While the majority of businesses are running VMware's vSphere as their enterprise virtualization platform, a growing number of businesses are also simultaneously deploying Microsoft's Hyper-V. According to an IDC 2011 study. Hyper-V adoption grew 62 percent last year. Other research by Gartner predicted that Hyper-V would have 27 percent of the virtualization market by the end of 2012. More telling perhaps is the recent study by the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) that showed that 70 percent of organizations were already using multiple hypervisors. Without a doubt, this trend is going to continue to accelerate with the recent release of Windows Server 2012 and its significantly improved Hyper-V virtualization support. This increased adoption of Hyper-V doesn't necessarily mean that companies are changing from VMware to Hyper-V. What is often happening is that because Hyper-V is bundled with Windows Server 2008 and 2012, it can be very cost effective to use for remote offices, departments, and test scenarios.

Related: Is Hyper-V R2 considered as fast as VMware vSphere?

In some ways, the proliferation of multiple hypervisors simplifies IT's job because the hypervisor itself is becoming a commodity. You can pick the best or most cost effective hypervisor for the each given implementation scenario. However, the use of multiple hypervisors also introduces the problems of management. Each different hypervisor has its own management console. For Hyper-V, it's the Hyper-V Manager and for VMware, it's the vSphere Client. Each vendor also has a story about being able to manage other hypervisors. But guess what? You may not realize it, but in spite of cross management claims, neither Hyper-V Manager or vSphere Client is natively capable of managing the other vendor's hypervisor without some help.

Microsoft's Management Products

So how do you integrate the management of vSphere and Hyper-V? To get cross platform virtualization management, you need to look into each vendor's higher level management products. For Microsoft, this would be the System Center suite. Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) 2008 and 2012 are both capable of managing VMware vSphere (ESXi) servers via VMware's vCenter server. vCenter is required for this scenario to work. You point VMM to the vCenter server that's managing the ESXi servers and that will add those servers into the VMM management console. That will allow VMM to manage VMware servers, but those servers will still not be visible in the Hyper-V Manager. In addition, only the basic VMware management capability is available. For instance, there's no DRS support in VMM.

VMware Solutions

Likewise, from the VMware side, there are a couple of different ways that you can manage Hyper-V servers. First, the VMware vCloud Suite 5.1, which is designed to build and manage a cloud computing infrastructure, can directly manage Hyper-V servers. Perhaps more interesting, the VMware vCenter XVP Manager and Converter provides basic virtualization management capabilities for Hyper-V—it's a plug-in to the vSphere Client requiring vCenter 4.0 or above, the SCVMM 2008 Admin Console, or SCVMM 2008 R2 Admin Console—and supports all versions of Hyper-V. Here again, many of the advanced VMM management capabilities are not present. There are also several third party products that enable multiple hypervisor management. Two of these products that we have worked with in the past include Veeam's Veeam One and Solarwind's Virtualization Manager. There's a free edition of the Veeam One product and the Solarwind's product offers a 30-day free trail.

Related: Is there an easy way to convert a VMware virtual machine or template to a Hyper-V VM?