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InformationWeek's view on Future of Virtualization

Yet another view here. Interesting to note, however, how suddenly the market is alive again. Well that WAS the whole point of going public. Although EMC still holds some 87% (approximately $17 Bn worth) of VMware.

The events of last week showed, if nothing else, that virtualization is a market worth fighting over. VMware's stock price was up more than 90% above its IPO price by week's end, buying into a profitable company with revenue on pace to pass $1 billion this year. XenSource drew its premium price despite being an unprofitable startup with only a few hundred customers. The reason both companies are popular is growth: Virtual software and services will amount to an $11.7 billion market by 2011, more than twice the $5.5 billion in 2006, predicts IDC.


Does this also include the desktop market?

Tom Petry, director of technology for Collier County School District in Florida, moved into server virtualization 18 months ago, then desktop virtualization six months later. Using VMware ESX Server and its Virtual Center management tools, the district virtualized 500 Hewlett-Packard blade servers in the data center. By loading up the blades with 16 Gbytes of memory, Petry gets 32 to 35 virtual machines per server.

For the district, that's mostly meant savings in support. Petry uses the blades to generate 2,000 virtual desktops accessed by PCs and HP t5720 thin clients, and it plans up to 10,000 virtual desktops, with several students using each virtual machine a day. The payoff comes from the district's 80-person IT staff spending less time provisioning new machines and being able to troubleshoot individual desktop problems from the data center.


This is very good to hear. Everytime you (customer, user, consumer) lose focus, take a hard look at what virtualization can do for you.

The XenSource acquisition opens up the possibility that virtualization, under Citrix sponsorship, will shift into delivering full desktops--a combination of an operating system and user application set--as virtual machines that are refreshed frequently. It's not outside the realm of possibility, say Citrix officials, that one day such virtual machines will follow mobile workers around via the Internet, converting any available PC into a personal desktop. Virtualization so far has been mostly a consolidation play in the data center or in the developer's test bed, where one piece of hardware can be virtualized into several different test environments.


Near term, Citrix is banking on server virtualization, not the embryonic desktop market, so Citrix expects to concentrate on making XenSource a head-to-head competitor with VMware's ESX Server hypervisor, as well as its Infrastructure 3 VM management software.


This poses a definite threat for VMware, but don't forget it is easier said than done. You have to make a desktop and server virtualization product, something VMware is already way ahead of.

Well written article by Charles Babcock.

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