Broad VMware vision still too narrowly focused

Is there any part of the infrastructure you don't want to replace?

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Virtualization and cloud-computing leader VMware isolated its VARs and resellers in Orlando this week to roll out new products and indoctrinate the channel in its most recent view of the world as a platform on which to build virtual servers and clouds.

Its remarkably consistent vision is that end-user companies will want to virtualize as many of their computing resources as they can, to minimize the cost of hardware and support, and distribute CPU cycles, gigs of RAM and blocks of storage to specific applications based on what they need to perform best, not the physical location of the hardware.

The vast majority of end-user companies seem to be going for it, too, at least to some degree. VMware has put together an impressive set of infrastructure, management, migration and integration products that run the gamut from free one-machine VM or VDI setups to full-on hybrid-cloud, virtual- desktop/server/handheld infrastructures and hosting services to provide it in any configuration customers want.

The problem is, even if customers buy your vision, they don't necessarily buy your products; at least, not all of them.

They buy things they think they can afford and use them in ways that suit them, not the developer or manufacturer. Selfish bastards.

That's why VMware, though still in the lead in both technology and mindshare in the market for virtual servers and cloud-computing technology, is getting a lot more competition from Citrix, Microsoft, HP, the entire co-location and hosting industry.

Even VMware's partners are competing with it, kind of. Co-opetition. Which is very open-minded and friendly, except the part where your friends take away your customers because the customers want to buy a set of products and services that aren't quite the homogeneous lineup approved by your home office.

VMware has tremendous credibility in corporate data centers and market share of something like 80 percent in virtual servers, according to IDC analyst Ian Song.

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