A couple of years ago, I was helping a client do a trade study of vSphere vs. Hyper-V. vSphere won in that instance even with cost of licensing. Now that MS has released Hyper-v 3.0 and other competitors have solutions that allow you to have features such as live migration, I was wondering out loud if it’s time for a vCenter “lite” for free.
ESXi free is a great standalone solution for a single server instance. But if you need multiple servers, ESXi free really isn’t an option. This pushes you to a XenServer, KVM or Hyper-V solution if you want some type of centralized management and some features such as live migration. With OpenStack making hay at the Cloud layer with native compute stacks such as KVM or Xen you have to wonder if VMware will start to lose traction with both cloud and virtualization for small or cash strapped organizations considering entry level virtualization platforms. After all one of the major advantages of VMware’s Hybrid Cloud is that you don’t have to make many changes to your existing infrastructure. How do you sell VMware’s Hybrid Cloud to a shop that grew up on Xen or KVM?
I actually got a call from a buddy yesterday asking me the most cost effective option for a two node VMware solution for one of his clients. I actually hesitated in recommending a VMware option. He could get all the features this small company needs from any of the other solutions. Ultimately, I still recommended VMware because his staff is trained in VMware products and it would be easier for him to support in another client. However, I’d be hard pressed to recommend VMware based on his simple needs compared to the other solutions if it weren’t for the support consideration.
What do you think? Does VMware need to consider a light/free version of vCenter to continue dominated in the market?