Multi-hypervisor environments are inevitable within an organization, but they're a pain to manage, says Aneel Lakhani, a Gartner virtualization analyst. "Although we don't advise customers to run multiple hypervisors, fact of the matter is that they are," Lakhani says. Multi-hypervisor environments evolve from various business units having their own hypervisors or certain applications and workloads using separate hypervisors. Some Microsoft apps may be virtualized on Hyper-V while other apps are virtualized using VMware. This usually requires separate consoles, and each hypervisor has its own API. All this means increased costs and complexity, Lakhani says.
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HotLink goes beyond just being able to deploy resources across multiple hypervisors, which a variety of vendors do, says Bernd Harzog, analyst at the Virtualization Practice. HotLink allows for migration of VM images across disparate hypervisors, which Harzog says is a differentiator. Competitors in this area, including ServiceMesh, Virtustream, Embodics, ManageIQ and even DynamicOps, which VMware bought last year, provide this base-level of multi-hypervisor support.
HotLink works by having an agent sit within a cluster of whatever hypervisors are being managed, and converts them into vCenter-like images so they can be managed centrally. This allows vCenter to control not just VMware resources, but also Hyper-V, KVM or XenServer apps. HotLink Hybrid Express extends the capability to manage public cloud resources.
Harzog says this has wide applicability in the enterprise. Companies today tier their hypervisors; they may reserve expensive VMware licenses for high-performance and mission-critical virtualized applications, for example. Less expensive Hyper-V or free, open source KVM hypervisors are used for ancillary functions or by individual business units within the enterprise.
Hotlink has various pricing options, including a free version of the Hotlink Supervisor, which supports smaller environments of 15 virtual machines or less across VMware and one other hypervisor. A standard version starts at $26,700.