But as VMware adds features to its file system, there's growing suspicion among storage vendors that the company is trying to move storage system value-adds into its Hypervisor. Some storage vendors think that VMware is stepping on their toes, especially when it comes to Storage VMotion, a feature in VMware ESX Server version 3.5 that migrates the back-end storage attached to virtual machines.
It's a matter of virtualisation vendors like VMware "looking for ways to add value" as the virtualisation becomes commoditized, says Bruce McCorkendale, distinguished engineer in the office of the CTO for Symantec Corp.
As more companies virtualize their server environments, users who once struggled with running multiple operating systems will now struggle with running physical and virtual servers, and in some cases, with running multiple hypervisors.
This is where Symantec sees the value proposition for its vendor- and platform-agnostic storage, security and server management software. "We've been helping users do storage management and high availability in heterogeneous environments for a long time," McCorkendale said. "For [another vendor] who hasn't been doing it that long, going from zero to Symantec will take quite a while."
If it sounds like McCorkendale is drawing a line in the sand, it's because he is. VMware may insist it's not trying to compete with storage vendors. But, McCorkendale says, "They are. The question is how well they're going to be able to compete."