When it comes to operating systems, Microsoft Windows Server is the undisputed kingpin of South Africa’s enterprise data centres – and now it’s preparing to grab a greater market share of the market for hypervisors, the software that allows multiple systems to run from one host.
A bullish Johannes Kanis, Microsoft SA’s server and tools lead, says the company is looking to grow its presence in the realm of virtualised infrastructure with a significantly revamped Hyper-V on the back of the recent launch of Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012. IDC figures show Microsoft growing its Hyper-V market share 4.5% in the last quarter alone.
Kanis says that while the upcoming releases of Microsoft’s new Windows 8 and Windows Phone platforms have been hogging most of the headlines, the big news for technology executives and managers this year is Windows Server 2012 as local businesses move growing numbers of workloads into the cloud. Clients that have already bet their businesses on the new release include Europcar, Business Connexion, Gijima and Pamoja.
“With so many new features, this release has created massive opportunities for our customers and is a great platform to build and run modern applications on,” said Kanis.
According to a recent survey, Microsoft could just be its own biggest competition right now. Of IT managers surveyed in an online survey on myBroadband, more than half are running Windows Server 2008, while the rest were still on older versions of Windows Server, and a small percentage running Linux.
“The feedback we’re getting says Windows Server 2012 is the most impressive version of Windows seen to date, and we’re seeing a significant amount of interest as well as quite a few early adopters already in the local market already,” said Kanis. “Based on our local and international research, a high number of customers are planning to deploy Windows Server 2012 within the next 24 months as their Cloud platform.”
Hundreds of features have been changed or updated for Windows Server 2012, adding up to what Microsoft is referring to as the “Cloud platform or Cloud OS.” A look at Hyper-V’s new capacity specs back up Kanis’ claims that says Microsoft has the ability to allow hosting providers to deliver cloud infrastructure at lower cost. Over a range of parameters, from the maximum number of virtual CPUs per virtual machine (VM) to memory limits per VM to the maximum size of virtual disks, Hyper-V matches, or in most cases, exceeds its main competitor.
“People are buying our vision for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Azure as a platform that they can use long into the future as they go to the cloud on their terms. It offers one common experience that can handle everything from a small e-mail server for a startup business to large-scale private and Internet-scale public cloud deployments and virtualisation.”
Microsoft says one of the big advances in Windows Server 2012 is that it turns many previously advanced server and storage virtualisation features into commodities. Many of the survey participants say they are already advanced with regard to their virtualisation deployments: 62 percent use virtualisation for various workloads within their companies, citing flexibility, ease of management, cost-savings and smarter utilisation of existing resources as their key benefits.
Of these, only 38% of respondents are currently using management technology to offer fast, efficient and reliable IT services to the business.
When it comes to extending their company’s technology capabilities in the cloud, most respondents (48%) say they’re currently looking to a hosting service provider, with 28% looking to Windows Azure to build their cloud infrastructures. Kanis says Windows Server 2012 caters for all cloud options end-to-end: private, public as well as from hosting providers.