Monday, December 14, 2009

Can Citrix, Microsoft put a dent in VMware? (and is storage the hammer?)

December 14, 2009 – According to a recent Fortune 1000 end-user survey conducted by TheInfoPro research firm, users are increasingly considering alternatives, or additions, to VMware.

In the TheInfoPro survey, just over 75% of the respondents were using VMware today. However, nearly two-thirds of the companies have tested a hypervisor other than VMware, with Microsoft and Citrix cited most often, followed by Red Hat. Of those who have tested a VMware alternative, 27% plan to use the alternative, while an additional 20% say they “may” use the alternative.

On the other hand, when VMware users were asked if they would switch to an alternative, only 2% cited firm plans and an additional 9% were considering it. Bob Gill, TheInfoPro’s managing director of server and virtualization research, concludes that “The analysis reveals that VMware users aren’t switching away from VMware, but [many] are embracing competing technologies in heterogeneous deployments.”

One possible scenario is that VMware will retain its hegemony in production environments, while vendors such as Citrix and Microsoft make inroads through deployments in development and testing scenarios.

In comparing the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various virtual server platform alternatives, one often-overlooked area is storage – not third-party storage optimized for virtual environments but, rather, the native storage tools that come from the virtualization vendors themselves.

Could storage be the hammer that enables vendors such as Citrix and Microsoft to put a dent in VMware? Well, it’s only part of the overall puzzle, but it’s an increasingly important one as server/storage administrators rapidly grow their virtual environments, winding up with virtual server “sprawl” and the associated storage challenges.

I recently read a Solution Profile (white paper) written by the Taneja Group that takes an in-depth look at Citrix’s StorageLink, which is part of Citrix Essentials. Taneja analysts contrast two approaches to storage in the context of virtual servers: those that attempt to replicate, and those that integrate with, the enterprise storage infrastructure. The former approach is referred to as ‘monolithic,’ and the latter is referred to as an ‘assimilated’ approach (characterized by Citrix StorageLink).

If you’re grappling with the storage issues in your virtualization environment, and/or considering virtual server alternatives, check out the Taneja Group’s “Multiplying Virtualization Value by the Full Power of Enterprise Storage with Citrix StorageLink.”


Darla said...

This is an excellent article as is the white paper it links to. I highly recommend following the link and reading the white paper. The storage component of traditional virtualization has long been a concern of mine. As my company deals with the recent acquisition of Virtual Iron by Oracle by evaluating other alternatives, storage management is an important component. With VMWare leading the industry, it is difficult to convince upper management that VMWare may not be the best solution. Virtual Iron, as well as Citrix, uses the underlying Xen engine so my first choice for replacement, apart from the storage issue, is Citrix. Perhaps with this additional information regarding Storagelink, I will be successful in lobbying for Citrix over VMWare.

William Brown said...

Great article... This blog provide very useful information on VMware alternative and I really glad to find this blog.