VMware Zigs, then Zags

Today, VMware, as part of the larger “Pivotal” unveil, announced yet another zig in their already zig-zaggy set of strategy meets tactics meets marketing buzzwords.  Today’s news of a vague “hybrid cloud” future is just another example of how IT vendors have been rearranging the furniture to more effectively deliver what they already have on the shelf. First it was cloudwashing their virtualization solution, which begat the “vTax.”  Then a “Software defined datacenter.”  There is the puzzling Cloudfoundry (this one or this one?).  Recently the virt vendor has been tossing around big data as a problem area they can solve.  And it hasn’t been clear whether a public cloud is part of a roadmap or not -- today, it would seem so through the hodgepodge of bundling and betas that customers can decode – unlike, say, last week

It is no secret that IT departments are facing a complex set of decisions. The financial crisis forced IT worldwide to hold off on significant infrastructure investments.  Now, whether purse strings are loosening or not, new business models in our always-on world, the ferocious growth of mobile devices, and the resulting cascade of data apply pressure to adapt like never before.   In IT, everything is changing:  storage, networking, the importance of data, even the way applications are built.  

Enter the new buzzwords and hot topics.  When new memes get tossed around, vendors want to stay in the conversation.  That’s understandable.  But if I were a VMware customer, I’d be asking myself – do I really want to place my bets – and the future of my IT department -- on a vendor that can’t decide what it wants to be as the cloud grows up?

Customers have other options.  Like the Cloud OS from Microsoft. We’ve made steady progress against our goal of helping companies “cloud optimize” their businesses.

Experience versus Experiments

Since we run massive public cloud services (Xbox Live, Hotmail/Outlook.com, Office 365, Bing), Microsoft has first-hand experience in what it takes to operate a cloud.  In the 10 minutes or so that it takes to read this blog, we’ve served up 5 million Windows Azure Active Directory logins and 250,000 call minutes on Skype.  This month Bing handled almost 6 billion queries and -- based on my own experience at home –the lives of countless legions of teenagers hang in the balance on Xbox Live every evening immediately after dinner is over and homework is complete.   Does VMware – really, a self-professed virtualization company –  know and have what it takes to deliver real cloud services or to help with data explosion?

Why does this matter?  Everything we learn from running enormous datacenters and online services at global scale goes into the software our customers buy.  That’s what takes our Cloud OS vision into specific cloud deployments you can start today.  

The Truth about Big Data

And our experience isn’t just with the underlying platform.  As part of the Cloud OS, we have a data solution trusted by more companies around the world than any other.  And big data?  We’re already there.  In reality it’s not about “big data,” but about big data, small data, any data, all of which is pointless if you spend all your time collecting the data and not enough of it getting the insights from the data.  The volume and velocity of data make it inconsumable unless you have the right tools.  When we talk about data, it’s the time to insight that makes for competitive advantage.

With Microsoft, you get one consistent platform for your infrastructure, applications and data. And you get to decide where you want to extend this platform to – any combination of your datacenter, your hosting service provider or a Microsoft datacenter running Windows Azure. This is not some distant vision or the mere relabeling of what’s sitting on our shelves – we are bringing this to life with features that customers (like Avanade and Munder Capital Management) are deploying today.

Don’t get dizzy watching the V-strategies roll.  I invite you to learn more about the unique advantages of the Cloud OS and what Microsoft can offer.  

Comments (9)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Amy Barzdukas nice article, Microsoft do seem to be doing extremely well in the cloud and have many good client facing services that do give it that much needed positive attention.

    The Cloud at this time is extremely expensive and for enterprise customers and those also in the research world, the cloud is unable to offer that level of flexibility yet.

    Marcos Nogueira – Not too sure where your comment on VMware "It doesn't bring nothing new to the corporate side", VMware is always pushing the boundaries, some of which Microsoft is still lagging behind.

    The problem here is Microsoft is ahead in the cloud, VMware have much to offer and in some cases more than what Microsoft can but whether VMware can sell that vision is another thing. Microsoft are ahead and have a nice profile to go alone with it with as Amy mentions Xbox Live, Outlook/Hotmail.

    One thing is for certain is that enterprise customers will still continue to prefer VMware over Microsoft at a non cloud level but only the future will tell how these big companies are able to influence and move customers from this platform to the cloud.

  2. Marcos Nogueira says:

    I still don't understand why company still pay huge amount of money for VMware! It doesn't bring nothing new to the corporate side, it doesn't integrate with nothing!

    Congrats for the post!

  3. Den says:

    "Microsoft offers a single, consistent operating platform for infrastructure, apps and data that can span your on-premises environment, Windows Azure, and your service provider."

    Don't get it – Azure for sure does not run on Hyper-V – what exactly is this consistent Operating Platform?

  4. -S- says:

    Going virtual in-house, the "right way" with hardware designed for that solution is wee bit expensive.  Too much of a solution for many companies that could manage with less.  Then there's the whole skill set needed to maintain it. Taking care of virtual servers, services, and clients is an added expense on top of the more basic skills still needed.   Of course you could out source the whole thing, ( and probably pay more / hr for their IT skills) .

    So what I see in this article is the most popular VM brand trying to repurpose and find new ways to sell their luxury car wiring and control systems .  I mean VMware doesn't make the car chassis (server hardware) and they don't make the car interior (server OS and software ).  You still need both of those somewhere.  And you don't need a Rolls Limo to get 100 people to a party if you have a VW Bug.

  5. Rick McKeen says:

    It is a good article Amy.

    I must say to the commenters that as a VMware channel partner they provide a flexibility I can't get elsewhere when dealing with specialized projects.

  6. John Garrott says:

    A Microsoft shill masquerading as a reviewer?  How about just putting out a straghtforward and honest advertisement instead of this sneaky bit of misdirection?

  7. Tony Simek says:

    Why is VMware thriving?  Easy – because no serious enterprise will entirely trust all of their in-house tech to just Microsoft.  Imagine what the pricing would look like if it were only Microsoft out there…

    Is VMware's marketing in need of help, sure, but that is fixable.

  8. Carlos Azevedo says:

    I believe when huge players (Unices or Microsoft) say VMware is kind of a "toy company".

    One way or the other it doesn't seem sufficiently enterprise-ready or mature-enough.

    My opinion is that big investments in VMware will turn out into big problems.


  9. FrankGia says:

    It's a good thing enterprise customers or customers in the corporate space in general don't care about xbox, hotmail or Bing then isn't it. VMware's 'vision' as you say is actually bridging on premise private cloud and public clouds provided by their hundreds of partners (for years) with the same software stack is far ahead of Microsoft. Trust me i've been using both. Their hybrid service is an additional tool they can use for customers to leverage the 'exact' same software/operations/management. A far better story for most for CIO's than how many skype calls have been made.

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