How many virtualization vendor relationships do you have?

Laurianne McLaughlin over at CIO.com Virtualization Drilldown posted a story up on June 30 that has me thinking about multiple-vendor virtualization environments.

Laurianne McLaughlin over at CIO.com Virtualization Drilldown posted a story up on June 30 that has me thinking about multiple-vendor virtualization environments.  Is this something that is pervasive in today's environments of vendor consolidation?  Why would you be running multiple virtualization environments anyway?  I can see testing out XenServer, Hyper-V, but all three at once in a production environment?  I just don't see it.

With all of the environments I've run into, companies are standardizing on one vendor in the server hardware space.  Not that they don't look or test out others, but it's hard to replace an incumbent vendor for something completely new.  I'm not saying that there aren't scenarios for multiple-vendor relationships, like Citrix and VMware, or Citrix and Hyper-V, etc. with the products of each vendor adding value to the overall solution.  John Suit, CTO of Fortisphere makes his point with this here:

"1. Define what cross-platform and cross-OS solutions you need.

For instance, Suit says, are you considering keeping VMware for servers but using some Citrix technology for virtual desktops? Does your shop require Microsoft in certain spots, but perhaps not in as many as was the case in the past? Think about what technology fits where naturally in your virtualized environment, he says.
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Now what does the future hold?  As Laurianne points out in her article, the Open Virtualization Format (OVF) an open industry specification in development now, is designed to support movement of a VM between platforms.  I can see this really opening up the ability to move VMs around, but it still begs the question, why?

Thoughts? Comments?

Read Laurianne's article here.

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We see heterogeneous VM Server and Desktop environments at our customers ALL the time.  Some XenApp, some VMware and now some XenDesktop and even some lesser known players.  Where we see this most is corporations that have multiple IT admins responsible for their own departments. They get to put in what they feel is best then they call us to help them manage the environments.   There is a story over on DABCC that touched upon this a while back  http://www.dabcc.com/blogs/jason-e-smiths-hype-advisor/post/vmware-vs-citrix-the-winner-is
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Well, I think it's important to point out that you're mainly talking about the hypervisor here, which might be just one piece of a broader virtualization strategy.  With interoperability announcements, such as the one between Citrix and Microsoft, or a standard like OVF, the VM is being abstracted from the hypervisor.  When you combine this with the commoditization of the hypervisor, it won't really matter which hypervisor you use.  So, the question of, "Why use multiple vendors?" could be answered with "Why not?"  It might be a relatively big deal to change hypervisors now, but the more they become commoditized, the less of a big deal it will be.  It will be like changing wireless service providers.

The choice could come down to price, features or third-party support.  Or, it could come down the type of overall solution you adopt.  For example, if you purchase XenDesktop and plan to use most of the included features (or component products), why not use XenServer as well?  

--BXP

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