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VMWare Eats Microsoft's Lunch 231

Posted by Zonk
from the bully-boy dept.
feminazi writes "Jeff Boles attributes VMWare's dominance over Microsoft in the virtualization market to a combination of product depth and focus, but especially to the fact that 'VMWare is actually delivering Microsoft's product in the way that Microsoft should be delivering it.' The ease of GUI but with those enterprise-ready traits that Microsoft is still struggling with: application separation, and decent resource utilization."
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VMWare Eats Microsoft's Lunch

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  • by Cromac (610264) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @06:31PM (#15498348)
    Today VMWare is eating Microsofts lunch, it's easier to use and performs better. But discounting MS would be a tragic mistake, this wouldn't be the first field MS entered late only to dominate later on. With their size, cash and market if MS wants to own the VM market on Windows eventually they will.
    • Yeah I guess that is why hotmail just shits all over gmail :)
    • by wharlie (972709) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:38PM (#15499662)
      I think one of the reasons MS is not competitive with VMWare is because VMWare actually benefits MS.
      Since we introduced VMWare in our enterprise the number of MS virtual machines has skyrocketed.
      Before if someone wanted a new MS server we had to purchase HW to run it on which is expensive and time consuming, where talking weeks to order and install.
      Now we can provision a new MS virtual server in about 30 mins.
      Once upon a time we would have tried to consolidate apps on physical servers to conserve HW, now each app gets it own VM, no more associability probs.
      MS is getting paid for all these new virtual servers that would not have existed.
      I'd say that VMware is not eating MS but feeding MS
    • by steve buttgereit (644315) on Friday June 09, 2006 @01:53AM (#15500354) Homepage
      I once was hired to record Novell's "Brain Share" users conference back in the early 90s. One of the speakers actually said in one of the sessions that, (paraphrasing a bit) "We've reached a point where Microsoft has conceded the network server space to us just as we don't try to challenge them on the desktop." What the speaker was implying was that Novell and Microsoft had found a way to co-exist. He said it so convincingly I can't help to think to this day that the poor guy actually believed it... and that may well have been why Novell is where it's at today rather than the dominant postition they had at the time in PC networking.
  • by Wiseleo (15092) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @06:35PM (#15498376) Homepage
    VMWare is easier to use.

    Windows does not require reactivation when the image is opened in VMWare Server, Player, or Workstation. VPC images of demo configurations featuring pre-activated Windows that I get from Microsoft and attempt to run under Virtual Server require reactivation.

    VMWare Workstation has too many useful features.

    Therefore, I create my own demo environments in VMWare Server as my first choice and run VPC images in Virtual PC 2004 by necessity. Guess which environment is significantly faster? I have no incentive to use Virual Server 2005 R2.
    • Well, but if you try to run Windows in VMware, you can expect a result like this [wikipedia.org].

      (Just joking... VMware is pretty much the only way to reliably test an installer for win32. Plus, anything that would force someone to reactivate Windoze every single time a new debug build of your software's installer gets run can go to hell.)
  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Thursday June 08, 2006 @06:36PM (#15498387) Homepage Journal
    in a big way... little Russian upstart making a big entry into the space
    • Oh? How do you figure? I don't think any of us have lost any sleep over Parallels yet.
    • Parallels is not in the same league as VMware. The Parallels Workstation/Desktop product is similar to on old version of VMware workstation. More importantly Parallels dosen't have any products for servers. VMware has two powerfull server products and software to properly manage it all.
      • And it is too bad, really. I would kill for a good OS X server (PowerPC) virtualization product. I've got a bunch of G4 towers running specialized services that are mostly idle. I know Parallels has workstation for Intel Macs, but thats just not very useful.

        -matthew
    • I asked a VMWare Rep about if they had any plans to release VMWare for OSX and all he would say was that they were "in talks" with Apple. He implied there was potential hangups about Apple not wanting OSX to run in a VM.

