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Virtualization commoditization: Bad news for VMware

It's bad news for VMware, which is still counting to a disturbing degree on its hypervisor to keep it ahead of competitors like Microsoft and, increasingly, every other operating system or server-manufacturer out there.

"We have never believed that the hypervisor would be commoditized," VMware director of marketing Ben Matheson told Computerworld's Rob Mitchell recently. "To imply that it's a commodity would imply that there's no differentiation."

Bingo. Right now there is some differentiation, and will continue to be for another year or so, until Microsoft's Hyper-V really gets its legs. After that, Microsoft's Hyper-V will be a credible choice for IT managers counting on not being fired for buying technology from an industry leader, whether it works best or not.

For others, who make choices based more on technical merit than intangibles like market leadership, third-party support or the quality of the golf outings vendor reps take them on, it will become increasingly clear that VMware and its premium prices are facing withering competition not only from Microsoft, but also from Citrix and the half-dozen other major companies offering implementations of the open-source Xen hypervisor, often bundled and specially integrated with their own hardware.


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