First, let's look at the IBM announcement on virtual datacenter management.
Is IBM seeking relevance in the fast moving virtualization space? Last week's announcement seems to point to this, but I would argue that to some degree, IBM already has some relevance. After all, virtualization on the mainframe has been around for something like 40 years.
Maybe IBM wants to leverage that history to build some credibility in the x86 server market. Fair enough. Is last week's announcement an attempt by IBM to protect its Tivoli flank against VMWare Virtual Center?
If the answer is yes, this jibes with the notion that core virtualization will become a de facto technology in the datacenter and what really matters to customers is how virtual datacenters are managed.
This is something that SWsoft has been keenly aware of for some time and was the focus of our August 2006 announcement that Version 4.0 of our Virtuozzo software, due early in 2007, will include tools to manage different virtualization technologies in addition to our own. In fact, our multi-vendor management of virtualization goes beyond what IBM is offering since we not only cover hardware-based virtualization such as VMWare and Xen but also OS-based virtualization such as Virtuozzo. In addition, we will extend beyond management to datacenter automation to deliver the broadest range of performance, flexibility and value to our customers, across the entire virtual infrastructure.
Now, to the Microsoft/Novell announcement.
Call me biased, but since I am in the business of virtualization technology, I tend to look at news from the IT world with that perspective. Last week's announcement about Microsoft and Novell partnering is no exception.
Here is my take:
First, I’m happy to report that I am not alone looking at this announcement from this perspective. IDC analyst Vernon Turner says that "There are several key pillars to this announcement, including interoperability initiatives supporting virtualization, the interoperability of system management surrounding virtual servers…"
Microsoft is looking for partners to help them deal with the fact that in an increasingly heterogeneous world, going it alone is not sustainable. We agree. In fact, our own history in the service provider market with Microsoft bears this out. A few years ago, Microsoft had very small market share in the service provider/hosting market. They were completely against heterogeneous tools.
However, as always, Microsoft was able to relatively quickly turn around and partner with SWsoft to provide products and solutions for Windows for hosting customers, which has been a big success for both of us.
Further, from where I sit, there are two x86 operating systems - Windows and Linux. I might argue that virtualization is becoming a third operating environment. Or, you could say that virtualization and the OS are becoming indistinguishable. That software layer - however it is defined - will be critical to managing tomorrow's virtual infrastructure. And if VMWare is the dominant player, then Microsoft needs to forge relationships that would help it compete in the virtual datacenter.
SWsoft and Microsoft have been working very closely on virtualization, which has proved to be a very viable competitive option to incumbent VMWare, and which we like to think as the next generation of server virtualization. In fact, operating system-level virtualization technology is a perfect complement to Microsoft in its quest to compete in the virtualization space. We welcome Microsoft's announcement. Watch this space for some exciting news in the near future that further proves this point.