      All of which sort of makes me wonder why Parallels didn't seem to need to have conversations with Apple about it. (Though I assume you can't run OSX in a Parallels VM either.)

      I half suspect the real issue is that VMWare is part of EMC now, and EMC flat doesn't give a shit about Apple.
  • Most of all (Score:2, Insightful)

    by goldaryn (834427)
    For TFSummary: "Microsoft is still struggling with: application separation, and decent resource utilization."

    And above all: security. Surely.
  • Solaris Support? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DAldredge (2353)
    I wish that EMC/VMware would hurry up and add Solaris 10 x86 host support.

    Would be rather nice to run VMWare under Solaris 10.
    • Re:Solaris Support? (Score:2, Informative)

      by dtbw (716889)
      ESX Version 3 support Solaris 10
      • Re:Solaris Support? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Zemplar (764598)
        Perhaps, but I think [and agree with] the OP that it would be nice to have Solaris x86 host support in VMware's free versions as well.
      • Re:Solaris Support? (Score:3, Informative)

        by 0racle (667029)
        He said host, not guest. You don't need a host OS with ESX, it is the host. Solaris x86 is supported as a guest in most (all?) VMware products.
        • Technically the only official SUPPORT for Solaris 10 will be under Virtual Infrastructure 3 (VI3 is the new name for ESX). That said, I run Solaris 10 just fine under VMWare Workstation 5.5 (even though it's reported as "experimental"). But we are definitely going to look into running Solaris 10 production under VI3.

          The best news for ESX owners (with Serivce and Support agreements) is that we can buy into VI3 Enterprise (all the cool automation features) for a cool $1000 per TWO CPU server. Darn, that's
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 08, 2006 @06:46PM (#15498458)
    For what it's worth Microsoft Virtual Server was originally developed by Connectix, not MS. Microsoft bought it.
  • by PenguinBoyDave (806137) <david.davidmeyer@org> on Thursday June 08, 2006 @06:46PM (#15498460)
    Microsoft never really had a chance...did they? VMware simply rocks and supports a lot of platforms. Mhy Microsoft felt Virtual Server was even necessary was beyond me. Even when they give away free sessions, VMware STILL beats them hands-down.

    I ask again, what were they thinking exactly?
    • If I had to guess, it's a new sort of semi-vaporware thing they do. Any tech that gets a bit of buzz, they're more or less compelled to announce "we'll be doing that to, in fact we've got a product in the pipeline already." Never mind that their product is too little and too late. Windows users get a cozy feeling from not having to deal with (what they perceive as) "fringe" companies like EMC.

      It started with firefox, as I remember it. They ignored it and figured it would go away, then had to shift gears j

    • by pnatural (59329)

      [W]hy Microsoft felt Virtual Server was even necessary was beyond me.

      They understand that someday they will have to ditch the entire spaghetti code base that is Windows(TM). By the time that they will seriously consider that, the commodity hardware of the day will be able to virtualize another OS with little or no (perceived) performance penalty. So they invest in this tech now, in the hopes of providing an upgrade path to (er, revenue stream from) their customers.

      Just my US$0.02.

      • "They understand that someday they will have to ditch the entire spaghetti code base that is Windows(TM)."

        I'm sure that MS's competitors (including OSS) look forward to that day. On the other hand, the idea of MS's formidable programmers writing brand-new code without the legacy of the 8088 PC platform and years of legacy applications to deal with should scare the crap out of their competitors. They've been fighting with their left hand for years.
        • Whilst it would be nice to be free of the 8086 legacy... i think you'll find that large portions of the totally CRAP code coming out of microsoft in recent years have nothing to do with legacy code, and lots to do with poor design/implementation of current code.

          These same coders starting from scratch? I reckon Windows 2000 would still be far more reliable.

        • Sorry, MS already has had a shot at rewriting everything from scratch, and that was Windows NT. It was OK for a while as a server O/S, even supporting multiple platform, until MS in their wisdom decided to make it do too many things (like games), and now we have WinXP Home edition. I bet that if Microsoft were redoing yet another New NT, they would fall on their own sword the same way they already have.

