VMware has maintained its functionality lead, introducing vSphere 5.5 in September 2013 (it released vSphere 6.0 after the cutoff for this analysis). VMware continues to have dominant market share, and customers remain very satisfied with product capabilities and vendor support. However, concern over price and vendor lock-in remains. Client inquiries have been significantly increasing about comparisons between VMware and Hyper-V, specifically. While few large enterprises are switching, some smaller enterprises that are not far along in their virtualization deployment are switching (often from VMware to Hyper-V, but sometimes from Hyper-V to VMware), and some larger customers are deploying alternatives to VMware in separate data centers or in branch/store locations.
VMware is still enjoying good growth, but growth is harder due to both increasing market saturation and competitive pricing pressure. An emerging concern is the rapid growth of IaaS cloud providers, especially Amazon Web Services (based on Xen), used mainly for new workloads that are designed for cloud computing. While VMware has a dominant share for existing enterprise workloads, its share of the newer, cloud workloads is much smaller — a major inhibitor to growth. While the overall installed base of VMs tripled between 2011 and 2014, the percentage of VMs in cloud computing providers grew from 3% to 20% in the same time. VMware launched its own cloud service in August 2013 (now called vCloud Air), but it is still a very small player compared with providers like Amazon.
With respect to the growing midmarket business, in which high-end management and automation features are less critical, VMware has retained a strong market share. (Gartner surveys consistently show that about half of midmarket companies, those with 100 to 1,000 employees, tend to use VMware.) However, as Microsoft gains marketing momentum, VMware will need to continue to offer low-price packages to remain competitive in this market. As VMware promotes virtualization for more mission-critical workloads, it continues to face an Oracle VM solution, whereby concern over platform certification will drive a small number of VMware users to Oracle VM. While Windows-based workloads have become heavily virtualized, there is still quite a bit of opportunity for Linux-based workloads. However, OpenStack, Red Hat and containers are growing trends driving Linux virtualization.
A key for VMware’s growth will be to expand outside of traditional applications, attract and enable developers, and succeed as a cloud provider (and/or as an enabler to cloud providers).
Red Hat continues to make good progress in this year’s Magic Quadrant, primarily due to a strong tie between KVM adoption and OpenStack and an increase in OpenStack adoption and integration. In Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) 3.5 (February 2015), Red Hat added both the OpenStack Glance project (for disk and server image management) to its distribution and a technology preview of OpenStack’s Neutron networking project. But OpenStack is not necessarily a sure thing for Red Hat. The OS of choice appears to be Ubuntu, and RHEV appears to be the hypervisor of choice about 5% of the time. As Gartner has pointed out in the past, RHEV’s primary competitor still appears to be open-source KVM. With a relatively undervirtualized Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) market, and a growth in OpenStack, Red Hat has potential opportunity.
As a stand-alone offering, Red Hat offers RHEV 3.5 — including Hypervisor and Manager — for virtualized enterprise workloads for supported guest operating systems. Red Hat Enterprise Linux with Smart Virtualization is aimed at customers looking to maximize the benefits of their virtualized infrastructure with Linux workloads and Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure, a comprehensive solution that supports organizations on their journey from traditional data center virtualization to OpenStack-powered clouds.
Red Hat’s virtualization strategy should be to first become the No. 3 virtualization vendor behind VMware and Microsoft, especially in the RHEL installed base and where there is concern over VMware lock-in. It should also align tightly with growing interest in OpenStack, especially for private clouds, and build a rich set of layered software capabilities, including JBoss Middleware, CloudForms and OpenShift. Red Hat’s vision makes sense. The key will be execution at the same time that VMware and Microsoft are investing heavily in their own solutions that extend from virtualization to cloud infrastructures, IaaS and platform as a service (PaaS).
