Microsoft already took 23% of virtualization market says IDC – UPDATED

Posted by Staff   |   Thursday, October 16th, 2008   |  

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Today the analysis firm IDC released some surprising numbers about virtualization vendors market share:

  • VMware: 44% (combining ESX and Server)
  • Microsoft: 23% (combining Hyper-V and Virtual Server)

Isn’t clear how much of these market shares translates in production deployments and how much is about test & development or shelfware, but one thing is for sure: the Microsoft gain is remarkable (and its growing case studies library confirms it) even if VMware still leads with 78% revenue share.

Besides the numbers above there is something else that is interesting: worldwide virtualization license shipments in the second quarter of 2008 (2Q08) increased 53% year over year, compared to a 72% year-over-year increase the previous quarter.

Who ships more servers for virtualization duties? HP (34% market share) followed by Dell (25%) and IBM (16%).

Update: Easy to guess the report above generated a huge number of reactions (and complains from VMware).

Specifically IDC is questioned on several obscure points:

  • In its previous report about virtualization market shares, about Q1 2008, IDC assigned 20% to Microsoft.
    Hyper-V was formally released on June 26, 2008, which is two days before the end of Q2. So it seems unlikely that Hyper-V could get 3% in just two business days.
    As some pointed in the comments it’s very likely that IDC included in this count also beta and RC deployments. If so the numbers couldn’t reflect the real state of the market because VMware tents to keep ESX betas private (like for the upcoming ESX 4.0).
  • Unlike the past, this time IDC didn’t compare its findings with VMware and refused to break out the reported numbers for each product.
  • There’s an incongruence between the VMware estimated year over year growth (52%) and the real one reported by VMware to the SEC (39%) for the Q2 2008.

For all these reasons we expect an official statement from IDC clarifying the methodology that provided the market shares.

Meanwhile it’s worthwhile to answer a question that Mike DiPetrillo raised in the comments: why a 23% market share for Microsoft should be considered remarkable? The answer we can give:

  • Because it didn’t go lower despite ESX 3.5 Update 2 introduced a huge advantage in terms of features and most VMware efforts in marketing is focused on highlighting such difference
  • Because one would assume (maybe incorrectly) that customers started to dismiss Virtual Server in the last few months. In such case Hyper-V may have some more than 3% market share.

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