Take Five With Tom Fenton

Lessons from VMworld

What we learned and what VMware still has to do.

VMworld 2009 in San Francisco told us a lot about VMware as a company. Here's what we learned.

Take 1
VMware is scared. Scared of Microsoft, scared of Citrix and XenServer-and rightly so. These competitors continue to advance their products and, just as importantly, undercut VMware on price. VMware still has a technology lead and likely will for some time-its stuff is still the best-but if products from the "other guys" are good enough, and fit the budget better, it will be harder and harder to justify the cost of VMware. The first thing VMware needs to do is give away VMotion at the ESXi level. This will spur adoption of the product in the small to midsize business market that VMware wants so badly.

Take 2
VMware is heavily invested in desktop virtualization. The company has it exactly right when it says that a user's profile, applications and operating system need to follow the user anywhere, on any device. VMware View is poised to deliver on that promise-and soon. This emphasis will serve VMware well in the years to come because Virtual Desktop Infrastructure has a better chance of uptake in the next five years than cloud computing.

Take 3
Buying SpringSource, with its focus on application frameworks, was a great move. VMware talked up the acquisition a great deal at the show and is already showing how its technology will help institute the cloud-computing vision.

Take 4
Interest in virtualization is as strong as ever, and growing. Even though attendance was slightly down at the show-CEO Paul Maritz announced an attendance of about 12,500, down about 10 percent from last year's 14,000-the fact that it didn't tank big time, like so many other IT shows, demonstrates the vitality of the industry. People still desperately want to learn about this technology and where it's going next.

Take 5
Innovation in the market hasn't slacked. At least twice as many vendors showed products for both desktop virtualization and cloud computing as the vendors at last year's show did. That's just the beginning, too. Vendors are figuring out ways to stretch the boundaries of virtualization and discovering new ways to use the technology. Management tools are improving all the time. The VMsafe API is bringing great security innovations, and the coming vCloud API will drive the same kind of fresh thinking from start-ups and entrenched companies alike.

What's your take on VMware and its future prospects? E-mail me at kward@1105media.com.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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