27 Jan 2011

Why I'm swapping vSphere for Hyper-V

It’s been a while since I last sat down to write a blog post. I have to admit, 2010 was not exactly my best year on the bloggers sphere. I do have my reasons that will explain why, but that conversation is outside the scope of this post.

As many would know by now, in the past month I’ve been able to achieve both the VMware VCAP-DCA and the VCAP-DCD certifications. I only have one more hurdle to clear in order to obtain VCDX certification, and that will undoubtedly be the hardest part. That is, I need to successfully defend a vSphere design that I’ve done before a VCDX panel of gurus.

As for the current certification path for VMware (until the next major release) it would be safe to say that with the exception of VCDX, I have come to the end of the technical certification road. It is one of the reasons that I have decided to destroy my very trustworthy vSphere lab that has brought me through a few vSphere Beta programs and has played a major role in achieving VCP and VCAP certifications. Yes, indeed, I will be replacing the lab (for now at least) with Hyper-V.

There is more than one reason for my decision to replace my vSphere lab with Hyper-V, and I will try my best to describe in detail how I have come to this decision.

VMware for some years now have been the de facto standard in x86/64 virtualisation. That is why so many IT professionals have fallen in love with their products. Still to this very day, the VMware vSphere’s feature set and in most cases, performance is unbeaten by any other product. Yes, I probably have some Citrix and Microsoft evangelists’ blood boiling by saying that, but hey, the truth hurts. Yes sure, Hyper-V has come a long way and has improved immensely during the last two years, however, it still cannot match the feature set of vSphere. How can I say this? Well, it’s not me, its Microsoft themselves.

The following question was asked to a Microsoft sales person: “How do you approach a customer who has the intention of buying vSphere? How do you fight your corner? Do you compare features?” The Microsoft sales person’s answer to that question was: “Never that. We never compare features!”

I get the feeling Microsoft is not trying to steal VMware’s customers, at least not for now. Instead they seem to have opted to go for customers where they know will be an easy sell. Maybe someone that already has a Data centre license where the initial outlay of licensing costs is minimized compared to vSphere. I mean, after all VMware is quite expensive.

“So, why are you swapping your lab to Hyper-V if they can’t match the features?” You might be asking. Well it’s simple. I don’t know enough about the product and its capabilities and the best way to find out is to play with it. No, seriously, I’m aiming for Hyper-V certification before I depart for California at the end of March.

Many people might ask why bother? Why bother learning Hyper-V if you know much about the better product? The answer to that is maybe not as simple, but let me try to explain.

Hyper-V will sell. That is a fact. There is no point in fighting it, it will sell. The Microsoft badge will sell the product. It always has sold many products, and it will continue to do so. We have seen this before. Let’s use directory services as an example. Anyone remember NDS (Novell Directory Services), or more recently eDirectory? In my opinion (and sorry if I offend Microsoft evangelists here, but I’m entitled to my opinion, so I don’t really care) NDS / eDirectory was and still is a much better directory service than Microsoft Active Directory (AD). You see, the thing is, even though many of us have installed eDirectory in our environments, and client environments, the majority of infrastructures today are based on Active Directory. Many will disagree, but I still firmly believe that the old NDS / eDirectory will crush AD with regards to functionality, ease of use, performance and stability but sadly today, the product is nowhere to be found. Even though NDS was/is better, AD has killed it off and today Novell is all but dead! Microsoft just knows how to run a company! It doesn’t matter how good the other products are, the Microsoft badge will still help them sell their products. We can look at other products as well. What about WordPerfect? Better than Microsoft Word? Hell yeah. Guess what, WordPerfect is nowhere to be found and it used to be everywhere.

I know, I’ve hit a sensitive point here, and I’m sure VMware and (past) Novell evangelists (I am a VMware evangelist and certainly used to be a Novell one) are cursing at their monitors now for reading this, but just think for a minute. At the end of the day VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, these guys exist for one reason and one reason only, profit. I have realised over the past week or so that it doesn’t matter to my finances which one is better. I can be a top technical person in VMware products today and maybe next year and a few years thereafter, but it would be foolish to not want to learn about Hyper-V. Ok, fair enough. I can’t see what the future holds, but I can learn from the past, and the past shows me that all my friends who kicked against AD in favour eDirectory are today lagging behind and struggling to find contracts. These guys were Master CNEs. Today they don’t have much to boast about.

Who knows, maybe VMware will still somehow be going as strong s they are today in 20 years or so (heck with their pricing strategy, I’m not sure how they’ll fight off M$), but for today, I’ll be covering my basis and laying some foundations with some knowledge of Hyper-V. At least Microsoft gives us TechNet Plus, something VMware doesn’t seem to understand either. Talk about stingy! WE NEED NFR LICENSES VMWARE, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Don’t get me wrong on this. I love vSphere. I love vSphere more than any other IT product / technology out there today and I will still try and sell vSphere over Hyper-V, just because it’s a much better product. It’s going to break my heart to destroy my beloved vSphere lab, but it’s got to be done.

I believe it’s time to stop kicking and start working with VMware and Hyper-V.

The views expressed in this post and on this entire website are that of my own and not those of my employer or any vendor. I am solely responsible for the contents on this website.

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Last modified on Friday, 28 January 2011 10:53
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