Dan's Take

VMware Acquires Immidio

Many VMware partners won't be happy; will customers?

Sumit Dhawan, Sr. VP and GM, Desktop Products, VMware Inc., discussed the acquisition of Immidio at the VMware Partner Exchange. Here's what Dhawan had to say about the acquisition:

We are excited to announce that VMware has acquired Immidio, a privately held company that offers a user environment management (UEM) solution. The Immidio UEM solution provides a consistent and dynamic desktop experience that is independent of operating system, device and location.

Demand for business mobility by end users is creating far-reaching implications for how mission-critical applications are delivered. Customers are increasingly searching for solutions that help simplify the management of end-users as they move from desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones –- due to the complexity of managing these assets in silos.

Immidio was a natural fit for VMware as its solution is:

  • Simple by Design: The Immidio Flex+ solution was designed with an eye toward simplicity. It is simple to adopt, scale, manage and operate. A lot of attention was given to ensure that no complexity was added and there was no compromise to key capabilities with its simplicity.
  • Enterprise-Grade and Customer-Proven: Customers worldwide have adopted the Immidio solution with the largest implementations being environments with more than 100,000 desktops. The solution supports virtual desktops, physical desktops and even cloud-based desktops.

As with other recent VMware announcements, it's clear that VMware is doing its best to extend its reach into every nook and cranny of its customers' complete end-to-end solutions.

A Crowded Field
There are at least 20 other suppliers offering products in the areas of end-user performance management, end-user experience management, application-performance management and end-user workspace management. Most of them were, and are, VMware partners. Some of them have been offering products for well over a decade. I suspect that this announcement was more than a bit upsetting to them.

If you examine the features offered by Immidio, which is now part of VMware, it's clear that you've seen them all before in the offerings of those other suppliers. Immidio doesn't appear to be offering capabilities that are better than -- or, in some cases, even equal to -- some of the competitive offerings.

The goal appears to make VMware integrated solutions easier to install and use than adopting and using a patchwork quilt of products and technology to address the same need. Another goal is to make sure that VMware enjoys additional revenue and profits.

Taking Shortcuts
It appears that VMware looks around, sees where others are making money (which shows either product deficiencies or product opportunities), then goes about the process of deciding whether to build something, partner with someone to address that market need, or acquire someone to gather intellectual property, technology and expertise. Each of these approaches have benefits. This time, an acquisition appeared to be the best choice.

A major supplier such as VMware certainly has the expertise to build an Immidio-like product. It can take 18 to 24 months to ramp up such a product, develop it, test it, document it and train VMware's field force and the field force of VMware's partners. By the time that effort was completed, competitors would've completed two or three product cycles, and the final VMware product would appear to be behind the times. VMware would only take this course when it's building something totally new and without outside competition.

Dan's Take: Easy Integration vs. Superior Capabilities
Rather than building a new product, suppliers such as VMware often reach out to partners who already have experience, technology, and an established market position to acquire access to that technology and those customers. This move can significantly reduce the time to market for a complete solution. The challenge with this approach is that it's difficult to keep products synchronized so that integration is painless for customers.

These partners also have relationships with VMware competitors. If VMware doesn't offer exactly what a given customer wants, the partner is happy to bring that competitor to the party. VMware, like all suppliers, wants all the attention (and revenues).

After a successful run with a partner, and when the total revenues exceed a certain point, the major supplier often acquires the partner. This allows very tight integration in the next version of the partner's technology. It also brings an infusion of product and sales expertise to the VMware party.

Will the Immido products be the best for your company? That's not at all clear. It would still be wise to evaluate tools offered by Dell, Moka5, Symantec, Quest and others before making a decision. As Immidio tools become tightly integrated into the VMware environment, the choice might become easier. I'd suggest that it's always wise to do your own homework and compare product capabilities with your own business and technical requirements.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.


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