Similar to Microsoft, Red Hat’s success cannot require displacing VMware or only penetrating customers that have yet to virtualize. Instead, Red Hat needs to successfully promote the idea of the right virtualization stack for the right applications, promote RHEV or Linux Containers (LXC) — especially for Linux-based development and new applications managed on LXC — and allow VMware to maintain a position for existing enterprise applications. RHEL customers remain a prime target. Microsoft is promoting the same idea with its Hyper-V, but it is almost exclusively gaining share in Microsoft-only environments — leaving Linux an opportunity for Red Hat. For private clouds, while VMware will take a strong position, Red Hat can promote an alternative: OpenStack-based private cloud architecture for new, cloud-aware applications and new development/test. Red Hat’s biggest competitor will be open-source-based solutions, but as interest in OpenStack grows, interest in vendor support and more turnkey solutions will also grow. Improved investments in marketing will be critical for Red Hat to overcome significant marketing by VMware and Microsoft.
Enterprises interested in OpenStack but looking for faster time to value should consider Red Hat as an option — but also should require a rapid return on investment (two to three years), with the potential of changing technologies at the end of that time frame.
While the x86 virtualization market has been growing significantly, general interest in Oracle VM Server for x86 has been declining with Gartner customers (based on inquiries and client meetings). Oracle is focused on an application-driven virtualization strategy that goes beyond the hypervisor to provide full integration across the Oracle software portfolio. This integration is driving a strong execution in the Niche Players quadrant.
Gartner continues to receive a limited number of inquiries from clients considering VMware alternatives (such as Oracle VM) because of Oracle certification, license and support issues. Clients report that difficulties around live migration and storage recovery have generally been resolved — tied to improvements in both Oracle VM and Oracle Linux as they are integrated within Engineered Systems, where we do see increased Oracle VM activity.
Oracle VM is Oracle’s implementation of the Xen hypervisor, which leverages intellectual property tied to Oracle Linux. Oracle has further integrated these technologies into a more coherent and packaged solution with the Oracle VM 3.3 release, tied to “Application Aware Virtualization,” that offers more integration to RedStack as well as heterogeneous support. Oracle VM is managed by Enterprise Manager 12c, Oracle’s system management product. Enterprise Manager can monitor and manage the entire stack — from applications to infrastructure — allowing application and platform administrators to get contextual insight into their virtualization environment. Enterprise Manager 12c also acts as the service delivery platform for cloud services, leveraging the infrastructure and virtualization resources provided by Oracle’s VM product portfolio. This portfolio includes Oracle VM Server for x86, Oracle VM Server for SPARC (based on Sun Logical Domain [LDOM] technology), Oracle Solaris Zones, Oracle Linux Containers, and potential software appliances using Oracle VM, storage and other related virtualized infrastructures. This management unification is an important foundation for Oracle virtualization and builds an integrated approach to selling virtualized DBMSs (including Oracle RAC), Oracle WebLogic Server and other Oracle software solutions, as well as attached storage with Oracle-based management solutions.
Most customer references that Gartner talked to stated that certification and licensing remain the primary reasons for choosing Oracle VM. Oracle has now certified its software on Hyper-V; this certification has gained a few Gartner client inquiries and limited momentum. Oracle still favors Oracle VM for software licensing and pricing — for example, with processor pinning (allowing the specification of a limited number of processors being used by a VM, which can reduce software costs when live migration is not required). This approach and flexibility do not extend to the Hyper-V certification.
Oracle Solaris Zones offer shared OS virtualization capabilities for tactical x86 deployments (the same capabilities as provided on the SPARC platform, although that is out of scope for this market evaluation). All zones and container technologies provide differentiated benefits for x86 Oracle users — higher virtualization density and reduced operational costs due to fewer OS instances, something that hypervisor-based solutions cannot do. In this case, Oracle Solaris Zones alongside Oracle VM can be a complementary solution, targeted at different application requirements. Solaris Zones also contain a new Solaris optimized virtualization layer that allows for the flexibility of a Type 2 hypervisor that is optimized to run Solaris as a guest.
In March 2015, Parallels divided its company more explicitly into two distinct brands and business divisions — Parallels for the cross-platform solutions (focused on end-user support and application delivery) and Odin (focused on service providers, for hosting and cloud automation, Web management, and cloud infrastructure). While still a part of Parallels, Odin will function as a separate, wholly owned business. Within Odin, the Parallels Cloud Server offering was rebranded to Virtuozzo — in many ways, re-embracing the company’s virtualization and container foundation. Odin targets service providers that serve small or midsize business customers — a loyal, viable and expanding community for the company. Additionally, Odin is the major driving force behind OpenVZ and has been working closely with Docker and Google on container standards. Given Parallel’s track record with containers, more than one million container instances deployed and new compatibility with Docker, Odin has the potential to expand its service provider value and market reach.
