Hyper-V is underperforming says Gartner

While busy speaking at the Symposium ITxpo 2010 this week, Gartner analysts are also blogging and sharing some details about their presentations. The most interesting one comes from Thomas Bittman, Vice President and Distinguished Analyst, the firm’s front man for virtualization and cloud computing research.

Bittman reports three key details (emphasis our):

  1. Virtual machine penetration has increased 50% in the last year. Gartner believes that nearly 30% of all workloads running on x86 architecture servers are now running on virtual machines
  2. Penetration of virtualization in midsized enterprises (100-999 employees) will exceed that of the Global 1000 within the end of this year
  3. Hyper-V is under-performing (compared to Gartner’s expectations)

Bittman says:

Maybe my expectations were too high, but Hyper-V has not grabbed as much market share as I was predicting. I especially thought that Microsoft would be the big beneficiary of midmarket virtualization. Surveys show otherwise – VMware is doing pretty well there. Here’s a theory. Clients repeatedly told us that live migration was a big hole in Microsoft’s offering – even for midmarket customers (to reduce planned downtime managing the parent OS). Microsoft’s Hyper-V R2 (with live migration) came out 8/2009. Was that too late? Did the economy put pressure on midsized enterprises to virtualize early, before Hyper-V R2 was proven in the market? Or did VMware just have too much mindshare?

(of course VMware has been quick in reporting the comment)

Possibly, it’s just not that.

In the last few months Microsoft’s marketing effort to engage the audience and update about its vision and plans got worse and worse.
The company didn’t say a single word on its roadmap for Hyper-V v3 (besides a few leaked, vague details): as a third release, many customers may look at it as the very first truly mature build ready for production. 
Similarly, Microsoft continues to stay mum about Hyper-V potential use in Azure for an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offering.
Again, there’s no word about company’s desktop/client virtualization strategy (which hopefully won’t be just limited to MED-V), its progress in application virtualization with Server App-V  (which should arrive in Q2 2011) and how it will integrate with Hyper-V, or where the Opalis orchestration will exactly fit in the big picture of virtualization and cloud computing (“deeper integration” is not enough). The list may go on.

Yes, the company is currently focused on Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1, due some time in H1 2011, which introduces Dynamic Memory for Hyper-V and the RemoteFX protocol enhancement for Remote Desktop Services (RDS). But it’s not enough for customers to bet on Hyper-V.
And now that Ray Ozzie, the former Chief Software Architect leading the Windows Azure effort, is out, there’s more need than ever to know exactly what and how Microsoft will do in the long term with virtualization and IaaS cloud computing.

Without this sort of information, customers may have no choice but wait. Or go to VMware.