VMware Opens Cloud, Virtualization Marketplace

VMware is opening its Solution Exchange, an online marketplace that offers virtualization and cloud solutions, to help the company attract new customers and fend off competition from Red Hat, Microsoft and IBM.

VMware is joining a number of other virtualization and cloud vendors in trying to leverage online marketing muscle to expand its customer base, while offering new products to its partners and developers. On Jan. 25, VMware officially launched its Solution Exchange, an online virtualization and cloud marketplace that is designed to help customers, partners and developers locate and purchase VMware-certified products.

VMware's new marketplace follows closely on the heels of the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0 (RHEV 3.0) offering from Red Hat. VMware Solution Exchange shares many similarities with Red Hat's marketplace, and both offer copious amounts of information about each respective company's products and associated partner products.

Pitched as a new way for customers to find solutions for the public and private cloud, the VMware Solution Exchange offers a method for partners and developers to feature products that are part of the VMware ecosystem.

"We are offering our robust partner network a new and centralized marketplace to promote their solutions and directly connect with customers," Parag Patel, vice president of VMware's Global Strategic Alliances, wrote in a statement.

While the new market place will prove advantageous for VMware partners, one may question how IT customers will benefit.

From VMware's point of view, customers have as much to gain as VMware partners. "For customers, our goal is to empower them to quickly and easily find the resources they need to make purchasing decisions to accelerate their journey to the cloud," Patel said.

The launch of VMware's marketplace couldn't come at a better time, especially after VMware reported a 67 percent increase in profits for its latest quarter (please see VMware Reports 67 Percent Profit Increase). At this time, VMware is at the top of its market, and maintaining and growing market share should be in the company's top priorities. A marketplace that helps build out the VMware ecosystem, while encouraging cloud adoption, can only help the company to remain relevant in the burgeoning cloud market space.

VMware's adoption of a marketplace methodology will not only help the company promote its various cloud, virtualization and management products, but also help smooth the sales process for its customers and partners.

That will prove to be critical as the competition surrounding cloud products continues to grow. Microsoft, IBM and Hewlett-Packard are making significant investments in cloud ecosystem products and services and each are looking to put forward their own solutions matrix that focuses on alternative hypervisors.

In other words, offering customers an alternative to VMware's own x86-based hypervisor.

In addition to Red Hat, VMware is facing pressure from other vendors such as Citrix Systems and Oracle, which have either launched or are planning marketplace-style communities to promote the adoption of their virtualization and cloud computing platforms and ecosystems.

However, with VMware's name recognition, market share and robust partner community, it will prove to be a challenge for competitors to chip away at the company's market share. It will take more than just easy-to-use marketplaces to gain the upper hand.

VMware claims its partner community includes more than 2,000 companies that have built more than 3,500 applications and 6,000 infrastructure products for VMware's platforms. Ultimately, the Solution Exchange will allow customers and additional partners to more quickly find those VMware-certified products. It can be expected that VMware will unveil more Solution Exchange members during the company's Partner Exchange 2012 conference, which starts Feb. 13 in Las Vegas.