Greetings! Chris Steffen here again from Kroll Factual Data. I want to share some thoughts on what I have heard about Microsoft virtualization in the enterprise data center. I will also be the first to admit that I am not the average user of Microsoft’s virtualization technologies and that I probably have a bit of a bias toward the Microsoft solution. But the bias did not come without some pretty compelling reasons.
There are several requirements we each consider when evaluating a server virtualization product. Maybe the primary requirement is cost. Maybe the primary requirement is flexibility. Maybe it is manageability or ease of use or compatibility or reliability. Each of these requirements is a valid reason to choose a certain virtualization product. And in my evaluation, each of these requirements is answered by the Microsoft virtualization solution. I am not going to deep dive into a sales pitch here on the benefits of Virtual Server over any of the other solutions, but I did want to address a specific concern that I have heard while attending conferences and while industry analysts have talked to me: that Microsoft’s virtualization products are not ready for enterprise production environments.
For some background, Kroll Factual Data has been using Microsoft Virtual Server in our production environment for nearly five years (since Virtual Server 2003). We have tested and implemented every subsequent version ever since and currently have a more than 1,600 virtual machine environment consisting of Virtual Server 2005 R2 and Hyper-V. We are able to run 300,000 business transactions per day in this environment, and the flexibility afforded to us by having an 85% virtualized data center allows us to deploy additional capacity on demand nearly instantly.
When we started down the virtualization path, I will be the first to admit that some of the other virtualization solutions had an advantage over Microsoft, specifically in their management tools. Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) took care of that, and the improvements coming in VMM 2008 makes the Microsoft virtualization management solution the best in class.
We have had Hyper-V in our production environment now for months and are migrating our existing Virtual Server 2005R2 VMs to Hyper-V hosts as fast as our IT team can work. It has been stable, the support has been outstanding (through the Microsoft TAP program), and we are seeing about a 20% increase in resource utilization over Virtual Server 2005 R2.
Based on Factual Data ’s use of the products, Microsoft’s virtualization suite is ready for the big leagues. I mentioned earlier that I have a bias toward the Microsoft virtualization solution, and I have this bias because Virtual Server, Hyper-V and VMM have proven to me that they work as promised. They have provided the cost-effective, reliable and easy-to-manage solution that we needed, and that we will continue to use.
Some may say that they came a bit late to the party, but I would contend that the party is just beginning.