Become a Virtualization Expert!

For those who missed the virtualization jump start, the entire course is now available on demand, as is the link to grab a free voucher for exam 409. This is a single exam virt specialist cert. I would encourage you to take the exam soon before all the free spots are booked.   Full info at http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/btl/b/weblog/archive/2013/12/17/earn-your-microsoft-certified-specialist-server-virtualization-title-with-a-free-exam.aspx

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It’s Coming… Can we now compare Hyper-V with vSphere as both new products prepare for launch?

On July 5th I published an article titled A Response to VMware’s ‘Get the Facts’ page comparing vSphere to Hyper-V & System Center. In the seven weeks since it went live it has become the 4th most read article I have ever published (in seven years as a blogger), as well as being by far the most commented on, discussed, and shared article I have ever written.

André Andriolli, a former VMware field engineer and now a Systems Engineer Manager with VMware in Brazil, responded very well.  One of the first points he made was:

we should start by comparing what’s in the market TODAY with what’s in the market today: I mean vSphere 5 versus Hyper-V 2, or vSphere 5.1 with Hyper-V 3. Since vSphere 5.1 news are not in the street yet, we should go with the first. Comparing a future MSFT release with what VMware customers are running for over 1 year now is simply not fair, to me at least.

While I did not entirely agree with this at the time, I accept that it is a valid point.  I am looking forward to hearing comments in the next few weeks though… as Windows Server 2012 (with Hyper-V 3.0) becomes generally available on September 4th, and vSphere 5.1 becomes available on September 11th.

My opinion is simple… VMware still makes a great product, but so does Microsoft; the benefits of the former, in my opinion (and that of many VMware customers I have spoken with), simply are not worth the the difference in cost over the latter.  While it will be a relief that VMware is abandoning their Virtual Memory Entitlements (commonly referred to as the Memory Tax), I think the last year will have left a sour note with a lot of their customers, and given them an opportunity to see for themselves just how good Hyper-V really is.

I do like the fact that both platforms are being released at the same time though; I once made a comment that I regretted right away that of course one would always be ahead of the other because one would come out with a new feature, and the other would take that feature and include it in their next release, along with whatever else they were planning, and that would continue on.  For the next year the two will be compared as equals.

Now, this is one place where VMware has a slight advantage… insofar as they have a one-year product cycle, and Windows Server has a 3-year product cycle.  This was adjusted last year when they took the rare step of adding new (and major) functionality into Service Pack 1 of Windows Server 2008 R2.  For now, frankly I am not sure that pound for pound Hyper-V (with System Center) is not already the better product.  I guess we will find out what the market says though…

If you are in Toronto, we would love for you to join us for the Windows Server 2012 Launch Event on September 5th, or if you are in another city across Canada, later in the month.  Check out Ruth Morton’s blog to see the dates, and to click to register.  We hope to see you there!

Is it true? The Memory Tax is gone!

CRN is reporting that next week at VMworld VMware will be announcing that they are doing away with Virtual Memory Entitlements, which you have probably heard me refer to as the Memory Tax.

According to the article (http://www.crn.com/news/cloud/240005840/vmware-kills-vram-licensing-will-focus-on-vsphere-cloud-bundles.htm?cid=nl_alert) VMware is trying to regain its competitive edge over Microsoft’s Hyper-V, which has over the past couple of years soared to nearly 30% market share, making it the fastest growing virtualization platform in the industry.

This is the first time I can remember that VMware is showing any signs that they are trying to compete against the scrappy and powerful competitor.  I heard from a source at VMware that they have heard from a great many clients that they are either testing Hyper-V out on a few servers or, in some cases, switching completely.  This comes as no surprise in a year when VMware introduced the hated Virtual Memory Requirements, and when Microsoft has made such incredible strides to make Hyper-V 3 as good or better than its larger competitor.

It will come as no surprise to readers of this blog that I was shocked by the Memory Tax, and predicted a year ago it would badly hurt VMware’s market share.  In a day and age when competition is getting better, giving their hypervisor away with the operating system, and bundling the management tools with the System Center suite (which the vast majority of companies already own) it simply made no sense for VMware to make virtualization more expensive than they already had.

VMware will be launching vSphere 5.1 at VMworld next week, and the worst of times will be over for their fans.  I wonder however if they can turn the ship around… you cannot unring a bell, and the companies who have tried Hyper-V for the first time in the past year have seen what their alternatives are.  IT managers have to consider costs, and if the less expensive product is just as good (and is supported by the largest software company in the world) then it will be interesting to see how many of them make the switch over the first twelve months of Hyper-V 3.0 with Server 2012, which RTMed August first and is set to become publically available in early September.

In other News:

Several VMware customers have told me they have received an e-mail that looks like this one:

“… I am your renewals representative from VMware.  I wanted to reach out to you regarding a Renewals promotion that we are running through September 30, 2012.

VMware is making an extended effort this year to bring current any expired customers to allow for reinstated SnS and the ability to upgrade to the newest version of vSphere (VS5). Throughout this one-time promotion, we will be offering two separate options with 100% waiver of reinstatement on your expired licenses and up to 100% waiver of your back-dated maintenance; saving you at least 20% on your renewal cost.

By reinstating your support via this promotion, you could save thousands of dollars and regain access to technical support and the most current releases.  While supported, you will be eligible for upgrades and updates as well as technical support, both online and via our Customer Support Technicians.

I would be happy to discuss the promotion and answer any questions you may have.  Again, this offer is only valid through September 30, 2012; therefore, please let me know if you would like to see pricing options and I will have those generated.  If you have further questions about this promotion, please feel free to contact me directly at the information below, or contact RenewalsHotlineAMER@vmware.com

If you are interested in quotes to see how much getting your products back on support would be please let me know and I am happy to get these for you.”

I am not surprised.  For the first time in its history VMware will have seen decreased sales in the past year, especially when it comes to renewing SnS contracts.  When they launched vSphere 5 (and the hated Memory Tax) they gave existing clients a ridiculously short window to make the commitment to upgrading their licenses… something like 30 days.  A great many companies decided to either stick with vSphere 4.1, which meant that they would avoid the Memory Tax, or better yet, begin the process of migrating their existing vSphere servers onto Hyper-V.

It does not surprise me at all that the company is now looking for ways to get that lost business back, even taking the unprecedented steps of lowering the costs AND waiving the penalties.  Unfortunately for them, as I wrote earlier in this article, you cannot unring a bell.  For the die-hard fans who stayed with vSphere 4.1 this might be enticing, but for companies that dipped their toes into the waters of Hyper-V, and were anxiously awaiting the public release of Hyper-V 3.0, there is no going back.

I have been and will continue to teach those professionals and companies how to best leverage their Microsoft virtualization platform… Welcome aboard!

Private Cloud Training from Microsoft Learning

Hey folks!  I have been asked to post here information about the release dates for Private Cloud training from Microsoft, so here it is:

10747A: Administering System Center 2012 Configuration Manager: June 29, 2012 (currently in Beta)

10748A: Deploying System Center 2012 Configuration Manager: June 29, 2012 (currently in Beta)

10750A: Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012: July 30, 2012 (currently in Beta)

10751A: Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012: July 30, 2012 (currently in Beta)

I hope this helps!