Red Hat CEO: VMware customers want RHEV as a parallel hypervisor

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Easy to expect, during the last earnings call about Q1 2010 results (Red Hat Q4 fiscal 2010), the Red Hat President and CEO, Jim Whitehurst, had to address a significant number of questions about the new KVM-centric virtualization strategy and the early performance of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV), launched in November 2009.

Whitehurst said a few interesting things. First of all he alluded that the Hyper-V market presence is weak. Secondarily, and more interestingly, he described the reasons why a VMware usually looks at RHEV.
Last but not least, Whitehurst hinted at “another version of the management tools coming out”. He was probably referring to the Enterprise Virtualization Manager for Desktops (REVMD), which is the SolidICE product acquired from Qumranet in September 2008, expected somewhere in the H1 2010.

Q: Sarah Friar (Goldman Sachs)
I want to go back to Kash’s question on the competitive environment in virtualization. What drives a customer to look to Red Hat if they are already with one of the bigger guys like a VMware or HyperV from Microsoft? Are you actually seeing some replacements going on or is it typically in new environments? Kind of part of that, what can you do to keep accelerating the adoption aside from these big wins with IBM? Is there something more tactical from a sales perspective that can help?

A: Jim Whitehurst
Again, we are three months into the GA of our product. We have another version of the management tools coming out. So take this as early day comments. What we are primarily hearing is most customers don’t want one platform. They want two. Frankly we don’t see Microsoft that often. That might be because of their customer base versus where we are normally strong. So we see a lot of interest from customers saying hey I have VMware but I don’t want to get stuck on one and I am just starting to really roll this stuff out. We want you to be the alternative.

So again I think it is a lot of customers, not necessarily that even dislike VMware. A lot of them are very high on VMware but most of them don’t want to get stuck with a single Hyper visor vendor for their entire environment primarily around cost reasons. So we have a very good, compelling story both on cost, on performance, certainly running RHEL on RHEV so it is not necessarily a replacement it is as people grow their platform we are taking part of those platforms.

Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the call transcript.