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VKernel sees Hyper-V gain steam in server virtualization market

VKernel now offers a version of its Capacity Analyzer for Hyper-V, signaling the virtualization management company's new focus on Microsoft virtualization.

VKernel this week released a beta version of Capacity Analyzer for Hyper-V, marking the company's first foray outside the comfortable confines of VMware environments.

New support for Hyper-V was added in response to demand from customers, who have experimented with and deploying more of Microsoft's virtualization offering. "We see more and more mixed environments," said Alex Bakman, VKernel Corp. founder and CEO. "No matter what VMware says, [IT managers] see Hyper-V as a way to save cost. It's hard to compete with free."

VKernel signals Hyper-V catching up
That jibes with new data from market research firm TheInfoPro, which found that 47% of VMware shops are considering alternatives in 2010.

Users can now deploy Capacity Analyzer as either a VMware or Hyper-V virtual appliance, and monitor and predict capacity on both environments from the same instance. "It's just a matter of where you want to run it," Bakman said.

Bakman said that both versions provide exactly the same functionality, which, in the case of the Hyper-V version, was a "nontrivial" exercise. "Hyper-V is just less mature. From a developer's perspective, it's challenging to figure out how to deliver the same functionality with far less data and instrumentation." However, Bakman predicted that developing tools for Hyper-V will get easier over time.

Capacity Analyzer provides two major functions. First, it helps IT managers identify how many additional virtual machines they can run on a given virtualization host, cluster or resource pool. Second, it shows current and future bottlenecks, for example, with storage or memory. Bakman said that Capacity Analyzer is "very accurate" 30 days out. Other vendors that provide capacity planning functionality for Hyper-V include Microsoft with its System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) and Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit, Lanamark, and 5nine Software.

Generally speaking, third-party virtualization management providers are eager for IT shops to deploy a hypervisor other than VMware, said Bernd Harzog, an analyst at the Virtualization Practice.

"They're all doing OK -- they're all adding customers – but the thing that will cause them to add customers like mad is the day when Microsoft Hyper-V is also being used to run production apps," Harzog said. "As soon as the average shop becomes a cross-hypervisor shop, they will need cross-hypervisor management."

A free 14-day trial of Capacity Analyzer for VMware or Hyper-V is available on the VKernel website. The software costs $299 per managed socket.

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