Microsoft baits new vSphere-to-Hyper-V switch offer

Free Windows Server 2016 licences for all my virtual friends!

Microsoft is having another go at displacing vSphere.

Redmond's new offer means that if you make the move and prove it to Microsoft's satisfaction, you will “Receive free Windows Server Datacenter licenses with Software Assurance and pay only the cost of Software Assurance”.

On one level this is business as usual: vendors are always trying to pinch each other's customers with various offers.

VMware's usual response to Microsoft's virtualisation efforts has been to suggest its critics look at the scoreboard, where it beats Hyper-V by about four to one. That scoreline has persisted even with Hyper-V being just-about-a-giveaway and VMware repeatedly being criticised for high prices. Virtzilla remains confident its product is superior.

But this time around maybe Microsoft has a better shot. VMware has admitted that server virtualisation isn't a growth business any more and is gently slowing vSphere development. Indeed, The Register's virtualisation desk finds itself in the position of having to all-but-retract previous predictions that a new version of vSphere will debut at next week's VMworld. It may not even appear by the time Windows Server 2016 debuts in late September, at Microsoft's Ignite conference, bringing with it a major Hyper-V upgrade.

And then there's Microsoft's looming Azure Stack. At the time of writing (remebering that VMworld is next week) Virtzilla has a slightly messy hybrid cloud story thanks to the decision not to scale its own public cloud and instead rely on partners. That's not a great match for Microsoft's Azure Stack play of on-premises kit running the same code as Redmond's own cloud.

One thing Microsoft doesn't have is Dell's interest in VMware's success. Dell will of course be as agnostic as it needs to be to haul revenue through the door, but it and VMware have told the market that acquiring EMC will add a billion dollars to VMware's annual revenue over time. That scoreboard will tell us if this new Microsoft gambit was a game-changer. ®

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