Cloud management platforms have recently been expanding support for Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization platform, representing Microsoft's continued efforts to chip away at VMware's dominance in the hypervisor market.
One of the common ways that enterprises consume cloud resources is by using a cloud management platform. These software packages allow organizations to build a private cloud on hardware in their own data center and provide a gateway to public cloud services from the likes of Amazon Web Services and others.
The default hypervisor support option for most of these platforms has been VMware, because of the company's widespread use as a virtualization platform in the enterprise. But as recently as this week, more and more cloud management platforms are opening up to support Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization platform, which these companies say reflect the market adoption of Microsoft's hypervisor.
The latest companies to roll out the Hyper-V support include Egenera and Convirture. In addition to picking up support for Hyper-V, Egenera rolled out a variety of other new features for its Egenera Cloud Suite this week, including support for Microsoft's Active Directory for user authentication and more granular controls for administrations to dictate the length cloud resource use, along with billing and chargeback features. Egenera's suite runs on a variety of hardware options from HP, IBM Dell, EMC, Cisco and others, while also supporting KVM and XEN and public cloud resources from Amazon EC2; it plans to add other public cloud options later this year.
The company has traditionally sold to enterprise clients in the financial services, government and healthcare industries, but has recently seen noticeable pickup by managed service and independent software vendors looking to create cloud offerings, and using Egenera's cloud platform to do so.
Egenera says its enterprise and service provider customers have begun using Hyper-V more and more. Microsoft isn't supplanting VMware as a virtualization platform but it is increasingly supplementing it, says John Humphreys, vice president of sales and marketing at Egenera. "It's an and' situation," he says, explaining that most shops are using Hyper-V in addition to VMware. "Some customers don't care what (hypervisor) is under the covers, they're just looking for something that's more price competitive." Microsoft and VMware go back and forth claiming that their platform is more cost effective than their competitor.
Convirture, a 2007 virtualization and cloud management platform, also this week rolled out support for Hyper-V in its software stack. The ConVirt platform supports KVM, Xen, VMware and now Hyper-V hypervisors. Users can also use the software to manage public cloud-based resources from Amazon Web Services Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Eucalyptus and OpenStack clouds.
The cloud management arena that Egenera and Convirture play in is a hot and crowded one. End users have a variety of options to choose from when searching for overlay software that can provide features beyond basic server virtualization to add elements such as a self-service portal, chargeback tracking and centralized management of usage policies and virtual machine templates.
Virtualization platforms from Microsoft and VMware do some of this basic functionality but excel at managing virtualized resources that are all under the same Microsoft or VMware platform, Humphreys says. An independent third-party cloud management platform can be helpful in managing a mixed environment that includes both VMware and Microsoft virtualized servers, along with one that would use public cloud resources. VMware has in recent months expanded support for controlling AWS and OpenStack public cloud resources from its software.
The point is that as organizations look to take the next step beyond virtualization and looking to create a private cloud, there are multiple platforms to consider. With these management tools increasingly adopting Microsoft Hyper-V support, customers have more options than ever for a comprehensive platform.