The real story behind VMworld 2010

A ton of product announcements -- plus a big marketing push around the private cloud -- added up to a major undercurrent of change in the virtualization industry

1 2 3 Page 3
Page 3 of 3

VMware's foray into cloud automation with vCloud Director is more of the same -- a large number of small VMware partners in this space will now be competing with VMware's products. Some have more mature products than VMware, but few can vie with VMware's development capital and marketing reach. And as VMware's features and product lines continue to cannibalize its partner offerings, customers will be increasingly leery about investing in third-party products.

Complexity on top of complexity

If you want to boil down what VMware does in one word, it's "abstraction." The hypervisor abstracts the hardware from the operating system, allowing it to operate in the same way no matter what hardware it's on. VMware vCenter abstracts the management of individual hypervisors so that you see the entire data center as a single pool of resources. vCloud Director abstracts the management of individual hardware-based data centers so that it's no longer particularly important where your applications are running. These abstractions are all excellent -- they give IT a huge degree of flexibility and dexterity.

But they also introduce complexity. Each of these layers (and many others like them when you take offerings like site failover and virtual desktops into account) add another chunk of critical software infrastructure that must be maintained and troubleshot. Anyone imagining that private clouds might lead to a huge reduction in demand for IT talent is mistaken. Building these clouds and making them work the way they must in order to deliver on their promise will require a ton of effort.

There's no business like show business

This is the fifth VMworld I've attended and it has been the most entertaining by far. At previous VMworlds, VMware and its partners seemed to announce their products in a vacuum; this time, they all spoke the same language and stayed on message. VMware has made the transition from simply holding a big market share to being a true industry leader. Over the next five years, as VMware's competitors catch up, it will be interesting to see whether the company can stay balanced on the pedestal it has erected for itself.

This article, "The real story behind VMworld 2010," originally appeared at Read more of Matt Prigge's Information Overload blog and follow the latest developments in virtualization at

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 3 Page 3
Page 3 of 3