windows Phone game in town.”

The Nokia-Microsoft relationship has evolved from devices to a software relationship as well. Nokia will be the mapping and navigation solution for all Windows Phone.  Even Bings maps sports a Nokia copyright on it. Microsoft looks to have walked away from the mapping and navigation front and is leveraging Nokia for all their needs.

Will the Dell-Microsoft relationship follow a similar path?

Citrix XenDesktop and VMware View are the big players when it comes to virtual desktop solutions. VMware View runs exclusively on VMware vSphere, and while XenDesktop runs on Hyper-V, the vast majority of implementations run on vSphere and Citrix XenServer.

In order to promote a VDI use-case on Hyper-V, Microsoft baked these functions into the Windows Server platform. I have yet to see a production environment using the Microsoft VDI services.

So that brings us to Dell Software’s vWorkspace. The vWorkspace product page actively promotes Microsoft Hyper-V Server.

In release 7.5, vWorkspace added 3 unique Hyper-V functions:

  • Direct support for Microsoft Hyper-V which includes free Hyper-V Server (Watch video)
  • Introduced Hyper-V Catalyst Components HyperCache and HyperDeploy (Watch video)
  • Desktop Clouds built on Hyper-V (Watch video)

Even though vWorkspace can leverage VMware vSphere and Parallels Virtuozzo Containers, a Microsoft Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center is the premier virtualization platform for the product.

Would Microsoft scrap its development of a Microsoft VDI solution in favor of  vWorkspace built on Microsoft virtualization. I bet the vWorkspace team would be happy about that.

Scott’s post on multiple hypervisor’s got me thinking…

Regardless of workload (server, VDI, DR, Test/Dev) I myself only really see one hypervisor out there… VMware. I think so many companies have built their operational policies, processes and procedures around ESX that it is going to be an incredibly difficult migration to something else. I know of one of my customers that is running Citrix XenServer in a XenDesktop environment. Unfortunately, they are unhappy with the solution and there is talk of plans to move to an ESX based XenDesktop solution. I also know of a single customer running Microsoft Hyper-V Server. However, it is not in production or Test/Dev; it’s more of a tinkering environment and an excuse to play with Hyper-V.

Why are customers slow to move to other hypervisors? I think there are a couple other compelling reasons for customers to stick with VMware.

  1. Almost all of my customers are well past 80% virtualized, making it much more difficult to back out and change direction given the investment that they already have.
  2. Almost all of my customers are using other VMware products like Site Recovery Manager and vCloud Director, which utilize VMware’s ESX hypervisor at their core.
  3. VMware has become “comfort food” for IT Professionals, stable, comfortable to use and familiar.

I think these three reasons alone are pretty compelling in terms of the effort (equals money) required to either introduce or replace a VMware Hypervisor environment.

With other customers that I’ve spoken to, another problem for competing hypervisors like XenServer, KVM and Hyper-V, is the price. The free, or near free price seems to subliminally  highlight the difference in feature set when compared to VMware; whether rational or not. Take into account the various State and Local EDucation (SLED) discounts, it’s almost impractical for SLED customers to not deploy VMware and the various VMware applications with the gargantuan feature set.. This, I believe, is the key component for VMware.

As for desktop virtualization aka end-user virtualization; VMware seems to keep holding ground as well. Hypervisors like XenServer and KVM are not widely supported by mainstream monitoring and management platforms (SolarWinds, EM7, etc.). Hyper-V is just recently supported by XenDesktop and is definitely not supported by VMware View. Not to mention, when purchasing View, it’s pretty advantageous to purchase View Premier as your entitled to ESX Enterprise Plus. Not only is that a great deal, but pretty much seals the Hypervisor market share for VMware View.

So that being said, what are you seeing in the general public?

Amsterdam, 17 January, 2013 – Project Virtual Reality Check (Project VRC) is pleased to announce the release of the long awaited ‘Phase V’ white paper which provides independent insights in the impact and best practices of various antivirus (AV) solutions on VDI performance.

The R&D project ‘Virtual Reality Check’ (VRC) was started in early 2009 by the Dutch IT companies PQR (www.pqr.com) and Login Consultants (www.loginconsultants.com) and focuses on research in the desktop virtualization market. Several white papers were published about the performance and best practices of different hypervisors, application virtualization solutions and Windows Operating Systems in server hosted desktop solutions. More »