Slowly but surely, Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor is taking over the SMB server virtualization market. The company has been developing its server virtualization technology by adding high-end features to compete with VMware in the enterprise space, but it's the bargain basement where Hyper-V is finding its true sweet spot.
That's what Veeam has noticed, anyway. The Ohio-based virtual infrastructure management company flogs its Veeam One management products to SMBs that use VMware. Lately, however, its been seeing more and more of its target customers turning their backs on the virtualization technology behemoth. "Hyper-V is attracting significant interest in the SMB space," said Doug Hazelman, Veeam's VP of product strategy. "We see the popularity of Hyper-V increasing, and its market share in the space increasing."
It's because of this, and the fact that many companies are now operating multiple hypervisors, that Veeam has announced a new version of Veeam One which is not, as you might expect, called Veeam Two. Instead it's called, rather confusingly, Veeam One. Go figure. Anyway, the big change is that it now supports Hyper-V environments as well as VMware ones.
One reason Hazelman thinks Veeam's software will appeal to users of Microsoft's virtualization technology is that System Center, Microsoft's management system, is too expensive for most SMBs, and System Center Essentials, its cut-down SMB version, lacks appeal. "We've not seen much interest in System Center Essentials at all," he said. He is also quick to note that Microsoft has been coy to date about its plans for System Center Essentials when System Center 2012 is made available, and no one likes uncertainty.
With the new Veeam One, due out in the next quarter, administrators will be able to manage both server virtualization platforms from a single pane of glass. The two platforms will have to be managed discretely though -- there are no conversion tools, for example, and it will not be possible to use Veeam One to move virtual machines from one hypervisor to another. Alternatively, they'll simply manage a single virtualization platform, and if Veeam is right, that will increasingly be Microsoft's
Veeam's software actually hooks into vCenter and Hyper-V servers and Hyper-V and vSphere virtual machines, pulling out data that it then uses for four key functions:
- Real-time monitoring of virtualized workloads
- Resource allocation
- Configuration change tracking
- Reporting feedback for validating SLAs and assessing ROI for IT spending
Veeam is out to make money, and it is therefore very picky about the hypervisors it supports. So it's telling that for the foreseeable future Veeam has no plans to add support for the Xen hypervisor or KVM to Veeam One: The company is simply not seeing much demand for these hypervisors.
That means Microsoft and VMware have the whole SMB virtualization technology market pretty much to themselves, and it's a vast and as yet relatively unexploited one. There's potential there to make some very serious money if they can attract SMB customers, and Microsoft has a history of succeeding in this space with other products -- although it would be foolish to write VMware off just yet.
Veeam doesn't care who wins though: In any gold rush, the people who sell the tools always tend to do very nicely indeed.
Paul Rubens is a journalist based in Marlow on Thames, England. He has been programming, tinkering and generally sitting in front of computer screens since his first encounter with a DEC PDP-11 in 1979.