Randall Kennedy claims in his 08/11/2009 InfoWorld article that VMware is, "…a firm that has lost its confidence, its stride, and its mojo." He says that VMware looks, "like a middle-aged has-been going through the motions."
VMware's $420 million acquisition of SpringSource is hardly the type of bold move indicative of an organization that is, as Kennedy contends, "a market leader in decline." And while Microsoft, Citrix and Oracle are much older manufactures who fiercely compete against VMware with less expensive hypervisors, Gartner says VMware still dominates the industry with a 90% market share.
VMware's mojo appears very well intact judging by the 14,000 customers and partners who will inundate San Francisco later this month for only the sixth U.S. based VMworld. Compare this with the attendance of the eleventh U.S. based customer event of another great software company, Citrix Systems. Synergy 2009 had a record 3,069 attendees.
Kennedy's repeated insistence that that VMware has become complacent is remarkable in the face of its recent launch of vSphere, the largest announcement in the company's history. The development of vSphere encompassed over 3 million engineering hours during a 3 year period by over 1,000 engineers.
Although Kennedy contends that VMware lacks "real innovation", vSphere incorporates remarkable advances in compute, storage, network, security and management. But vSphere is much more than the sum of its 150+ new features – it fulfills the performance, reliability, management and security requirements to establish virtualization as the standard and the foundation of a 100% virtualized data center.
As expected of a dynamic industry leader, VMware continues to garner exceptional industry support. New products developed by well-known manufactures including Symantec, McAfee, Check Point, EMC, NetApp and many others integrate with vSphere's published security or storage APIs. The vSphere launch in Palo Alto was attended by a long list of industry luminaries including John Chambers who personally took the stage to affirm the commonalities of the Cisco and VMware virtualization visions.
Other than brief complaints about ACE and ThinApp, Kennedy's argument is based upon his belief that a leaked list of VMware Workstation 7 features shows a lack of "game-changing innovations". Even if true, it is ridiculous to extrapolate, as Kennedy does, supposed shortfalls in this sliver of VMware business to its dominating core products and corporate culture.
Kennedy maintains that VMware's response to competition is, "…retreating further into the ever-shrinking technical superiority niche currently occupied by VMotion and other virtualization esoterica". Esoterica? While VMware and Citrix already include it, Microsoft has long recognized the importance of live migration. By far the most anticipated feature of the October launch of Hyper-V R2, Microsoft's live migration innovation would be more impressive if VMware hadn't first introduced VMotion six years ago.