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Hyper-V’s Biggest Winning Points Go Beyond Price

In the last few days before VMworld gets under way Monday in Las Vegas, VMware has to share attention with its competitors and potential competitors. Microsoft eliminated its already-attractive $28 fee for Hyper-V for Server 2008, which created buzz that almost overshadowed it. That wasn’t a surprise to those who have been predicting the move, but free is always welcome.

Even so, price hasn’t been generating most of the talk. Management of virtualized environments, as Arthur Cole wrote in Data Center Central today, will involve more choices among third-party providers eager to get their hardware and/or software integrated with Hyper-V, ESX, Zen or Virtual Iron. And that could be a positive.

It could also be a negative. Early virtualization adopters, many of whom are Microsoft shops, say integration of the hypervisor with the operating system — and other Microsoft products — adds simplicity that the IT department just can’t pass up. And that’s even though Microsoft’s virtualization tech lags a bit in features.  At a launch event yesterday, a Microsoft exec said he fully expects many shops to run VMware and Microsoft hypervisors side by side because System Center software allows management of both, then to opt for Microsoft, based on both ease of management and price, according to this Network World piece. And IT directors are willing, the article suggests, to wait for missing features, either because they can’t pass up the savings or because they don’t care about features like live migration that much anyway.

Computerworld’s Eric Ogren advises keeping an eye on announcements from Citrix, VMware and even Symantec, which has a unique strength in security for virtualized endpoints. But Ogren says the Microsoft platform protects its position:

Organizations have built IT processes on Microsoft’s products and their comfort with Windows applications, Microsoft management tools and Microsoft partner products is a significant advantage.

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