There is a popular bumper sicker that uses religious and secular imagery to spell out the word coexist, a way for the driver of a vehicle to ask that we all just get along. In the world of hypervisors we are seeing a similar movement where hypervisors coexist in the same network environment. A 2011 study by the Enterprise Strategy Group found 70% of organizations who responded to a virtualization survey said the used more than one hypervisor. So, even with VMware controlling the majority of the virtualization market, there is not much resistance to rolling other hypervisors in the same environment.

Hyper-V appears to be one of the big benefactors of this rush to use multiple hypervisors. We have seen Microsoft’s Hyper-V adoption rate grow over 60% last year. Gartner claims Hyper-V will have 27% of the virtualization market at the end of 2012. With the new features and functionality delivered by Microsoft’s Windows release this year, Hyper-V’s market share growth should not plateau any time soon.

Why do companies and organizations implement multiple hypervisors? Quite a few reasons – cost and simplicity are two. Companies with large VMware deployments might chose Hyper-V as a virtual solution at remote sites because it comes with Windows Server 2012. It is easy to deploy a new Hyper-V server in a testing environment. It could be Hyper-V is being evaluated and is being run side by side with another hypervisor for a period of time. Whatever the reason, IT administrators are finding convenience in running more than one hypervisor.

Management of multiple hypervisors in an environment can be more challenging. To manage both Hyper-V and VMware with a Microsoft product, you will need to use Virtual Machine Manager 2008 or 2012 and vCenter must be used to manage the ESXi servers. If using VMware management tools, VMware vCloud Suite 5.1 can directly manage Hyper-V servers. There are other solutions, but when deploying more than one hypervisor, think about how you will accomplish ease of management.

One thing that you do not need to worry about is protecting the virtual machines on each hypervisor. Unitrends provides host-based backups for Hyper-V and VMware, managed through a single pane of glass. As a matter of fact, you can protect your virtual and physical environments regardless of the configuration you use.