Storage Vendors Get Psyched for Hyper-V

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Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) hopes to chip away at VMware’s (NYSE: VMW) virtualization dominance with a little help from storage vendors.

Double-Take Software (NASDAQ: DBTK) and NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) were among the companies announcing support for Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization offering this week.

At Tech-Ed Pro, held in Florida this week, Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft’s server and tools business, discussed the software giant’s virtual ambitions.

According to Muglia, virtualization software vendors can now test and validate their products to run on Windows Server 2008 and previous editions of Windows Server. Windows Server 2008 will include Hyper-V when it is released this fall.

Muglia announced that Microsoft is introducing four new virtualization certifications. The company will also unveil Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 release candidate one (RC1) this month, and the Forefront line of security products will support virtualization.

Double-Take will release an edition of its replication and failover product for Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V that will let IT administrators continuously replicate and failover virtual machines (VMs) between Hyper-V hosts for disaster recovery, known as virtual-to-virtual (V2V) recovery.

Double-Take for Hyper-V targets “customers who don’t have the expertise or the budget, so they don’t have to install a Microsoft cluster and use the built-in QuickMigration feature for replication,” said Bob Roudebush, the company’s director of solutions engineering.

Double-Take has a large number of Windows installations among its 12,000 customers because it focuses on SMBs, so the company’s products fill a niche otherwise wide open to VMware, which it also supports.

Double-Take for Hyper-V will also let system administrators replicate VMs between hosts whether they are in the same physical location or not, and save money because it does not require shared storage between two nodes, such as a SAN; instead, it effectively creates a virtual RAIDdisk by putting data on both nodes and replicating between them.

Double-Take’s products will be available “around the time Microsoft plans on releasing Hyper-V, in the August/September time frame,” Roudebush said.

The company plans to add support for Citrix’s XenServer hypervisor later, said Julie Geer, Citrix’s (NASDAQ: CTXS) senior manager for product public relations.

Also this week, NetApp said its SnapManager 5.0 for Exchange Server, Single Mailbox Recovery 5.0 and SnapManager 5.0 for SQL Server are all available now and compatible with Hyper-V, and Neverfail said its availability and recovery solutions are being tested with Hyper-V.

Jonathan Eunice, principal analyst at Illuminata (NASDAQ: ILMN), said VMware “is clearly the 600-pound gorilla in this space. All the vendors doing storage management, high availability, software licensing, Q&A management and dozens of other areas have worked hard to align with VMware.”

But Microsoft “is not just a big gorilla, it’s King Kong.” Further, it is willing to make a quality hypervisor widely available at almost free prices, Eunice said.

Many expect Hyper-V, whether stand-alone or built into Windows Server 2008, to “have substantial volumes and seriously rival VMware over the next five years,” Eunice added.

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