Gartner Catalyst Conference is an event for advisors and decision makers in IT. July 29- August 1 2013 the event was held in San Diego having tracks on Cloud computing, mobility, virtual datacenter and big data. An overview of the agenda can be seen here.
One of the sessions was titled D4 – Rethinking Your Hypervisor Choice: Can You Replace VMware. The session presented by Chris Wolf of Gartner has been recorded and is available for viewing here. Registration is required but is free and allows you to view up to three sessions for free.
The highlights of the sessions are written in this blogpost.
Gartner compared 5 x86 virtualization solutions: vSphere 5.1, Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV), Citrix XenServer and Oracle VM.
Gartner uses their Evaluation Criteria for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure to assess the solutions and to be able to compare them. This helps customers to answer the question “What product is right for my technical requirements?” The Evaluation Criteria complements the Magic Quadrant which helps customers to select vendors for a short list.
Gartner uses in total 241 criteria. Criteria are features on compute, storage, networking, Guest OS support, management, business continuity etc. 70 of those criteria are ranked as required features by Gartner, 117 preferred and 45 are optional. Gartner selects the criteria based on customer requirements they get from Gartner customers. Vendors do not have any influence on the selection of criteria.
Required criteria are features which are essential for the typical large Enterprise. Products that do not meet 100% of the required criteria are considered not ready for large-scale Enterprise production workloads.
Preferred are nice to have features.They improve TCO for instance but are not deal breakers. Optional features are those needed for selected deployments or use cases. All the results of the product assessments have been checked by the vendors on results being factual correct,
Gartner customers can get an Excel spreadsheet listing all the criteria and results of the assessment.
The slide below shows the results of the assessment. VMware vSphere is the leader. It is the only solution on the market which scores 100% on the required criteria. Hyper-V is very close behind. Interesting to see is that RHEV scores slightly better than Citrix XenServer.
Results of the product comparison are showed in so called spider graphs or radar charts. The next slide shows the score of the required, preferred and optional features. vSphere is a bullseye. Hyper-V has some small white spaces in Business Continuity and Guest OS support
vSphere and Hyper-V are very close to each other when looking at the required features. Hyper-V supports less operating systems in the guest. The gap with vSphere is also caused by less support of snapshots of Linux guests by Hyper-V. A Linux guest will be temporary suspended prior to a backup when snapshots are used in a Hyper-V environment.
Another of Hyper-V weaknesses is lack of central management. Certain tasks can only be done in either Hyper-V manager, SCVMM or Powershell. Gartners says VMware offers the best GUI management solution as basically all operations can be done using vCenter Server.
Both VMware and Microsoft management tooling is able to manage other hypervisors. However Gartner is not aware of any Gartner customer who is using SCVMM to manage ESXI or using vCenter Server to manage Hyper-V.
vSphere weakness is its costs. Other weaknesses mentioned by Gartner are all shared with the other solutions.
An interesting remark by Chris Wolf is that Gartner does not see large scale clusters being used in enterprises. Typically in enterprises virtualization clusters are 32 nodes or less.
The slides below show some of the criteria used by Gartner.