          That is, unless the culture at MS changes radically. The one that gives lip service to safety and security
    • IMHO MS bought VPC to offer their clients a way to continue running legacy NT servers AND upgrade to new servers (with the attached license). what else VPC runs also is not what MS cares much about. I don't see them even competing with VMWare..
  • by Dr. Zowie (109983) <slashdot@NOSPaM.deforest.org> on Thursday June 08, 2006 @06:53PM (#15498511)
    What we really want in the Microsoft OS, is access to some of the user tools and easy administration that comes with the GUI, while having the ability to control application separation, get better resource utilization, be hardware agnostic and stop rebuilding installs all the time...


    Oh, I get it. So what we really want from the Microsoft OS is Ubuntu.

    ...and manage the system as well as other enterprise OS's have in the past


    or, rather RHEL.
    • So what we really want from the Microsoft OS is Ubuntu.
      I....I honestly can't decide if Microsoft Ubuntu would be totally awesome, or cause all the trees in the forests to wither and die.

      Huh.
  • by coop247 (974899) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @06:55PM (#15498531)
    I am a VMWare junky, I have been using them for years and they continue to deliver quality software and upgrades are always jammed with new features.

    Unfortunately....

    Since MS gives Virtual Machine away to big Co.'s I am forced to use this horrible product at work. Once again MS finds a market, makes a far inferior product, then jams it down your throat by giving it away to their big customers.
    • by PriusFan (919374) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @07:02PM (#15498570)
      Disclaimer: I am a VMware employee. And I work in marketing. Please don't hurt me. Just wanted to mention that VMware Server is also free... and just as good as (better than?) MicroSoft Virtual Server.
      • by nharmon (97591) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @07:07PM (#15498608) Homepage
        I am not a VMware employee. The virtual machines you create in VMware Server have the advantage that they can be modified to run on ESX Server, and vice versa. Its kinda nice starting out with Vmware Server and then, when you budget gets approved, not have to reload those servers from scratch.
      • When is it going to go out of beta and get non expiring keys?
      • by x2A (858210) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @09:35PM (#15499384)
        I'm not a VMware employee. I don't work in marketing. Please hurt me (I kinda like it). I've just installed vmware server onto one of my dedicated servers to run Windows (a customer needs a windows server, be I'll be damned if I'm installing Windows directly onto hardware. Now if Windows spazzes out, I can vmware-console in, and recover). VMware's a rarity in software, it works better than expected. Definitely a fanboy here.

        • I'm not a VMware employee. I don't work in marketing. Please hurt me (I kinda like it).

          I agree. I've been testing VMWare programs since v1.x and ditto for MS Virtual Server. No contest between the two. If you want to do server consolidation, development testing, or in my case network security simulations. you can't beat VMWare. Much faster for all versions, whether workstation, GSX (Server now), or ESX as against Virtual Server and the interface is a definite thrill as against something that causes yo

      • What your parent means is that the corpies HAVE to use it since they are Enterprise licensed for a very good price (read $1m/year for unlimited use of all software products depending on size). I know what parent means, it is stuffed down your throat while other implementations are cheaper and better. I worked at a company like that before. I implemented an Apache server with Linux for parked domains and had to make Apache & Linux reply as they were IIS & W2k3 because M$ was going to revoke their lic
      • You work in marketting and you say things like and just as good as (better than?) MicroSoft Virtual Server

        And to make it even worse, you're saying this about a product that just wipes the floor with Virtual server. Be more positive man!
    • Since MS gives Virtual Machine away to big Co.'s I am forced to use this horrible product at work. Once again MS finds a market, makes a far inferior product, then jams it down your throat by giving it away to their big customers.

      So does VMWare - with VMWare Server. Although it's currently a Release Candidate version, and not yet available as "Production Ready" it seems to be fairly much identical to VMWare GSX Server, minus some of the management tools. Even with the missing tools, it appears to be bette

      • I am (and have been) using VMWare Server and it doesn't seem to have anything missing from GSX. It seems to have a little more than GSX for that matter, at least with the new C API..

