The Million Hypervisor March

In a recent post on the Microsoft Virtualization Team Blog, Jeff Woolsey attempts to build a case for Microsoft Hyper-V adoption and reliability based on less-than-straightforward proclamations — explaining that there have been over 750,000 downloads of Hyper-V.  If he would have compared notes with David Greshler before writing the post he most likely would have claimed one million — that was the figure Greshler supplied at the recent Microsoft Management Summit:

Microsoft now has 23%!

There seems to be a problem with this highly-inflated claim;  the casual observer may even infer that over a million system administrators have downloaded and installed Hyper-V in order to run virtual machines.

Let me assure you that this is impossible, and here is why:

  • Windows Server 2008 shipped with the beta version of Hyper-V
  • Hyper-V is just another component of Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Update is used to automatically download updates for all Windows components
  • In July 2008, the RTM version of Hyper-V was made available on Windows Update
  • After installation, all Windows Server systems automatically download the Hyper-V update — whether they intend to ever run virtual machines or not
  • Hyper-V download count++

What’s that?  Hyper-V downloads occur whether or not a system is even being used as a hypervisor?

Yes!  Update 950050 is automatically downloaded to all Windows Server 2008 hosts — the standard Windows Update process.  Actually, the Hyper-V update is even downloaded to virtualized Windows systems (which are certainly not even capable of running Hyper-V):

Hyper-V RTM downloaded automatically

With that new understanding, you can decide for yourself whether or not it is honest to claim that there have been one million Hyper-V downloads, or if it is statistically significant to use that number to compute the reliability of Hyper-V (“.02%”).

Market Share

While we are on the topic, at the Microsoft Management Summit David Greshler also reminded us of the IDC Virtualization Tracker stats, crediting Microsoft with 23% of the market — which is by units, not revenue.  Please refer to the slide at the top of this post.

It’s interesting to see the label “Momentum” and the “now has” statement, both of which imply progress.

Last year IDC released market share numbers that caused quite a stir.  You can read all about it from a VMware perspective at Mike D’s blog, but to quickly summarize: IDC stated that in Q2 2008 Microsoft had 23% market share (when Hyper-V had been actually shipping for less than a week).  Here we are — quarters later — Microsoft has increased their share to… 23%.  That’s some momentum.

I find it ironic that the whole point of the Microsoft blog post referenced above is to provide “facts” and dispel alleged VMware FUD.  It’s safe to say that this battle is far from over.

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6 Responses to The Million Hypervisor March

  1. Bobbi Perrin says:

    Very interesting post Eric. I see how Microsoft ‘pads’ their numbers…. my answer is … ‘show me the money’!

    Show me revenue that strictly is coming from Hyper-V. Don’t count forced software update downloads or artificially count Hyper-V sales by stating that everyone who purchased Windows 2008 Server – are using Hyper-V because this just isn’t true.

    Hyper-V cannot even remotely compare to the blazing speeds, ease of installation and use, management capabilities, and the breadth and depth of the feature sets that the upcoming vSphere 4.0 possesses.

  2. Tony says:


    1) You are biased because you are developing software for VMware, and thus you want people to use it as opposed to Hyper-V.

    2) Less than 10% of people in the world drive luxury cars and care to have V8 6 liter engines… 90% of people drive cheap cars. They don’t need all that – they need cheap solution that is “good enough”.


    I agree that Microsoft marketing sucks because of constant BS like inflated numbers, fake polls, etc. However, I am not happy about VMware marketing either. I tired of the endless and baseless FUD VMware is pushing, like the latest story about Hyper-V BSOD.

    So if you want my unbiassed view, I personally think it will be fair to say that VMware and Microsoft marketing worth each other.

    Thank you for your blog, keep up the good job.

  3. Bobbi Perrin says:

    Hi Tony,

    To be accurate, I work for a company that integrates with all virtualization operating system technologies – Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware ESX Server, VMware Server, Parallels Virtuozzo, Citrix XenServer just to name a few.

    I get to install, configure and test Xsigo Systems Virtual I/O hardware / software solution against all the virtualization operating systems named above, not just VMware ESX Server.

    VMware ESX Server is still far ahead of the pack, however that does not mean that VMware does not face credible competition – IMHO Citrix XenServer has a viable competitive operating system and virtualization management solution.

    I get to beta test upcoming solutions as well and from what I have seen, vSphere 4.0 makes VMware ESX Server / vCenter Server features even better, more intuitive, manageable and stable.

    My father told me a long time ago that you get what you pay for. If you are only willing to spend the money necessary for a ‘cheap’ product or solution be prepared to get what you paid for. Quality solutions to me are not necessarily cheap but then again there *are free versions of VMware products that do what Hyper-V does…. ESXi and VMware Server to name a few….

  4. Eric Gray says:

    Bobbi, Tony: thank you both for reading and commenting.

    I think we can all agree that competition is good and let’s hope that it continues indefinitely. Look what happened to the desktop OS and business productivity suite markets when viable alternatives dried up.

  5. one of many says:

    Tony – What you don’t like Vmware FUD? Hmmm its funny when other companies start playing the MS marketing way…. MS has been spreading FUD for years about other companies competing in there space…. Think Novell, linux with TCO studies etc… What about the 10 myths about vmware vs hyper-v…. Oh yeah hyper-v does need live migration, our poll of users show they don’t use vmware vmotion during business hours… So its ok to have downtime at night. Yeah right… Now its like our next hyper-v product can do it.. Whats vmware talking about we don’t do live migration? …… Oh yeah thats right the next version isn’t released yet and still in beta..

  6. Pingback: Microsoft Virtualization still claiming one million Hyper-V downloads | VCritical

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