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Just catching up on my virtualization news feeds after a week of heavy travel, and I noticed that there are a lot of interesting things going on – mostly involving mixed messages:

  1. A well-known research firm, IDC is apparently providing some numbers around virtualization adoption that aren’t sitting well with VMware. They think IDC is giving Microsoft too much credit for gaining adoption / market share. IDC says Microsoft’s Hyper-V accounted for 23 percent of new shipments.
  2. VMware announced strong earnings for the 3rd quarter, and are forecasting heavy growth in 2009. However, VMware is freezing hiring for the foreseeable future in spite of that expected growth. The article also says they are doing some sort of “realignment” (aka “reorg”).

I think this will be very interesting as it unfolds. Some things I think will make it more interesting:

  • Many IT organizations are deploying (and will continue to deploy) hypervisors from multiple vendors (VMware, Microsoft, and Xen most commonly, but virtualization from Sun and IBM are already common in our customer base). This will make the counting more difficult, and will make for some interesting posturing from the virtualization vendors.
  • The economy is anybody’s guess, but with virtualization technology it’s trickier to figure out what to do. Companies will be more frugal with their dollars, but the ROI on virtualization may make it less likely to get cut.
  • To make it even more tricky, organizations seem to be deploying virtual infrastructure ahead of their ability to manage it effectively. That may mean they need to spend money on management tools to attain the visibility, capability, and integration required to realize virtualization’s ROI. So, how good are you at convincing management they need to spend money to save money?

Watching the vendor landscape will be interesting, as well. Obviously, the big virtualization vendors have plenty of cash in the bank and will make it through the storm in some fashion. However, the “upstarts & startups” in the field will have more of a challenge to deal with. I fully expect many small vendors to fail or get bought up for pennies on the dollar. It’s times like these when I’m glad I’m in an established, growing, and profitable company.

What do you think? How (if at all) has your outlook, strategy, budget, etc. changed in recent weeks?