Data centre owners are under pressure to standardise on a single virtualisation technology – but, says Warren Olivier of Veeam Software, there are some advantages to having a mixed environment.“In the modern data centre, it’s applications that should drive decision making,” says Olivier, who is Veeam’s regional manager for Southern Africa.

“The only purpose of all that infrastructure, after all, is to deliver applications. So if one hypervisor is better suited to a particular application than another, or if a particular vendor only supports their application on their own hypervisor, as a CIO you’re probably going to end up with a mixed environment whether you want it or not.

“The major question to ask is: What’s the best tool for this specific job, at the best price?”

Olivier says CIOs should not shy away from running heterogeneous environments just to avoid complexity. “It’s true that a heterogeneous environment can be more complex to manage, but there are tools designed exactly to solve that management problem. A tool like Veeam ONE, which is part of the Veeam Availability Suite, is designed for heterogeneous environments and doesn’t discriminate between hypervisors.”

In fact, he adds, there can be advantages to mixing it up.

“With a mix of hypervisors you can get all the advantages of flexibility, as well a tight link between the application and the hypervisor. There are also performance benefits: Any tool that can do everything won’t do anything particularly well. So matching the hypervisor to the task will definitely improve performance. In a business critical environment, you need the highest level of functionality you can get.”

At the same time, he says, heterogeneous environments can deliver cost savings. “Once you stop trying for uniformity, you get more flexibility to custom fit your environment to your needs. For example, there’s no need to pay licence fees for a premium product when the standard version would do for your Tier 3 applications.

“Provided you have the right tools for the job,” concludes Olivier, “the management problem can be solved. You can enjoy all the benefits of virtualisation along with high availability, protection against data loss and low-risk deployment.”