        So far, every new version of Server has gotten better and better.. I am running it under Centos 4.3, Windows XP and Dapper and its been working great.
  • No details. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 08, 2006 @06:59PM (#15498549)
    The article offers no details about how or why VMWare is better than the Microsoft offering, and in fact, doesn't even mention the name of the MS offering. No details about the features offered by either product. No details about the history of either product. No details about the "product depth and focus" attributed to VMWare. "VMWare is doing this by really giving us what we need from the MS Windows OS, that Microsoft has never been able to deliver. VMWare is actually delivering Microsoft's product in the way that Microsoft should be delivering it." um, great, but, um, how is that? What is it that VM Ware delivers and how should Microsoft deliver it and how is VMWare delivering it? This is an op-ed piece, with an a-subtle antimicrosoft slant. Little more.
    • Re:No details. (Score:3, Informative)

      by steve_l (109732)
      good point

      1. VMWare runs on non windows x86 platforms (Unix, linux, soon macos).

      2. They have *excellent* support, even for vmware client. That is a rarity today. But if you have some problem with the virtual VGA driver on Vista when hosting on Suse/Redhat, you can file tickets with them and get someone to actually help you -even to phone up to check up on how well it worked.

      3. It's pretty fast, even on x86 kit without the new opcodes

      4. VMWare images are freely redistributable, they dont even ask for reactiv
  • by bunions (970377) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @07:32PM (#15498746)
    Just wanted to say that I was giddy with glee to find that this article was tagged 'lunch'
  • by rmckeethen (130580) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @07:34PM (#15498751)

    Over the last year or so, I've heard a lot of people in the industry talk about how VMware is fighting a losing battle against Microsoft in the server virtualization market. Really though, I don't see Microsoft beating VMware anytime soon. Here's why:

    First, I don't think anyone in their right mind is ever going to truely believe that Microsoft can be entirely agnostic when it comes to what OS you run in a virtualization layer. I just can't see the Linux crowd ever fully buying into the notion that Microsoft will support Linux as a virtual server with the same zealous dedication as they'll support virtualization of Windows servers. We've all seen too many instances in the past where Microsoft has teaked some application to take advantage of their inside knowledge of Windows, at the expense of some other vender's application or operating system. I can't imagine, given this track record, that Microsoft will continue to resist the temptation to shaft everyone else in the virtualization market, ensuring that Windows continues to dominate. This idea alone will seriously retard Microsoft's ability to compete with VMware. I doubt that anyone at VMware really gives a rat's ass what you run in ESX server; Microsoft, on the other hand, will never be able to make the same claim.

    Additionally, as I see it, there's also little advantage for Microsoft to expand the number of operating systems they support under their own virtualization layer. Every time they add support for an additional OS running in the virtualization layer, it gives their current customers more choices to run some other operating system that *isn't* Windows. Sooner or later, someone on the Windows server sales team is going to figure that out, potentially putting preasure on the virtualization team to do a half-assed job with anything that doesn't sport a Microsoft logo. Ultimately, I predict that this is going to ensure that Microsoft's virtual server offerings will be the most limited in the market. VMware, of course, won't be bound by the same demands. Every time they expand support for additional operating systems, it makes their products that much more attractive to buyers.

    Finally, I suspect that Microsoft will decide at some point in the future that what they really want to do is to build virtualization into the Windows operating system itself. This is the only strategy that makes sense in the long-term. It keeps customers buying Windows while answering the need for server consolidation/management that virtualization brings to the table. In the end, it will put distance between what Microsoft offers and what VMware offers, leaving the independant OS virtualization market squarely in the hands of VMware.

    • Actually I think for another reason... Linux makes a better host. When colocating servers running Windows, I will *only* do so with the Windows machine running virtually on a Linux host. How else can you fix things when it goes wrong? Trust the employees at the datacenter? No, you connect to the outer system and do things yourself.

