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VMware Strikes Back

My blog item yesterday quoting Citrix's Simon Crosby brought a quick response from a VMware employee. The e-mailer wanted to remain anonymous, but I can tell you a few things about him: He's been with VMware for more than three years and "has extensive experience in large scale data centers running production VMware environments including many from the Fortune 100." Note: I have not edited his comments; they appear as he sent them to me.

First, he addresses the new licensing model for XenServer and related products, which is now per-server rather than per-socket.

"What I find ironic about the Citrix marketing and Simon's constant diatribes, is that their products are not backed by any significant adoption and thus are constantly using price as a way to make their point. If price is their only competitive edge, there is little room for growth. Low end will not carry Citrix/Xen to the next level in my humble opinion. They must innovate. A business model which is dictated by bargains and giving their product away is surely not to succeed."

He also takes aim at Crosby's assertion that ESX 3i, VMware's embedded hypervisor, is a "disaster".

"Virtualization customers know where to put their money. The fact about Citrix's product is that while it is certainly up and coming, they will always be two steps behind. It's interesting to watch them criticize VMware's direction yet copy our solutions the very next day. 3i is a perfect example. It is not a disaster at all, to say it is a disaster is to claim VI3 itself is a disaster as it's the same code base without a console OS and it's inherited problems. They do not want to admit that where VMware is going is the correct path because the[y] are unprepared to detach from the operating system."

My e-mailer also takes on questions about the price of VMware solutions, and says Crosby should choose his friends carefully.

"Simon should spend his effort improving his product and allying himself with VMware. Because of his lust for hating VMware, he ended up partnering with Microsoft who is a direct competitor for SMB's which is the only hope for both MS and XenSource. In effect, they are partnering to compete directly for the same market, this is very strange. Meanwhile virtualization customers are laughing at this because those who are "in the know" do not care about price because VI3 pays for itself upon implementation anyway at the very minimum. In the end, the minor cost savings are irrelevant compared to the advantages. One can argue that VMware is cheaper besides all of the marketing going on by the competition. You get a lot for your money with VMware, and have the option of spending very little as well. The pricing scales quite well. Consolidation rates with VMware far exceed the competition anyway."

He adds this final parting shot at Crosby:

"I wish Simon luck. He's going to need it if he continues to step on VMware who his target market currently adores."

The issue of VMware pricing is very significant in the industry today. There is no doubt that the upfront costs for ESX Server and VI3, the infrastructure product, are much higher than the competition -- note that you can download the Xen open source hypervisor absolutely free, and Microsoft's Hyper-V is just $28 for a stand-alone version (and free with 64-bit Windows Server 2008). But VMware, and some customers I've talked to, believe it's a good investment that ends up saving money.

Of course, users of XenServer and other competitors would make the same claims, with a much smaller upfront investment. The question, then, becomes if VMware products offer such superior advantages that it ultimately ends up being a better value. I'd love to hear from those of you who are using VMware and another solution like Virtual Iron, Microsoft, Virtuozzo from Parallels, or some flavor of Xen. What do you like and why?

Posted by Keith Ward on 04/01/2008 at 12:48 PM


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