"It's a little awkward to actually be happy for a competitor," Thibault admitted. But his company, Virtual Iron Inc., is riding the wave of free publicity generated by the VMware offering, and by Citrix Systems Inc.'s $500 million purchase of the virtualization software company XenSource the following day.
VMware and XenSource are leaders in the booming market for server virtualization software - programs that let companies get far more work out of the server computers they own.
Virtual Iron, of based in Lowell, is a low-profile upstart in the same business. But Thibault hopes to build his privately held company into an industry giant with cut-rate pricing and a focus on serving small and mid-size companies.
Businesses of every size are adopting virtualization as a way of capping costs and simplifying data management. Server virtualization software lets a company run multiple applications on a single server computer, reducing the number of machines a company must buy. It also treats multiple machines like one big computer, making it easy to move programs from one machine to another, shut down individual computers for maintenance, or add new computers to the data center.