Amazon gives thumbs up to Microsoft Hyper-V

Amazon.com is one of many organisations testing out Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualisation technology and liking what it has found so far.

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Amazon.com is one of many organisations testing out Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualisation technology and liking what it has found so far.

The company is running two virtual servers, one as a test bed and one in use, said Joe Stewart, hardware developer at Amazon.com, speaking at Microsoft’s launch event for the product.

Stewart said he had looked at virtualisation software from other providers including VMware, but has settled on Hyper-V in part because he has found that, generally, software works best when running on software made by the same vendor. Since Amazon.com relies heavily on Microsoft, Hyper V was likely to work the best, he said.

However, he also said that VMware seemed to be more memory-intensive than Hyper-V.

Ultimately, Stewart aims to reduce the number of servers at each Amazon.com location around the globe from between 10 to 50 servers down to one. "Even five would be a cost savings. The power [savings] alone would be awesome," he said.

Amazon.com hopes to move out of test mode into deployments next year, he said.

In a sign of a tough battle for the virtualisation market place, some end users who have embraced VMware are looking to Microsoft for desktop or application virtualisation. Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, the giant German printing press manufacturer rolled out VMware four years ago, though it is mostly a Microsoft and SAP shop, according to CIO Michael Neff.

But the company, which has a £3.4 billion pound turn over, reduced the number of applications on its employee desktops, scattered in 196 countries worldwide, to 500 from 21,000 using Microsoft's App-V.

About 100 of those apps are streamed directly from Heidelberger's servers in Germany using App-V and Systems Center, said Neff, while the rest are packages that are deployed and installed via Systems Center.

Heidelberger is "playing with" Windows 2008 and considering using Hyper-V for some future server virtualisation rollouts, Neff said. But the firm won't migrate existing VMware installations to Hyper-V unless it would produce 30 percent savings over three years, which is "very hard to show," he said.

Microsoft is among other companies, including Hewlett-Packard and Dell, making announcements in the run-up to VMware's annual conference, starting next week.