Windows Server 2016 is due to launch this month, and the folks in Redmond have a competitor squarely in their sights.
Switch from VMware to Microsoft’s Hyper-V and for a limited time they’ll give you free licenses to Windows Server Datacenter. Perhaps “free” should be in quotes there, because you’ll need to by a Software Assurance subscription as well, but it does represent a significant discount. How big a discount? Microsoft provides this handy calculator for you to see for yourself.
VMWare has long been the market leader, but Hyper-V has been closing the gap (Microsoft claims “four times the growth of VMware’s ESX over the past three years”). Expect this promotion to make the landscape even more competitive.
What’s it all about? If you don’t recognize the term “Hyper-V,” you might know it by its former name, Windows Server Virtualization. It can create virtual machines on x86-64 systems running Windows. In plainer English, a virtualization solution can help reduce costs by consolidating more workloads on fewer servers.
And Microsoft has continued to innovate with Hyper-V, adding features like Shielded Virtual Machines (offering protection to VMs even if the host is compromised) and Storage Spaces Direct (a new protocol for creating clustered storage volumes across both SSDs and spinning disk drives).
Will it work, and will Microsoft continue to eat into VMware’s market share? Stay tuned.