Microsoft Dangles Free Windows Server 2016 Offer for VMware Shops

Considering Microsoft's Hyper-V? The company is offering free Windows Server 2016 to VMware customers that are pondering a switch.

Microsoft Windows Server, Hyper-V

Microsoft once again has VMware vSphere in its sights.

Despite Microsoft's high-profile entry into server virtualization back in 2008, VMware continues to dominate the space. Sure, Redmond has made some solid gains—Gartner called Microsoft "a mainstream contender for enterprise use" in its latest analysis of the market—but VMware remains the to-go vendor for organizations seeking to get the most from their server hardware investments.

In a renewed push just before the September launch of Windows Server 2016, which includes Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization technology, the software giant announced a new offer to entice current VMware vSphere customers. The Windows Server 2016 release is slated to take place during Microsoft's Ignite conference from Sept. 26-30 in Atlanta.

"From September 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017, customers who switch workloads from VMware to Hyper-V can get free Windows Server Datacenter licenses when buying Windows Server Datacenter + Software Assurance," announced Microsoft in an Aug. 24 blog post. Essentially, customers who take Microsoft up on its offer end up only paying for Software Assurance, the company's enterprise volume licensing and support program.

To illustrate the purported cost benefits of migrating to Hyper-V, Microsoft launched a total cost of ownership (TCO) tool to counter VMware's own TCO comparison tool, which the software maker claims is based on outdated information. According to Microsoft, a VMware environment with 100 virtualization hosts, each with two processors and eight cores per processor, stands to save nearly $1.3 million a year by making the switch to Hyper-V.

VMware, meanwhile, has been working on giving its customers—nearly all of the Fortune 100 use the company's tech—more reasons to stay put.

In February, the company inked a new deal with IBM to make it easier to deploy VMware-based clouds using IBM's growing public cloud infrastructure. "This partnership, an extension of our 14-year plus relationship with IBM, demonstrates a shared vision that will help enterprise customers more quickly and easily embrace the hybrid cloud," said VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger in a Feb. 22 announcement. "Our customers will be able to efficiently and securely deploy their proven software-defined solutions with sophisticated workload automation to take advantage of the flexibility and cost effectiveness of IBM Cloud."

VMware is also getting cozier with Docker, the application technology platform that has taken the enterprise application developer community by storm. This summer during DockerCon, VMware announced the Docker Volume Driver for vSphere.

"The Docker volume driver for vSphere enables the use of vSphere Storage, including virtual SAN and external storage, with Docker volume. Using this Docker volume driver for vSphere, customers can create and manage Docker persistent volumes on vSphere storage technologies, such as virtual SAN, VMFS [VMware virtual machine file system] and NFS [network file system]," Mike Paiko, director of product marketing for cloud-native apps at VMware, told eWEEK's Sean Michael Kerner on June 20.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...