Gartner updates market share reports, numbers don’t match the IDC estimates

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Last week a Gartner chart comparing virtualization vendors market shares and their hypervisors’ features generated a lot of buzz as, for example, Oracle VM was reported as more used than Microsoft Hyper-V.

The chart was included in a recent article from Datamation, but Gartner said that it was part of November 2007 report.
The analysis firm has requested the news magazine to update its article with the newest version of that chart, based on projections made on March 2008. Let’s compare the two diagrams:


November 2007
March 2008

As you can see the data is remarkably different and even more interesting for several reasons:

  • While VMware continues to be unreachable in terms of market share, Microsoft now jumps to the second position, ahead of Citrix, despite Hyper-V is really new on the market while Citrix counted 400 new XenServer customers in Q4 2007, to add on top of the XenSource ones won before the acquisition.
  • Oracle, which was as good as Virtual Iron and better than Citrix in the first chart, goes back to the lowest rating for the Management / Automation category and for the Maturity / Stability category.
    It’s an interesting degradation considering that Oracle VM updated its hypervisor to 2.x version in July (after the second projection went out): something terrible must be happened somewhere between 1.x and 1.x.x. to negatively influence Gartner.
  • Virtual Iron, XenServer and Hyper-V became more expensive

But the chart is interesting also for another reason: now that we have a guarantee about the freshness of Gartner data, we can compare its market share projections with the IDC ones, published two weeks ago generating another strong flow of comments. The difference is more than remarkable:

  • Microsoft market share: IDC (23%) – Gartner (7%)
  • VMware market share: IDC (44%) – Gartner (89%)

Please consider that the IDC percent refers to an aggregate data that includes both ESX and Server for VMware and both Hyper-V and Virtual Server for Microsoft. We don’t know if Gartner did the same.

In any case it’s clear that there is a major discrepancy between the projections, putting in serious doubts the reliability of every report on the virtualization market shares.

It would be interesting to have additional numbers from other analysis firms. If Forrester, Burton Group or any other wants to play this game we’ll update this post accordingly.

We wonder, no irony intended, if could be used to provide some reliable metrics about the virtualization adoption to compare with the ones above.
To verify this we published a very simple (9 questions) survey covering just the hardware virtualization (hypervisors) adoption.

This should be considered as a first attempt to measure the market through our audience and it’s expected that the survey design may be unsatisfying for somebody.
If the experiment will be successful we’ll work on more sophisticated questionnaires, evaluating multiple aspects of the market.

Every reader but virtualization vendors employees is welcome to answer the 9 questions. It shouldn’t take more than 3 minutes.
The results of course will be published free of charge online as soon as we reach a fair amount of responses.