Many of us in the IT industry recall the old adage  “you’ll never get fired for buying IBM” this held true for quite some time while IBM provided a comprehensive albeit expensive set of products that got the job done and provided the safe bet vendor selection. As the PC era took hold and the introduction of credible alternatives became available, the pendulum began to swing the other way. IT started being challenged about the “safe bet” choice and in many cases the assumption became if you were only buying IBM you were probably paying too much. This phenomena also translated into many purchasing processes that forced spec & price comparisons, in other cases it came about by users inside and outside of IT making departmental decisions to purchase PC’s and other IT solutions from alternative vendors.

Wind the clock forward to today’s situation in the server virtualization industry. The so called “safe bet” is to keep buying VMware regardless of the alternatives. And it’s probably true today, you won’t get fired just for buying VMware, however in today’s economic climate this may not be the best alternative for your company or for your career. No doubt, VMware does offer a comprehensive server virtualization solution that gets the job done, albeit at a premium cost. You can continue to build your experience and expertise solely on VMware and be recognized as the company’s “VMware guy/expert/fanboy/bigot/etc”. Or, you can expand your horizon and expertise by carving out some time to install and evaluate XenServer and Hyper-V. The great news is you can now test and even deploy in production without spending the companies money, only your time which is valuable but so is the experience. As you drill into the capabilities of each virtualization platform you can develop your own first hand knowledge of the features, capabilities, and limitations of each. Equipped with this information you can build your own pro’s and con’s list as well as cost comparisons.

So before your management asks you if you have considered the alternatives, or the finance department cuts your budget again, you can now proactively develop your own proposal for a virtualization solution that gets the job done and saves the company significant money. Even if the decision is to stay with the status-quo, chances are you will be recognized as someone that takes initiative and looks for new ways to benefit the company. If you do start to carve out some area’s to deploy XenServer or Hyper-V you will also be building your experience and resume as a “Virtualization guy/expert/guru/etc” that also knows how to save money. That has to be a good thing for your career in this economy.

Download XenServer for free here.