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Cost comparisons aside, Hyper-V is typically cheaper than VMware in higher-end configurations, a fact that VMware -- which sees itself as the "Cadillac" of the virtualization market -- readily admits.
The big question is how much share of the small and medium-sized business market Microsoft can lure away in the upcoming Hyper-V release. While such a development has been predicted for years, solution providers that work with both companies have not seen a definitive shift from VMware to Microsoft.
That said, Microsoft can certainly consider incremental gains to be a step in the right direction. Scott Miller, director of cloud and virtualization at World Wide Technology, a Maryland Heights, Mo.-based solution provider, says Microsoft may see some gains in the small business space.
"I would agree that this release of Hyper-V has taken a long time. But if it delivers as advertised, there are a lot clients interested in considering it as an alternative option to a VMware Support and Subscription Services renewal," Miller said in an interview. "Our clients are asking about Hyper-V v3, and we are making sure we are educated about what it can and cannot do."
Microsoft has used creative methods in the past to position Hyper-V as a cheaper option to VMware. At VMworld 2008 in Las Vegas, Microsoft handed out $1 casino chips and flyers advertising its VmwareCostsWayTooMuch.com website.
More recently, Microsoft's "VM-Limited" campaign, which features the mutton chop-wearing, 1970s throwback Tad, ridiculed VMware for being stuck in virtualization and unable to progress into cloud infrastructure.
While humorous, Microsoft's campaigns are signs of its zealous quest to knock VMware from its dominant perch in the server virtualization market. The heavily-produced and no-doubt expensive Microsoft campaigns have also not gone unnoticed at VMware headquarters.
VMware has not responded to Microsoft's VM-Limited campaign, but if it were to do so, it would sound like this: "We would say you should invest as much in your engineering as you do in your marketing to bring you product up to snuff," Herrod told CRN.
This article updated on June 28 at 10:35 a.m. Pacific time to update Microsoft's estimates for Hyper-V virtual machine capacity