Ready or not, VMware is morphing into an infrastructure management company where the word “virtual” is an optional.
The number of products released in the last few years is impressive and it’s accelerating, the market segments where VMware is entering are multiplying, the vision that the company has of its role in the IT industry is deeply changing.
All these elements point to a single direction.
Of course VMware denies such ambitious project. Admitting today that within 5-7 years it will become the biggest competitors of its partners BMC, CA, HP and IBM is not a good idea.
But the reality is that the company wants virtualization to be ubiquitous and wants to satisfy every necessity its customers have inside the virtual sphere.
This is why VMware feels the need, for instance, to acquire B-hive and provide a performance analysis tool for the applications running inside its virtual machines.
Or why it feels the need to acquire Determina and Blue Lane Technology to stack up a number of security products.
Or why it has to deliver a patch management solution that does much more than just updating the ESX hosts.
The list may go on and on (and will do in the near future).
This is not a story about secret plans to dominate the world. It’s just an incredible opportunity that VMware can’t and won’t pass.
No other vendor is today is in the position to dominate the market without spending billion of dollars to consolidate its leadership and product portfolio.
VMware is trusted in the enterprise as much as Google is trusted in our personal computers and pretty much everything it can provide will be carefully evaluated.
Any other IT firm around has to fight to get a similar level of attention in the data center.
Now let’s assume for a minute that VMware doesn’t really have plans to become the new BMC (despite Chris Wolf, Senior Analyst at Burton Group, suggested that the two may be discussing a merge or an acquisition): the result won’t change much.
The infrastructure management market is pretty mature and even Microsoft has serious issues in competing with the big four.
Despite that the customer base that VMware built over the last few years is the main engine driving the company transformation.
The virtualization vendor counts today over 130,000 enterprise customers, including 100% of Fortune 100, 98% of Fortune 500, 100% of Global 100, and so on.
These top customers are in the position to ask everything they want and need. And the more they get from this trusted vendor the more they want.
VMware has to deliver. And every time the company delivers a new piece of its infrastructure the limits of its domain fade away a little more, making more and more complex to understand what should be within the domain of virtualization and what should be left outside.
Unless VMware self regulates and defines a neat restriction for its activities there is no escape from this situation.
But VMware is a public company and has to generate profit: as long as customers demand for more and promise profit the company has to invest in new solutions, entering new markets.
So, it doesn’t matter if VMware is changing its corporate mission on purpose or by demand, the important thing is that it’s happening.
And soon Microsoft may have much more problems than a Hyper-V vs ESX comparison to manage.