Gartner Research

Decision Point for Single-Hypervisor or Multihypervisor x86 Server Virtualization Architecture

Published: 19 December 2013

ID: G00257865

Analyst(s): Alan Waite


Many choices exist in x86 server virtualization platforms, with options such as Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, Red Hat RHEV, VMware vSphere, and open-source Xen and KVM. This document helps organizations identify whether a multihypervisor strategy is appropriate for their environment.

Table Of Contents

Decision Context

  • Business Scenario
  • Architectural Context
  • Related Decisions

Evaluation Criteria

  • Requirements and Constraints
    • Cost Savings — Budgetary Constraints
    • Hypervisor-Unique Features/Capabilities and Management
    • Infrastructure (Storage and Network) Architecture or Dependency
    • DR and Backup Environment — Data Protection
    • Public, Private and Hybrid Cloud Platform
  • Principles


  • Single Hypervisor Only
  • Single Hypervisor Recommended
  • Multihypervisor Can Be Used but Not Recommended
  • Multihypervisor Recommended

Future Developments

  • Cross-Platform Hypervisor Management
  • Single Point of Data Protection Management
  • Hypervisor-Independent Public and Hybrid Cloud Standards
  • Continued Emergence of Web-Scale Applications

Decision Tool

Decision Justification

  • Cost Savings
    • Q1. Requirement to Provide Capex Savings on Infrastructure Costs
    • Q2. Political or Senior Management Requirement to Avoid Vendor Lock-In
    • Q3. Requirement to Simplify and Provide Opex Savings
  • Organizational Structure
    • Q4. Different Hypervisors Will Be Supported by Separate IT Organizational Management
    • Q5. Existing IT Staff Skills in Managing All Required Hypervisors
    • Q6. Small Branch Office, Remote Sites or Separate IT Silos Have Different Functional Requirements/SLA to Data Center (Tiering)
  • Hypervisor Features/Capabilities
    • Q7. Requirement for Additional Hypervisor in Integrated Vertical Stack (e.g., Oracle)
    • Q8. Requirement for Additional Hypervisor to Support SHVDs
    • Q9. Reliance on Vendor-Specific Toolsets (e.g., Microsoft Systems Center and VMware SRM)
    • Q10. Operational Software Compatibility (Hypervisor-Centric Agents or Software)
    • Q11. Existing Infrastructure Supports All Planned Hypervisors
    • Q12. Management Tools Support All Planned Hypervisors
  • DR and Backup Environment
    • Q13. Centralized DR and VM mobility requirements
    • Q14. Existing Backup Tools and Processes Support All Planned Hypervisors
  • Cloud Platform
    • Q15. Cloud Platform Support for All Planned Hypervisors

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