Two years ago if someone said to me "We are looking at virtualisation, what options do I have?" Well the answer was simple VMware, job done, thank you very much, the cheque can be made payable to......blah, blah
In the words of Ferris Bueller "Time moves pretty fast" and now the answer is not that simple. The first question will ultimately be "What is your budget?" then "What are you looking to virtualise?" storage, desktops, servers, the whole lot??? The virtualisation market is probably hotter then it is ever been at the moment with the majority of the big players having some sort of hypervisor Microsoft - Hyper V, Citrix - XenServer, VMware -Vi3.5, ESXi. There is no doubt at the moment that VMware is ahead overall with its technology and so it should be as its had a massive head start but the other offerings are appealing depending on what you want to do.
So...why am I blabbering on about this?...well I believe that Microsoft may not have all the ticks in the boxes at the moment with Hyper V but it does have a real opportunity in the overall management of virtualisation platforms with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 (VMM 2008) when it is released.....why? well VMM 2008 will have the ability to manage the major hypervisor platforms including VMware (through VirtualCenter) and Xen based platforms plus guess what? It will integrate with OpsMgr 2007 using a management pack and something called "vpro" technology which will let OpsMgr 2007 manage VMM 2008 at the sdk level. So, tell me the benefits? Well in a nutshell, we know that OpsMgr 2007 allows proactive monitoring from a business service perspective meaning by integrating with VMM 2008 we will get proactive virtualisation management from a service perspective.
Let me explain a bit further...at the moment if you have VMware in a production environment you will use VirtualCenter for its management and it does this really well - resource pools, vmotion etc etc but tell me whether VirtualCenter has an understanding of your key services and applications??? Does it know that you have a two key trading applications which are in a certain resource pool? Does it know that on Monday mornings these applications or business critical services will be busy...in short not as it stands at the moment....so it is what I would term as a 'hard' management solution as opposed to a 'soft' service based solution. We already know OpsMgr 2007 can monitor from a service perspective and so integrated with VMM 2008 we will have proactive virtualisation management down to the hypervisor layer...something that the other vendors can't do at the moment......
VMM 2008 will be a big (or should be) product in the virtualisation market and will make it possible to manage your virtualisation platform from a service perspective.
My ramblings here are inspired by this article - http://searchwinit.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid1_gci1322706,00.html
Have a read.