As today’s leading brand-name hypervisors continue to evolve and improve, adding new features and functionality, the cost of this invaluable technology is also rising. Clearly, the big-name commercially-available platforms offer significant value, providing advanced management, processes and tools, along with a high level of support that creates tremendous comfort for users. However, as organizations look to curb IT costs, exploring open-source hypervisors as an alternate model, it is important to be aware of key differences and limitations.
The features and functions you have come to know and love in your off-the-shelf hypervisor may simply not be available in an open-source platform. Open-source systems tend to be more immature, which may leave you with the prospect of having to write this missing capability yourself. This alone may change the cost/benefit equation.
Your current applications were probably built to run on the commercially-available hypervisor you are using, and as a result they are reliant on the features of that platform. In migrating to an open-source hypervisor, those same applications may not function as well on the new platform. This may compel you to rethink how you build your applications going forward, adding a measure of complexity to your operations.
Some databases are more Cloud-ready than others, making them better candidates for running on a hypervisor. When moving to an open-source platform, there may be application design choices that will impact data, thus raising risk implications. Database changes may be required, particularly as it relates to your Business Continuity Disaster Recovery (BCDR) strategy.
Moving to a new platform need not be an “all or nothing” proposition. Taking a hybrid approach where you maintain key critical applications on your commercially-available hypervisor, while moving the less critical applications to an open-source platform may make the most sense.
Migrating to an open-source hypervisor is a decision that should not be taken lightly, due to the many ramifications. Fortunately, there are tools available on the market today that can enable companies to take a “try it before you buy” approach. So, for example, you can move your applications to an open stack Cloud for a nominal fee, thus allowing you to test how things will run in the new environment, and more accurately assess the migration before making a big commitment.
The right tools will have already developed effective, defined methodologies for moving workloads from one Cloud to another. This can save you valuable time and manpower.