Virtuozzo allows applications to run in lightweight, separate containers, offering processor affinity and memory protection and isolation. Compared with hypervisor-based solutions, the Virtuozzo containers offering enables much higher server densities and can reduce OS software and administration costs. Virtuozzo containers also offer portability and live workload migration. The whole architecture of containers enables a workload and container to spin up faster and with less performance overhead than VM solutions. For those customers who prefer to manage their own OS, Virtuozzo hypervisor enables service providers to offer traditional VMs on the same physical node as containers. Virtuozzo storage enables a complete high-availability solution on commodity hardware by creating a cloud storage pool from existing server hard drives.
Odin is positioned well for service providers that are competing with very large service providers for midmarket enterprise customers. Virtuozzo is used on-premises by only a handful of large enterprises; Odin is very focused on the service provider market. However, it sees potential to expand its adoption by enterprises through service providers due to its robust support of containers.
Odin offers the best solution for service providers building high-density and isolated solutions around common workloads, such as Web services. As the Docker and container phenomenon grows, Odin has a head start on competitors, but as every major cloud provider begins to offer container support, and as every major hypervisor vendor adds container support to its portfolio, Odin will be challenged to maintain its lead.
Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 R2 was a major release, delivered in October 2013, and during the last year and a half, that release has become mainstream. Microsoft has effectively closed most of the functionality gap with VMware in terms of the x86 server virtualization infrastructure. Differences continue to be price (favouring Microsoft, although customers report that VMware has slightly better hardware density), ease of management (Microsoft’s multiple management tools make operations more complex, and the parent OS architecture tends to drive more planned downtime), and features (Microsoft’s Dynamic Optimization is impractical for most organizations, and VMware’s broader OS support is often critical to enterprises).
Microsoft’s efforts in enabling Azure-like capability have been attracting enterprises interested in leveraging Azure and managing both on-premises Hyper-V and Azure services. There is a growing interest in using Hyper-V for Microsoft-based development teams, especially due to its Azure affinity.
Microsoft can now meet the needs of most enterprises with respect to server virtualization. Its challenge is neither feature nor functions, but competing in a market with an entrenched competitor, VMware. Microsoft is now winning a good percentage of enterprises that are not yet heavily virtualized — especially those that are mostly Windows-based (while Linux support is improved, especially in Windows Server 2012 R2, there are few customers using Hyper-V for Linux). However, few enterprises that are heavily virtualized with an alternative technology are choosing to go through the effort to switch. A growing number of large enterprises are finding niches in which to place Microsoft — for example, in stores, branch offices or separate data centres. This strategy of “second sourcing” will enable these enterprises to evaluate Hyper-V for further deployments and perhaps leverage the competition in deals with VMware. While Microsoft’s technology is capable, winning the larger and more mission-critical deployments will be an uphill battle and will require more proof points. Hyper-V will likely be more successful in development teams interested in Azure, but requiring on-premises deployments. As Microsoft further improves its support for Azure affinity, and adds support for Windows containers in a future release, its success with development teams will continue to grow.
