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More solid Virtualization acquisitions to follow, says "The 451 Group"

Well, I said that too, but lets see why the 451 folks thinks it is still worthwhile to throw chunks of greens to a virtualization vendor.

Potential targets

Qumranet is a different kettle of fish, a far smaller company than SWsoft. Unlike SWsoft it is venture-backed: Sequoia Capital and Norwest Venture Partners have taken stakes. Cofounders Benny Schnaider, Rami Tamir and Giora Yaron are Cisco Systems veterans, having worked together at Pentacom before it was sold to Cisco in 2000; CTO Moshe Bar hails from XenSource and Qlusters, the sponsor of openQRM. Qumranet is the creator, maintainer and sponsor of the KVM Open Source Project, the main open source rival to the Xen hypervisor. Qumranet is still in stealth mode, but it's planning to unveil its commercial offerings any day now to an extremely attentive audience.

Virtual Iron Version 4 is also slated for a VMworld release. While it's functionally equivalent, more or less, to VMware Infrastructure 3 (VI3), the Virtual Iron software uses the Xen open source hypervisor, so it competes directly with XenEnterprise 4. Virtual Iron Version 4 integrates Novell's (Nasdaq: NOVL) SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 kernel and drivers, LiveConvert for P2V and V2V from PlateSpin, a new graphical management interface, support for the new Xen 3.1 64-bit hypervisor, and extra support for operating systems and for Windows SMP.

And potential acquirers:

Potential acquirers

The embedded hypervisor vendors, Open Kernel Labs, Trango and VirtualLogix, are special cases, likely to be snapped up by their OEM customers like Ericsson, Qualcomm or (in the case of VirtualLogix) Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN). The enterprise hypervisor vendors are a bit different. EMC (NYSE: EMC)-VMware and Citrix-XenSource have each in different ways demonstrated that there's considerable upside to an enterprise IT vendor in adding hypervisor technology. It's reasonable to wonder whether SWsoft/Parallels, Qumranet or Virtual Iron might do the same. Virtual Iron, for example, partners with almost all of the logical suspects: Emulex (NYSE: ELX), EqualLogic and QLogic (Nasdaq: QLGC) in storage; HP and IBM (NYSE: IBM) in systems; and Microsoft and Novell in operating systems.

SWsoft, though, is strongly hinting at acquisition plans of its own, perhaps in automation. We would argue that many of the most interesting M&A moves around virtualization are, in fact, beyond the hypervisor per se. HP's Opsware (Nasdaq: OPSW) and Neoware (Nasdaq: NWRE) acquisitions are great examples. Opsware is a force multiplier for systems administrators, letting each one manage many more operating systems, whether physical or virtual; and Neoware is exactly the right sort of thin client to sit in front of VMware's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. Hypervisors are interesting targets, certainly, but there are equally interesting targets in adjacent markets that, like automation, thin clients and VM management, will feel the salutary effects of a sudden and overwhelming proliferation of virtual machines.

It still needs to be seen who will acquire what. Acquirers should NOT shy away from this "in-the-face" opportunity. I can imagine, that it might look a bit too predictable to make a move like that but it is time to do it, and the time is now!

Check out 451 group's post.


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