  • by Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @07:52PM (#15498848)
    Come on guys. Seriously. "Lunch"? Tagging was supposed to use humans to actually process what's important. Somehow I can't believe that slashdotters have coded a broken AI to tag articles for them.

    "Lunch"? This article has anything to do with "lunch"? Give me a break.
    • Tagging was supposed to use humans to actually process what's important

      At the beginning, I thought tagging might have been useful, but 90% of the tags are simply words from the articles title or category, along with one or more of: [stupid | evil | smart | haha]. Frequently all four.

      Since this has come to pass, I have adjusted my attitude to find humor in the tagging system. Come on. Lunch. It's funny.

    • "This article has anything to do with "lunch"? Give me a break"

      what... like... a lunch break?

      (it's 4am!)

  • by blackest_k (761565) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @08:19PM (#15498984) Homepage Journal
    I like VMware I really do,
    It's letting me get rid of windows as my primary OS, instead now I can use ubuntu as default and only run windows when I haven't a convenient alternative.

    Maybe some of the VMware people reading here could answer a few questions?

    1) any plans to make a .deb installation package instead of tar.gz or rpm (admittedly tar.gz works ok in ubuntu I just wonder what its done to my package management).

    2)Are there any plans to improve support for OSX in a virtual machine, (graphically it's a bit sluggish compared to native on the same hardware) on the otherhand adding a network controller to the VM as NAT gave network access to OSX as a wired network card (even though it was wireless in reality :)

    3) any chance of VMware workstation being made freely available for a single vm or some other limited use.
    I wouldn't want to see VMware cut its own throat but it seems the money for them is in commercial servers not an individual trying to break thier windows habit.

    4)which is quicker windows in a vm hosted on windows or windows in a vm hosted on linux?

    ubuntu and VMware make a great combination, it's something that should be tried by any windows user, who wants to escape the limitations of windows but needs windows compatability (at least initially) although ubuntu and remote desktop is another working alternative (video is slow thou).

    Anyway to any of the VMWare team reading this you guys rock.

    • I loaded up puppy linux the other day and it only consumed 140K or RAM. I was thinking that it might be good run puppy as a host to VMware and run all your OSes inside VMware.
    • ObDisc: I work for VMware, but I don't speak for them in any way, shape, or form. This is a highly unofficial reply.

      1) Couldn't get an answer for any .deb plans, but the Player is packaged for Debian (Multiverse).

      2) No plans that I know of. I believe the Apple EULA for OS X requires it to be installed on Mac hardware.

      3) That would be the purpose of VMware Player. You might also check out VMware Server, which is more versatile.

      4) The latter, Windows hosted on Linux.
      • Bleagh. Should've previewed. Of course, I meant Ubuntu (Multiverse) in #1.
      • ObDisc: I work for VMware, but I don't speak for them in any way, shape, or form. This is a highly unofficial reply.

        Keep up the good work. I finally convinced the boss I would be more productive if I didn't have to spend three minutes rebooting into Windows/Linux (I'm a embedded Wince/Linux programmer). I went down to CompUSA to purchase a copy of VMWare and its not on the shelf anymore. It used to be.

        The brain dead associate (called employee in more traditional times), had no idea why they didn't have VM
    • For making sure the vmware .tgz doesn't screw with the package management use checkinstall - at the very least you'll have the record of what files are installed and you can do a clean uninstall.

      sudo apt-get install checkinstall

      cd vmware
      checkinstall install
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 08, 2006 @08:25PM (#15499021)
    While VMware GSX Server is certainly a better product, it's ESX Server (with its addons) that is in a completely different league to anything Microsoft offers. Further, now that VMware has released VM Infrastructure 3, Microsoft just got smacked down. Hard. Each VM can now use up to 4 CPUs and 16GB RAM. As far as performance goes, on average, you will get 6-8 VMs running per physical CPU core, although you should outfit each server with twice as much RAM as you expect it's workload to require.

