Virtualization Pro

Aug 20 2009   3:19PM GMT

Virtualization vendors: What happened to good sportsmanship?

Eric Siebert Eric Siebert Profile: Eric Siebert

We live in a competitive world. People compete for everything: sports wins, business clients, gaming high scores, political positions and much more. But despite this competition most people are civil and treat their competitors with respect. Baseball teams are very competitive, every team and player is going for the big prize which is to get to and win the World Series. Yet despite their fierce competitiveness, the vast majority of players treat each other with the respect that you would expect one professional to show to another. If a player on one team goes down hard sliding into a base the player on the other team will usually give him a hand and help pull him back up. Despite being competitors, baseball players have a universal camaraderie that enables them to all get along despite their being on different teams.

This brings us to virtualization, which is also a very competitive arena with three major companies all trying to be on top. If you ask any one of the major virtualization companies they would probably all agree that they are very passionate about their product and virtualization in general. This passion, however, can sometimes lead to friction and conflict with competitors and one little spark can turn into a big flame war. This friction can include trashtalking which accomplishes nothing and is counterproductive; you don’t need to trash your competitors to sell your product. When you stretch the truth and twist the facts all you are doing is hurting your own image and confusing the people that may buy or use your product or a competitor’s.

So here’s my plea to the virtualization companies: Can you please stop bickering with each other, be civil and work towards the betterment of virtualization and some interoperability with each other? Virtualization needs some common standards and if you are not working with each other we will never have them.

Virtualization doesn’t have to be a destructive competition with a winner-takes-all scenario. It’s a big world and there are lots of computer systems in it and there is room for more than one big player in the virtualization market. It would be a huge benefit to everyone if the virtualization companies set aside their differences and worked together towards a common goal of virtualizing the computer systems of the world.

It would be nice to see some cooperative competition for a change so everyone wins — the virtualization companies, vendors and the virtualization users. Instead of being a Xen guy, a Hyper-V guy or a VMware guy, how about we all just be virtualization guys? Once we start working with each other instead of against each other we’ll see the benefits of virtualization as a whole. Ultimately its virtualization that we’re all passionate about, regardless of the software we choose to implement it with.

6  Comments on this Post

 
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  • Rick Vanover
    Unfortunately - virtualization isn't the only space where this occurs. Not to name any examples, but some storage vendors are a little tough in this regard.
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  • Sbramfitt
    Very good point, and something that needed to be asked a [B]long [/B]time ago. Unfortunately, with the momentum already achieved I don't see any likelihood of let up in the race to the bottom. It doesn't help of course that there are so many non-vendor run blogs etc. that follow (and profit from) this partisan approach.
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  • FPFL
    Hmmm. I disagree with pretty much every point you've made. We also, apparently are not talking about professional american baseball, the MLB, where there is a bench clearing brawl month after month, year after year... "Hey folks, look at all that mutual respect between the pitcher and the batter rolling around in the dirt whacking each other! Here comes the rest of the team to continue this on field Woodstock Revival!!!" More to the point - Who says everyone doesn't win today just because you have to choose between products? That competition IS the win. Without it we'd have stagnation of features and price as the IT market has had many times in the past. x86 virtualization is in its infancy and "working together" in software as often as not means slowing down to not leave anyone behind. This is not about feeding the poor, its about innovation. So why should anyone slow down? I don't see the real win there. There isn't today nor will there ever be just one vendor running the whole market whether they compete or work together. So even your foundational concern seems off. The market is just too big for that. I've chosen the market leader and I'd argue I'm seeing whatever your "benefits of virtualization as a whole" are already. There's nothing the other vendors have I'm wanting...so "interoperability" doesn't get me anything but product update delays. -P
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  • vanzylw
    Yeah there is an occasional brawl as tempers heat up but after its over they're all good friends again. Everyone fights occasionally even if they do get along, I challenge you to show me a husband and wife that has never fought in some way. Competition is great but the ugly mud-slinging pretty much sucks and customers do not win at all from that. And just because you use one vendor today doesn't mean you'll be using them forever, it's also possible you may be using more than one vendor at some point. Do you want a separate management systems for every hypervisor in your datacenter? Co-operation is also needed to ensure standards like the OVF and virtual disk file formats. Right now all the vendors are doing are slamming each other which does nobody any good. There is no need for anyone to slow down, just don't try and run your competitors off the road is all.
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  • Roidude
    Eric, Microsoft, of course, has VMware squarely in its sights and attacks it in everything from its Web site to advertisements to even its ROI calculator. Citrix recently started advertising and posting comparisons on XenDesktop vs View, but they appear to be done in a professional manner to me. I am not aware of any direct VMware attacks against the competition other than narrowly focused rebuttals (excepting the instance a few years ago when it used the power of public sentiment to help persuade Micrsoft to chanage its VMotion killing licensing policies), and certainly nothing trash talking. Do you have specific examples I'm missing, or is your article really aimed at Microsoft?
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  • MSVirtblogger
    @ROIdude - please don't try to re-write history about the whitepaper from Feb 2007. This whitepaper was launched via an article in the NY Times. It had inaccuracies and errors, no matter what you say the motivation. Let's just agree that VMW is no angel. Eric - IT pros are starting to choose the underlying virtual infrastructure based on the workload. They're finding some workloads are better (for many reasons, not just technical) with different underlying hypervisors or streaming/app virt technology. So history is repeating itself. Just as customers have always chose the workload first, then the OS - they're doing the same for virtual infrastructure.
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