Turning virtualisation management into a virtue

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Virtualisation held the promise of simplifying IT infrastructures, but ended up creating another abstracted management layer, says Veeam’s CEO, Ratmir Timashev

How are the hypervisor competitors doin, we asked. “VMware currently represents a 90 per cent share of the market in terms of revenue. [Citrix’s] Xen may be getting more market share [in terms of downloads] [read our review of Citrix XenServer 5.5] but that’s because it’s free. In terms of revenue, it’s all about VMware.”

Microsoft’s entry into the market is solid, he said, based on previews of version two of Hyper-V – due for release in October. “And, because it’s free or relatively inexpensive compared to VMware and doesn’t come with sophisticated management capabilities like VMware’s VMotion, we think Hyper-V will be seen as a relatively good enough and cost-effective solution for SMBs [small-to-medium-sized businesses]. This is also because, right now, VMware is seen as too expensive for SMBs.”

Is the underlying hypbervisor becoming a commodity? “Of course, VMware is fighting that because theirs is the premier hypervisor. I compare it to TCP/IP, which Microsoft commoditised, and we saw all the specialist TCP/IP vendors died.”

Microsoft is trying to do the same thing, he says, so it can charge for management features (we review System Center Virtual Machine Manager). “Veeam doesn’t actually provide the technology, but makes the technology work better, sitting in the middle, in an agnostic capacity.”

The money’s in the management

In the long term, a lot of the money around virtualisation will be in management, said Timashev: “Microsoft is embedding the technology into its OS [operating system], so it’s in every PC or laptop running Windows. But users will still need enterprise management software to manage this,” he added.

“But, at the same time, Microsoft has never been very good at managing other people’ platforms from a single interface, but we manage them all. We can back up, monitor, audit and report from a single interface, regardless of which hypervisor is running. I believe all enterprises will need to have this heterogeneity in future. And, if they have already invested in Microsoft System Centre or HP Open View – that is, it’s use is well established within the business and IT workflow as the standard, corporate IT management framework – then we also support this by providing VMware monitoring connectors.”

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