Industry analysts have long speculated that the release of Hyper-V R2 might cause organizations to consider shifting from VMware ESX to the Microsoft platform. The process of evaluating their hypervisor decision instead is leading some organizations to upgrade to vSphere and expand their virtualization environments. And in one recent case involving Texas' Denton County, it prompted a migration from Hyper-V to VMware vSphere.
"We knew that we wanted the whole virtualization enchilada," said Kevin Carr, Director of Information Services for Denton County. "But there are not a lot of consultants out there with experience virtualizing significant data centers with Hyper-V. The maturity and enterprise capabilities of vSphere made it a very interesting alternative."
Denton County initially only experimented with virtualization, and as a Microsoft shop familiar with Windows, decided to utilize Hyper-V as its virtualization platform. While starting with only a few test VMs, new servers began to be put into production as virtual machines until the County reached a total of 24 VMs running on four Hyper-V hosts. As the number of VMs continued to grow, IT management increasingly became aware of virtualization's capabilities to lower costs, reduce power usage and increase availability. They grew interested in the idea of virtualizing their remaining 139 physical servers, and were looking forward to the increased capabilities that Hyper-V R2 would offer.
Carr said that his team began to have some initial concerns about using Hyper-V as their platform when they discovered that several of their ISVs had statements supporting VMware, but not mentioning the Microsoft hypervisor. After speaking with their INX account manager, they began evaluating VMware vSphere as an alternative and found it to be very tempting. They saw vSphere's Fault Tolerance for mission-critical servers as a superior option to clustering software and hardware solutions. They also liked vSphere's power management capabilities which would enable them, as a primarily 8-5 operation, to automatically consolidate and shut down unused servers – thereby saving both power and cooling costs.
"As a big Cisco shop, we wanted the ability to manage both the virtual and physical networks with the same Cisco interface with which we are familiar," said Carr. "The Cisco Nexus 1000V virtual switch, in conjunction with vSphere, provides that capability while also reducing the amount of time required to manage the virtual switches by providing an aggregated management console."
The other vSphere management capabilities were also appealing according to Carr. His team liked the single pane of glass enabled by vSphere vs. the multiple consoles required to effectively manage a Hyper-V environment. The county currently is in the process of deploying nine new Dell R710 rack-mounted servers as the hosting platform for supporting a completely virtualized data center running on VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus.