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Asking which Hypervisor is the wrong question; ask which Cloud OS

The evolution of the data center is clearly moving towards a self-service (Cloud) model.  But talking about which hypervisor is correct for the data center is the wrong discussion point to take.

I would suggest that you not think about which Hypervisor is correct for you; rather, you think about which Cloud OS is right for your data center.  In this way, you move the conversation and ultimately the strategic direction of your data center up the stack. 

So, looking at the Cloud OS and how it relates to the hypervisor, you really have three choices (VMware, Microsoft, OpenStack). 


If you are a Microsoft shop (many of your applications run on or will be migrating to Server 2012), then naturally you have expertise around Hyper-V.  It might not make sense to move to a different Cloud OS.  Why you are a complete Microsoft shop to begin with is a whole other discussion.


If you are a mixed Linux and Microsoft shop, then most likely you are already a VMware shop (good or bad: they own the market).  In this scenario, you may be looking to maintain your expertise in VMware (vSphere – ESXi) or potentially looking to deploy a more cost effective Cloud OS for the future.  If that is the case, your best consideration is OpenStack. 

Within OpenStack, you find major support for 4 hypervisors (XEN, KVM, ESXi, and Hyper-V) with XEN and KVM having the highest integration to date per OpenStack.  OpenStack is to Cloud OS what LINUX was to UNIX; open standard community supported Cloud OS that has the backing and implementation of many major hypervisor and global 100 companies. 


Obviously there are other hypervisors (IBM, Oracle, etc.) however I would look to the vision of your datacenter as a private cloud, determine which OS will power the cloud, then choose the hypervisor(s) that fits that vision.


About Michael Elliott

Michael Elliott is a thought leader, cloud strategist and enterprise data center evangelist focusing on data center evolution with particular emphasis on private and hybrid clouds. Michael previously worked as Dell’s Cloud Evangelist representing Dell’s cloud portfolio and vision at customer meetings, media briefings, and industry conferences. Prior to that, Michael held marketing and consulting roles in the storage and telecom industry. Michael currently works for NetApp as their cloud strategist and evangelist. Michael started his career as a mainframe programmer for General Electric and held the role of adjunct professor of marketing at the University of Akron. Michael has a mathematics degree from the University of Cincinnati and an MBA from Pennsylvania State University. Michael’s recent work includes: • Participation in cloud industry panels and private equity discussions relating to the vision of cloud. • Business development activities with a focus on the enterprise data center. • Sales enablement and training on cloud positioning and how cloud impacts hardware and software sales. • Industry conference presentations including the Consumer Electronics Show, Cloud Computing East, Educause, and the Cloud Computing Association. • Presentation at the International Forum on Innovation and Emerging Industries Development in Shanghai, China


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