Opinion: Microsoft, Red Hat, Citrix, Novell and now Oracle are all offering free or open-source virtualization of one sort or another. Can VMware survive?
Today, VMware has about 80 percent of the virtualization market. By 2011, I
think it may be lucky to have 8 percent of the market.
I believe that because everyone and their brother are now offering
free or open-source virtualization of one kind or another. From
the open-source world, youve got open-source software virtualization
programs such as Xen OpenVZ
and UML (User Mode
) all coming on like gangbusters. And we all know what a
little open-source operating system called Linux did to rival Unix/BSD
operating system vendors, dont we?
That would be bad enough for VMware, but theres more. Theres a lot
more competition coming. Microsoft, after blowing hot and cold on
virtualization, has desired virtualization as an essential part of its
future. Three of the Server 2008
line will include its Hyper-V hypervisor
, open-source Xens father company. Simon
Crosby, a XenSource co-founder and now Citrixs CTO of virtualization
and management, is more than ready to
take on XenSource
. In one of Citrixs first virtualization deals,
will be embedding the Citrix XenServer
software suite across its
PowerEdge server line.
Meanwhile, Red Hat has made virtualization
the centerpiece of its latest Linux release: RHEL
Enterprise Linux) 5.1. Red Hat has also made it possible to use its
management and provisioning program RHN (Red Hat
Network) the master control for RHEL
no matter where its running.
Real hardware, virtual machine or somewhere on the Internet cloud,
its all the same for administrators using RHN.
Last, but by no means least, Oracle, which uses RHEL as the
basis for its Unbreakable Linux
, has now announced its own version
of RHELs Xen-based virtualization: Oracle
. You can use it for free, or you pay for support if your IT
staff needs help with it.
What does VMware plan to do about all this? Well, one thing is to add
that use virtualization to help customers manage their
infrastructure more effectively. Thats a nice idea, but I think its
too little, too late.
Microsoft, Red Hat and Oracle are already baking virtualization
infrastructure management, deployment, and all that jazz into their
operating systems and applications. Where will VMware find any room
for its offerings?
I honestly dont think theyll be able to find a home for their
products within a few years. VMware could take a page from Xen and try
the open-source route, but thats not VMwares way. Or, more to the
point, its not its business plan.
I know people have suggested in the past that VMware should give the
open-source approach a try, but those requests fell on deaf ears. Now,
I dont think VMware, even if it were inclined to change its business
model, is going to have the time to switch around.
When youve got so many powerful opponents moving in, and with so many
of them offering their virtualization packages for free or already
incorporated into their main products, I just cant see any company
surviving the competition. Even one, like VMware, that has for years
completely owned its market.
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