Watching the VMware keynote presentations at VMworld feels like watching the business plan of startup after startup copied onto a slide. But it's hard to know what's actually just a slide, what's just an API, and what's a real product close to being released. As I type, the CTO is announcing vCenter Chargeback, vCenter CapacityIQ, vCenter Orchestrator, and vCenter ConfigControl – all areas packed with startups. (And I’m told not many of VMware’s “Technology Partners” had any clue of what VMware was planning on announcing.)
But this doesn’t mean that startups don’t have a chance now that the mammoth VMware has announced its intention to move into these areas. After all, no one playing in the space should be surprised that VMware is trying to move the locus of it's future revenue away from the hypervisor and to the management layer. But listening to VMware's long list of "future" products, you can't help but feel like it is trying to bite off more than it can chew. If you scratch just below the surface of many of these roadmap ideas, a lot of "what if's..." pop up. Even taking the cool "bursting to the public cloud" idea I mentioned yesterday, how does the storage part work? Are you constantly mirroring storage to the cloud? That gets mighty expensive (and complicated) very quickly.
It will be interesting to see what happens in the virtualization landscape in the next couple of years. All in all, thanks in part to the startups springing up in the virtualization ecosystem, I’ll be leaving VMworld a little more bullish on Microsoft’s prospects of getting penetration in the virtualization landscape.