VMware 2011: The good, the bad, and the cloudy

VMware may be the crowned server virtualization leader, but not everything went its way in 2011

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Unlike the vSphere 5 vRAM licensing change, this might be one of those "wait and see" things. Will per-VM licensing give users added flexibility or prove more complicated in the end? If you ask a virtual administrator how many processors they have under management, they can usually come fairly close in number since they typically have a good idea how many physical servers they have racked and stacked. But to know how many virtual machines they have on any given host or within their entire infrastructure -- something that is regularly in flux -- might prove more difficult. It may also prove equally difficult to plan future purchasing decisions. VMware is trying to make this process as simple as possible, but it will take some time to get used to and to work out the kinks. Folks rebelled against the vRAM tax but seem much quieter about what at times amounts to a "density tax."

Now, what about the cloudy?

Desktop virtualization: Is VMware keeping pace?

Unlike the server virtualization market, VMware is not the 800-pound gorilla in desktop virtualization, and it may not be used to this level of competition or the fact it doesn't have a strong, commanding technology lead compared to other providers.

VMware did finally get VMware View 5 with Persona Management (technology from the RTO acquisition) and improved PCoIP bandwidth utilization to market, but it took a very long time. And it still felt like it was missing a lot of the "wow factor" features announced at VMworld.

If VMware is going to dominate this market as it has done with server virtualization, the company needs to realize that server-hosted VDI is only one piece of the puzzle. Desktop virtualization is more strategic than that single-use case, and competitor products are already taking a much broader approach to the problem -- with actual products currently on the market.

The virtual desktop market still has a long road ahead with plenty of desktop environments left to be virtualized, so don't count out VMware just yet. But VMware needs to decide how invested it wants to be in this market.

VMware Mobile Virtualization Platform

The mobile platform exploded in 2011, killing off last year's technology darling, the netbook PC. So where are we with VMware's Mobile Virtualization Platform or MVP technology? When will employees in the enterprise receive the freedom and choice that we've been told about? Good questions.

I can still remember two years ago at VMworld when VMware announced this technology and showed a killer demo explaining how it and our mobile devices would make our lives easier. I could carry a single device for both personal and corporate usage. Despite the mobile platform's growth in the enterprise, VMware's MVP technology has yet to materialize. I'm still sold, but my Android device and I are circling in a holding pattern.

This article, "VMware 2011: The good, the bad and the cloudy," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization and cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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