http://www.gartner.com/technology/reprints.do?id=1-2JFZ1KP&ct=150715&st=sb Huawei Huawei started its enterprise business in 2011. Its market base is stronger in Brazil, Russia, India and (primarily) China, and it mainly targets telcos and emerging markets. FusionSphere is virtualization infrastructure software and is one element of Huawei’s portfolio of network, storage and compute infrastructure. Although it can be supported on third-party hardware, most references are deployed on Huawei’s FusionCube. FusionSphere includes a Xen-based hypervisor, as well as extended input/output, availability and recovery products and capabilities. Furthermore, Huawei is developing a KVM product suite, and this is their stated technology direction. Huawei FusionSphere first entered the Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure in 2014. An up-and-coming product in emerging markets, Huawei FusionSphere claims hundreds of references in emerging economies. It also has references from Western Europe and Singapore, among other mature markets. However, Huawei has more customer references from China than elsewhere. It is predominantly appropriate for Huawei hardware users. Users of other x86 servers should validate the level of certification and local support. In late 2013, Huawei became a Gold Member of the OpenStack Foundation. It has already become a top 10 feature and code contributor, and it is leveraging OpenStack across both FusionCloud and FusionSphere, which may expand its market awareness while also increasing its appeal as cloud infrastructure. Huawei has established its position in telecommunications companies and for networking technology. During the past few years, Huawei has shown great ambition to expand into enterprise markets in mature economies. However, national security concerns have resulted in obstacles, particularly in North America. Its continuing growth will likely originate from emerging markets, Asia/Pacific and Western Europe — where FusionCloud and FusionSphere are being evaluated in test/development and pilots for cloud infrastructure. Strengths
In recent years, Citrix has executed a number of fundamental changes that refocus and reposition XenServer as a platform for cloud infrastructures and desktop virtualization more than data center use. More recently, though, Citrix has also shown it will respond to market feedback. With the release of XenServer 6.5 in January 2015, numerous features have been brought back from retirement, or avoided retirement or deprecation.
Irrespective of these moves, it is clear Citrix is no longer investing to keep up with market leaders VMware and Microsoft — at least for traditional server virtualization in the data center. Instead, it is focusing on making XenServer an attractive hypervisor for cloud infrastructure (optimizing integration with its own CloudPlatform offering) and for desktop virtualization (supporting XenDesktop and XenApp).
For cloud infrastructures, the Xen hypervisor will remain the most widely used architecture for public infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud providers, if for no other reason than it is used by Amazon Web Services. The goal for Citrix is to leverage cloud providers to grow its business with Citrix CloudPlatform (the commercially supported version of Apache CloudStack). Enterprise adoption of open-source cloud infrastructure remains nascent, and Citrix’s strongest competitor in terms of technology and market perception is OpenStack, which has traditionally been associated with Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM). Moving XenServer to full open source was a required step not only to become competitive in this market, but also to potentially rejuvenate community investment in XenServer. At the same time, Citrix continues to demonstrate its commitment; it manages the open-source project and community for XenServer. However, while CloudPlatform has several hundred customers (about half being service providers, which makes monetization challenging), Citrix has hurdles to overcome. These include the community support, industry buzz and vendor marketing muscle being put behind OpenStack. Unless Citrix can increase its own community, or gain alliances with major vendors, it will struggle.
In desktop virtualization, XenApp and XenDesktop are widely used, but VMware vSphere continues to be more broadly used as the underlying hypervisor. Citrix, with a free back end, has an opportunity to reduce VMware’s influence and to potentially make Citrix-only desktop and server virtualization attractive (especially with smaller customers). While this is a good defensive strategy for Citrix, monetizing this strategy for growth remains a challenge. Furthermore, the growth of Hyper-V as a back end adds another challenge.
Citrix and Microsoft have an intriguing relationship. While Citrix supports Hyper-V and has a long-term partnership with Microsoft, winning at the desktop layer is important if Citrix wants to further expand its management, automation and cloud business. As a result, Citrix’s go-to-market strategy regarding how XenServer both competes with and complements Hyper-V remains confusing for many customers and channel partners. Regardless, it is apparent that Citrix is willing to sacrifice the server platform to maintain its desktop virtualization business.
For server virtualization alone, the reduction in virtualization functionality weakened XenServer’s competitiveness. XenServer 6.5 addresses most of these concerns. However, Gartner inquiries on XenServer for server workload virtualization have declined. Time will tell if the repositioning in XenServer 6.5 is enough to rejuvenate market interest for enterprise server virtualization.
The success of CloudPlatform or XenDesktop/XenApp is less reliant on the success of XenServer; however, as a core underlying virtualization technology for these products, XenServer can potentially help accelerate Citrix’s success in both areas, and enterprises can rely on Citrix to maintain investments in XenServer that specifically help their CloudPlatform or XenDesktop businesses.