VMware will beat Microsoft on releasing a new version of virtualization platform?

While Microsoft has been very loud on announcing the release of Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V, VMware is likely to beat the Redmond company on releasing a new version of vSphere, it’s virtualization platform. It looks like the comparision tables will need to be adjusted soon.

We all know Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Released to Manufactoring (RTM) was given to OEM partners August 1. The code is expected to be ready for download by Volume Licensing, MSDN and TechNet customers around the 15th of  August.

However, the management software needed to manage  Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1 (SCVMM 2012),  is still  in a pre-beta phase.

Releasing the hypervisor without the proper management tooling could be compared to selling a car without a steering wheel. It will drive but only in 1 direction.

The current available version of System Center 2012 is restricted  to manage Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V only. For management of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Microsoft customers have to wait for the release of SC2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1). No date for the release of SC2012 SP1 has been announced yet. Well informed sources say the release of SP1 is expected at the end of December, or even begin 2013. Microsoft employees ‘on the record’ indicate that they are not in the position to say anything about a release date of SP1.

SC2012 Community Technology Preview 2 (CTP2) for SP1 has been released in June. CTP2 is able to manage Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V however this is a pre beta version which most customers are not willing to use in a production environment. The beta of SC2012 SP1 is expected somewhere in Q3 of 2012.

While basic management tasks of Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V can be done using tooling like Failover Cluster Manager features like deployment of VM’s using templates are only available in SCVMM. Public cloud, fabric management, provisioning and a lot of other features need SCVMM 2012 SP1. Also management of VMware ESXi 5 hosts  is still missing in SCVMM 2012.

It gets worse: DPM 2012 part of System Center is not able to make a proper backup of the new Cluster Shared Volumes of Windows Server 2012. Microsoft made enhancements to CSV’s and offers the ability to make incremental backups of virtual disk files (VHD). Much like the Changed Blocking Tracking feature of vSphere this allows to only backup changed data blocks of the VHD file since the last full backup. Obvious advantages are shortened backup windows and less storage space.  Also the infamous redirected access during backup are gone.

Customers wanting to make the full out of Windows server 2012 Hyper-V have to wait till Microsoft releases SP1 for SC2012 DPM.

Microsoft promised attendees at Microsoft Management Summit Mid April 2o12 that they will release SC2012 SP1 at the same time as Windows Server 2012.

Other blogs picked up this as well:
Techtarget:  Hyper-V 3.0 tools won’t emerge until System Center 2012 SP1

vCritical.com : System Center 2012 “Ready Now”; More Lies Ahead

ThoughtsonOpsMgr   Windows 2012 is RTM! How about System Center 2012 and the Private Cloud?

Of course a private cloud using SC2012  can be built using Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V or VMware ESX or Citrix XenServer. Mind though that a cluster of Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V nodes cannot be upgraded to Windows Server 2012. You will need to create a new cluster.

In the meanwhile VMware has been busy developing a new release of vSphere. While VMware never speaks about future features of future releases it is very likely vSphere 5.1 will be announced and soon released at VMworld 2012 end of August. See my post and a TechTarget.com post with some rumoured new features.

As VMware  has both the hypervisor (ESXi) and the management layer (vCenter Server) delivered at once there is no wait for customers for additional tooling to complete the solution.

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About Marcel van den Berg
I am a technical consultant with a strong focus on server virtualization, desktop virtualization, cloud computing and business continuity/disaster recovery.

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