[To get things started on this Hyper-V blog, I’m going to take a few of the Hyper-V posts from the Modern Backup blog and reprise them here. Here’s the third of these.]

There’s a great article on the Solarwinds blog entitled “Has VMware ceded the SMB market to Microsoft Hyper-V?” Like most great articles, it’s controversial – and VMware has responded and refuted some of the main points. Solarwinds followed-up with a response ending with “We’d be happy if both VMware and Hyper-V continue to grow quickly!”

As a backup vendor, we hope that both continue to grow quickly as well. We offer VMware and Hyper-V protection. We’re partners with both VMware and Solarwinds and Microsoft. I’ve noted at other times that the VMware VADP APIs for data protection are much more powerful than those of other virtualization vendors and that VMware is technically ahead of everyone.

At the same time, what we’re seeing is a groundswell of Hyper-V interest these days – not only from SMB but from large public companies that I would never have imagined would be thinking about seriously switching. There are several fundamental reasons:

  1. Free is powerful. A wise old marketing person once told me to do the math – that free was infinitely more valuable than any other price. Beyond the not-so-obscure mathematical nature of the joke, there’s truth to the perceived “price” of Hyper-V versus the perceived “price” of VMware ESX/ESXi – particularly for the features that you have to pay more for in VMware versus what Microsoft has announced. In the VMware response to the article, it’s noted that Essentials is priced at $83 per processor and Essentials Plus is priced at $749 per processor. In our backup space, note the pricing differential for technologies such as vMotion in the coming Windows 8 release.
  2. There are a huge number of Microsoft certified technicians. Technical certification and partner costs are not an advantage to VMware in terms of smaller resellers.
  3. Windows 8 is finally bringing some “game” in terms of technologies. Will VMware at any given point in time be superior? Yes – for the foreseeable future. And just the announcement of that, with the delivery of the beta versions of Windows 8, has a lot of people not just talking but listening.

Several other notes, with cited sources: When VMware notes that they have 70%+ of the market, it’s important to define what the market is. In the blog response, it’s noted that VMware has 350K customers across SMB and enterprise worldwide. That’s incredible success. At the same time, AMI Partners reports that worldwide there are 9.3 million companies with servers (AMI Global Model, 2H 2008) and 25.2 million companies with 2 or more PCs. Admittedly, a large number of these are very small businesses (only a few more than 1M in 2008 had more than 25 PCs) – but I think that VMware and Microsoft may be looking at the problem very, very differently – with Microsoft wanting to get to those very small businesses very badly.

Why do I believe this? I became a believer when I saw the Unitrends vRecovery backup appliance, one that includes an awful lot of powerful features like backup, instant recovery, archive, replication, deduplication, etc. – running very well on a Windows 8 ***CLIENT*** PC under Hyper-V.

Again – I want to stress – we’d like to see VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V do well. Fans of both. But it’s pretty clear to a lot of folks in the industry that Microsoft is trying to do the same thing that they’ve done in a lot of other areas – aim their arrows at the leader’s back and overtake them through innovative and low-cost go to market strategies. Microsoft has been a pretty good archer in the past – I’m hoping that VMware will show the type of SMB go to market innovation that they show with respect to technology so that in the end not only VMware of Microsoft wins, but small and medium businesses win as well.

If you disagree, don’t hesitate to let us know.