The battle for the virtual data centre has begun and Microsoft is making its presence felt by snatching market share from its arch-rival VMware with some recent customer deployments of its Hyper-V virtualisation hypervisor, but VMware continues to defend its turf amid the onslaught of new competition.
Hyper-V jabs at VMware's hegemony
Microsoft's Hyper-V is already beginning to nip at VMware's heels, and this week another customer announced it has chosen the technology over more established products for its new server infrastructure.
Soon after Getronics Australia was aquired by UXC earlier this year, the company's IT team was charged with re-building the entire infrastructure from the ground up.
UXC IT manager Daniel Schipper said the project had a six-month time frame.
"We didn't need a large data centre here as most of our services were being hosted overseas," Schipper said. "By using Microsoft's Hyper-V we were able to contain the servers to five racks of space."
UXC has two sites and replicates data between them for disaster recovery.
"We only had a short time to overhaul IT so we couldn't afford issues with pricing, and Hyper-V saved us a lot. We would have had to purchase server licences again anyway so it would have cost as much as the initial outlay to go with VMware."
UXC is also a Microsoft partner and implements Microsoft software for its own clients so "it made sense" to choose Hyper-V before anything else.
"It's a great solution and has similar benefits to VMware," Schipper said.
VMware steps up to the plate
Another local IT company, ManageNET, also needed to deploy greenfield infrastructure in its Sydney data centre to support its internal and client operations, but chose VMware for virtualisation.
ManageNet chief technical officer Con Dalamangas said the company needed a new SAN to support the "enterprise-grade VMware".
When the decision was made to go with VMware at ManageNet Hyper-V was not ready for production environments.
The company had also considered Virtual Iron, but was not confident in the level of local support compared with VMware.
Dell wins in the end
Despite their differences in virtualisation software selection, both companies at least have one thing in common - Dell.
UXC purchased Dell rack-mounted servers and blades for its new infrastructure build out and ManageNet commissioned iSCSI storage systems from the Dell-owned EqualLogic.
Rick Becker, Dell's vice president for software and Solutions, said internally the company migrated 326 PowerEdge 2650 servers to 21 blade servers saving an estimated US$800,000 in operating expenses.
"We believe by adopting technology and negating the need for server space we will never need to build another data centre," Becker said.
Becker said Dell is aggressively embracing virtualisation and by OEMing PlateSpin will enable customers to move VMs to physical machines and vice versa.