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 How To Choose The Right Virtualization Solution For Your Business

Let's get this out of the way: Your organization has probably already hired a virtualization provider. It's perhaps either VMware or Microsoft, or Citrix, or maybe it's one of several other smaller players.

But supplier agreements expire, new decisions can be made, and sincere migration from one to another is not the activity that causes nausea and puts an end to the career, you might think. Others made it, and no one died. So, even if you have already chosen the parties, it is worth revisiting those decisions, if for no other reason than authenticating your decisions.

So what do you think? Here are five things to consider when choosing a virtualization business solution:

1. The future

Right now - Microsoft's future in virtualization seems a little bit promising than VMware. Also, it is really not a valid business consideration, whether we're discussing Microsoft, VMware, Citrix, or others. What may or may not happen in five years is not something we can predict today, so make your choices depending on other criteria and plan to be flexible for whatever we expect.

2. Hypervisor functionality

This is not an area where one thinks you would get a good differentiation at a business level. Not to mention the marketing copy, both Microsoft and VMware - and the other players in the space - provide about the same amount of raw hypervisor performance and the same level of basic hypervisor features as each other. Yes, you can do well, and it is useful if you defend a position, but from a direct objective point of view, this is not a substantial area of distinction.

3. Price

If you're operating Windows workloads, vSphere has traditionally been much more expensive in terms of the total cost of ownership because you still need to buy Windows licenses in addition to your vSphere expenses. The Datacenter edition of Windows Server, with its unlimited licensing for the client operating system, has often become much cheaper. With Windows Server 2016 moving to per-core licensing on the host, this may change, but pricing is certainly an area to consider.

4. Manageability

The real distinction in the virtualization space nowadays is how you manage the virtual infrastructure? After a fierce start to its System Center family, Microsoft has faltered a bit and seems to be in a phase of revisiting its approach and strategy to be better aligned with the cloud. This will probably give them the long-term advantage, but for now, it may be a uniform game - or even a little in favor of VMware - when it comes to handling large virtualization commitments.

5. Strategy

If you want to try throwing a crystal ball, consider a vendor's strategy in major areas. For instance, containers - a more manageable approach to Docker-driven virtualization - will definitely be one thing in your future. VMware has essentially no response to containers at this time, as containers currently require a host operating system to run, which VMware does not provide. Microsoft's Windows Server and Hyper-V containers work well with Docker and demonstrate that the company moves at least in a promising direction in that space.

Final Thoughts

And here's the final question: why not run more than one provider's hypervisor? Assuming the costs turn out, what stops you? One hopes you don't answer this with "my team's skills" because this - in our day and age in the agile IT era - is an absolutely irrelevant answer. IT should support any direction the business needs to go and should not rely on an entirely homogeneous environment. IT should not be a hindrance but a facilitator. So, if necessary, urge the team and let the business make decisions based on business criteria, not lack of capacity.

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