Oracle's Virtualization Strategy Targets VMware

Oracle used the platform of an afternoon-long event to tout its virtualization technologies over those of rival VMware, demonstrating how virtualization remains an important part of IT vendors' overall strategy. VMware's moves into middleware and the cloud present a challenge to competitors.

Oracle seems determined to take the proverbial gloves off in its fight against VMware, hosting an Aug. 19 online event designed to demonstrate the differences between the two companies. Oracle's primary argument is that its virtualization products work in conjunction with a corporation's entire IT stack-"from the desktop to the datacenter," in the company's parlance-to more efficiently deliver applications and other software to users.

Oracle's offensive, paired with Microsoft executives' recent arguments against VMware at its Worldwide Partner Conference, highlights vendors' continued focus on virtualization as an essential part of IT infrastructure, particularly as more and more companies embrace both flexible computing models and the cloud.

"This is about the full stack of management," John Fowler, Oracle's executive vice president of Systems, said during the Aug. 19 event. "We incorporate and include all these technologies onto the platform."

Throughout the multi-hour session, other Oracle executives tried to highlight how their company's offerings, which include server, storage, middleware and desktop virtualization technology, eclipsed VMware's virtualization software products.

"There is no other company on the planet that has the complete breadth of virtualization technologies that Oracle has," Edward Screven, Oracle's chief corporate architect, also said during the event.
More importantly... we've put all these pieces together."

Oracle's aggression comes at a time when VMware, having made a name for itself in datacenter virtualization software, seems determined to not only take more territory as a middleware provider, but also leverage the cloud towards its own ends.

"We viewed [flagship product] vSphere as a sort of industrial architecture for IT," Raghu Raghuram, VMware's senior vice president and general manager of Virtualization and Cloud Platforms, told eWeek in a July interview. "We saw that IT has moved from mainframes to client/server and to the Web; cloud is the next thing. Now we're beginning Internet-scale deployments and starting to build clouds in the data center-private clouds. Just over the course of the last 12 months, we have seen this become a reality."

VMware has also focused more on the midrange and SMB (small- to midsize-business) market, likewise a target of Oracle and other traditionally enterprise-focused IT vendors.

Through a variety of acquisitions over the past few years, Oracle has been consolidating a variety of applications and technologies into its enterprise stack, part of a seemingly larger strategy to become the biggest IT systems vendor in the world. On June 14, for example, Oracle introduced Oracle Business Process Management Suite 11g, a component of Oracle Fusion Middleware that combines business process administration with collaboration tools on a single platform; the company touted the offering's combination of middleware platform and social networking as an industry first.