VMware has enjoyed having the virtualization market to itself, with only peripheral competition from Citrix and others. As I’ve talked about virtualization and security it also seemed like the only story in town was VMware; Microsoft has been silent and Citrix has taken a more passive stance.
With Microsoft’s blog on Hyper-V posted June 25, it appears that they’re now ready to start putting the squeeze on VMware by announcing their intentions to go into areas underserved by VMware, including eventually entering the data center. The impact of their announced intentions is a signal to VMware’s customers and prospects that Microsoft is on the way.
This officially puts VMware on notice that any delays in penetrating data centers with virtualization will increase the prospects of Microsoft competition, and possibly force lower margins and longer sales cycles. Microsoft has a formidable presence. They won’t have to have a better product. If they deliver a more secure approach to virtualization it could also spell trouble for VMware, as that is currently a very significant barrier to the full benefit of virtualization.
Virtualization-lite, or the adoption of hypervisor VLANs with restricted movement and flexibility, will not be enough to hold back Microsoft. VMware will need to get VMsafe members to step up and deliver elegant hypervisor visibility and enforcement. If they can heighten the VMware business case by unleashing the full power of virtualization in the data center they will have a substantial head start; and that could be Microsoft’s Achilles heel.
Disclosure: I’m the VP Marketing for Blue Lane Technologies, a winner of the 2007 InfoWorld Technology of the Year for security, Best of Interop 2007 in security and the AO 100 Top Private Company award for 2006 and 2007. Blue Lane is also a 2007 Best of VMworld Finalist in data protection. I’ve been a marketing executive at Juniper Networks, Redline Networks, IntruVert Networks and ShoreTel. I’ve been an Always On blogger/columnist since 2004. My recently launched personal blog is: www.archimedius.net . My blog also appears at www.broaddev.com, John Furrier’s new 24 hour blogzine. These are all my opinions, and do not represent the opinions of employers, spouses, kids, etc. They also do not represent any stock recommendations of any kind.