    Most techs are now familiar with basic single-box virtualisation, but aren't familiar with the virtual infrastructure offerings. It's here that VMware is truly revolutionising the commodity x86 server space. Without the VM Infrastructure concept, but using virtualisation you're effectively trading off reliability for utilisation efficiency. With VM Infrastructure you're gaining both. Let me explain.

    Picture this: hundreds of VMs scattered around dozens of physical servers. Under VM Infrastructure, any time a given server's resources start to struggle with the load, the VMware software automatically and seamlessly migrates some of the VMs to another server that has resources to spare. When local server diagnostics identify that a critical piece of hardware is on the way out, all VMs are automatically and seamlessly shifted to other available servers. All this while allowing you to specify per-server policies on minimum and maximum resources (CPUs, CPU time, RAM, storage capacity, disk I/O, network bandwidth, network I/O, etc). This is possible because VMs interact with virtual hardware devices rather than the underlying hardware. This means you can most a running instance from one physical server to another and there are no hardware differences visible to the guest OS.

    Basically, you not only ensure that you don't have idle servers sitting around, but you actually increase your availability by mitigating hardware failures and levelling resources throughout your pool of servers when load for given VMs increases.

    This works by having all storage on a SAN. This means you don't have wasted disk sitting at individual servers. It also makes your storage subsystem extremely reliable and scalable while simultaneously amortising it's cost across multiple servers. The cost of storage goes down on a per-server basis while the reliability of your storage goes up. It also means your individual servers can have a smaller form-factor as you don't need any disk space on nodes save what's required to boot the virtualisation layer.

    Using VMs can make backups much, much cheaper to implement. VMs are just files waiting to be copied to media.

    If you don't think that's enough (it was for me!), think of how much easier and cheaper disaster recovery becomes. You just need to replicate SAN-to-SAN and your entire server pool is effectively mirrored offsite. In the event of disaster you can simply disable all non-critical VMs (e.g. DEV, TEST, UAT and low-priority PROD), so you don't need to mirror your (now smaller) server pool at the backup site, just enough to bring up the critical production services. In the event of a disaster you've always got the option of then buying additional servers to host non-critical VMs as time permits. Since it's a SAN that's required for storage, if you're not too concerned about non-critical VMs, you can simply keep them on a separate LUN to the critical ones and not replicate that. In the event of a disaster, you can order more disks, and in the meantime you save on SAN-to-SAN replication traffic costs and bandwidth.

    Finally, and this is a key selling point to infrastructure staff and customers alike, a SAN-based virtual infrastructure allows extremely rapid deployment of new servers. Let's say a project manager contacts the service desk with a request to provision two new environments (TEST and UAT) for a new development project, each with a webserver, an application server and a database server. The service desk sources the software licenses (either from a pool of spares or
  • by edunbar93 (141167) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @10:16PM (#15499556)
    When one company yoinks business right out from under another company's nose, then the latter company is losing.

    Unless it's Microsoft. That's not called "Eating Microsoft's lunch". That's called "doing Microsoft's research for them".
  • People do not seem to understand...

    Just as this article and all the anti-MS trolling in here demonstrates, people really just don't get it.

    VMWare is not a 'competitor' to MS in the traditional sense, in fact the two products have a vastly different target base and vastly different lineage.

    The MS technology is this, a way for Server Administrators to consolidate servers and outdated OS and technology on to new hardware. Specifically MS's newer Server technologies. PERIOD.

    VMWare has a vastly different Market
    • Actually what you don't seem to understand is support leggacy proucts and consolidation that's been one of the big selling point for VMware for longer than MS has had their product out. They even have been selling a product specifically for that process to make it dead simple (P2V) where you pop in a cd and it will take an old box and pull it into vmware. MS deffinetly doesn't win this market, they are later to this market than VMware is, their product is worse than VMware and VMware goes beyond just supporting legacy/consolidation to test, dev, DR, etc. and VMware still smokes MS virtual server on performance on *ALL* items (network, cpu, memory and disk).

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