Ok, I admit, I was among the early adopters of the late nineties to
get hooked on VMWare. In fact, as an open source advocate I remember
playing with "
Ten years ago when the
CPUs made it hard to virtualize efficiently, VMWare was great. After
2003 if you were mostly interested in linux (king of the cloud) Xen was
an excellent open source alternative to virtualize x86 commodity
servers. In 2006 Amazon launched their EC2 service which would become
the defacto cloud standard. EC2 is built on Xen and is probably the
single biggest x86 virtualization environment in the world. Several
hundred thousand of my closest friends have found EC2 to be a fantastic
compute platform that goes beyond server virtualization, all without a
trace of VMWare. So why choose VMWare now?
modern CPUs include specific support for virtualization making it
easier to deliver efficient virtulaization without Xen's paravirt trick
or VMWare's innovative code patching. Current linux kernels include
support for KVM and I believe upstream kernels will again support Xen
natively. I remember when RedHat bought Qumranet,
developer of KVM, SPICE, and SolidICE (a desktop virtualization
technology) in 2008. Back then KVM didn't compare to VMWare. It
certainly was not "
back then. Three years later, KVM has matured extremely well. I think it really is "
for commodity OS virtualization. In my cloud development efforts I've
run hundreds of thousands of VMs on Xen and KVM during the past 2 1/2
years. While I really respect Xen, I've come to like and appreciate KVM
on modern CPUs since it's just so simple and easy to use. Today there
are so many "
choices for x86 virtualization from
Xen, KVM, and VirtualBox to Hyper-V, which Microsoft is practically
giving away just to keep Windows relevant in the datacenter. So why
choose VMWare now?
Is low end disruption
a threat for VMWare? Linux and Apache are certainly well established
in the datacenter preventing Microsoft's dominance over the desktop to
spill into the datacenter. Ten years ago when Windows had 90-something
percent market share of desktop computers, I myself considered Microsoft
an untouchable giant. Today, however, I think they're doomed because
Apple is cooler, all the kids have 'em along with iphones and and
ipads. By analogy, VMWare should be very concerned. IMHO, they can and
will lose their dominance and I think they'll do so by the classic Innovator's Dilemma
VMWare continues to cater to their traditional high end customers.
Meanwhile, nearly three quarters of a million developers are using
Amazon's cloud as their platform for new software applications and
services. And the best part is Amazon's cloud doesn't even need or use
VMWare. In fact, neither does Google's AppEngine or Microsoft's Azure.
Sense a pattern? If you believe, as I do, that we're on the cusp of a
new platform war to deliver the next generation of applications and
services, then the key to success is the application development
community. VMWare may have operations teams sold, but developers love
the cloud. Interestingly, they may not even have the ops guys sold
after all. Here's a forum thread titled "VMWare, a falling giant
"According to Ars Technica, 'A new survey seems to show that VMware's iron grip on the enterprise virtualization market is loosening,
with 38 percent of businesses planning to switch vendors within the
next year due to licensing models and the robustness of competing
hypervisors.' What do IT-savvy Slashdotters have to say about moving
away from one of the more stable and feature rich VM architectures
survey found that VMware is the primary hypervisor for server
virtualization in 67.6 percent of shops, followed by Microsoft's Hyper-V
with 16.4 percent and Citrix with 14.4 percent. Wow, this doesn't even
compare to Microsoft's former dominance for which I recall seeing
numbers as high as 98% market share!
So why choose VMWare now? Maybe the question should be, "
Have you tried an open source hypervisor lately?"
Or better yet, "
have you tried a public cloud yet"
Frankly, I don't even like using hypervisors directly anymore as I find
clouds much more powerful and easier to use. Why don't you give ISAAC a try
? You can see what a real cloud is like while also trying out open source hypervisors.