Is HCI Bringing Change to the Hypervisor Market?

Hyperconverged infrastructures (HCIs) are anchored in virtualizationvirtual storage, virtual compute, and virtual networking. And we know the big names in the hypervisor space: VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. Recent ESG research asked organizations what they consider to be their primary hypervisor deployed in production. Fifty five percent of organizations selected VMware vSphere, while another 36% primarily leverage Microsoft Hyper-V.

While that represents a massive combined percentage of organizations, we’re in the early stages of organizations being more open to changing their hypervisor. In fact, ESG found that over 20% of organizations were likely to replace their hypervisor if given a compelling reason. This brings up the question, what would drive an organization to displace its primary hypervisor? Top of the list is cost savings with 34% of organization citing the overall cost of hypervisor licenses being the most likely reason for displacing their current primary hypervisor, but the response I found interesting is nearly 1 in 4 organizations would be most likely to displace their current primary hypervisor as part of a shift toward a hyperconverged infrastructure.


With the emergence of KVM-based hypervisors, namely Nutanix AHV and to a lesser extent (based solely on marketing presence) Scale Computing’s rearchitected approach to virtualization, there are newer options available that may enable organizations to save money and/or improve performance while continuing to meet all their virtualized application requirements. I’ve spoken with numerous customers who leverage these options and have fantastic things to say, but at the same time drawbacks exist, with the biggest being around the supporting ecosystem. Simply put, with VMware and Microsoft, their hypervisor supporting ecosystem is far more mature and therefore offers a more robust set of desired add-ons/plug-ins.

Now I want to make one thing clear: Do not interpret this data incorrectly. Just because VMware has licensing costs doesn’t mean organizations are jumping ship to KVM-based options when adopting HCI technology. If anything, VMware has an opportunity to grow its lead in the hypervisor space due to its large presence in both traditional 3-tier infrastructures and hyperconverged infrastructures. The main thing that should be taken away is that we’re in the early stages of organizations being more open-minded to the idea of changing their hypervisor as they look to modernize their infrastructures by leveraging hyperconverged infrastructures.

Topics: Converged Infrastructure