The Virtualization Room

Jun 30 2010   6:32PM GMT

VMware: The Papa Tomato of virtualization

Colin Steele Colin Steele Profile: Colin Steele

You know that old joke about the family of tomatoes and the baby that falls behind?

You don’t? OK then, I’ll let Uma Thurman tell it:

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Sometimes IT customers can feel like Baby Tomato, lagging behind all the innovation and hype that vendors are throwing out there and eventually getting squished. It’s a big issue for SAP now, as my colleague Courtney Bjorlin at SearchSAP.com just blogged about. But it’s an equally big concern in the server virtualization market — particularly for VMware, thanks to its focus on cloud computing.

Gartner recently called out SAP for its “on-premise, on-demand, on-device, in-memory” vision that is very innovative but at the same time very disruptive. As Courtney wrote, SAP “needs to be loud about what it’s doing to innovate. … But that means it’s often talking about initiatives long before they’re even close to ramp-up stage.”

VMware is in the same kind of Catch-22 situation. You know the story by now: the hypervisor became more of a commodity, VMware focused more on infrastructure, yada yada, VMworld is turning into a cloud conference.

Most VMware customers would agree that cloud computing offers significant benefits and is the future of IT, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready for it now. Many are still trying to overcome challenges like VM stall, which is a significant obstacle to private cloud adoption. And others face infrastructure roadblocks. (George Reese, CTO of cloud management vendor enStratus, told me today that older IT organizations “need some significant work” on the infrastructure side before they can build a private cloud.)

In the “Pulp Fiction” joke, Baby Tomato is stuck with his parents. But when it comes to IT, customers don’t have to blindly follow their vendors, falling behind and getting squished. In fact, if the gap gets too large, it’s Papa Tomato that eventually gets turned to ketchup — by its competitors.

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