I want it all – and I want it now!

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Is VMware starting a Turf War with it’s partners. The title of Maish Saidel-Keesing’s post this morning. And it made me immediately take up my laptop, as I have been thinking about this, like many others around us. In short: is VMware alienating itself from it’s technical partners by adding all types of features and products their partners have been developing themselves. 

The examples given by Maish are:

  • NSX <> Cisco
  • Log Insight <> Splunk
  • VCOPS <> Veeam, Solarwinds. Dell, …
  • SRM <> Veeam, Zerto
  • VDPa <> Veeam
  • and I would throw VSAN and VFLASH in here as well

Let me try to go for the 3 different points of view: VMware, their partners & the customer. And off course I’ll add my opinion as usual 😉

VMware

VMware is a $4,61 billion billion dollar (2012) company, with almost 20.000 employees and locations in about every single country in the world. VMware historically opened the virtualization market with a very strong core product; the hypervisor. It’s at that time that ESX came out that VMware really got it’s traction.


One simply can not sustain such a big company with only one single product. The best part is that VMware at least focussed first on building a first class product. It took Microsoft almost a decade to catch up. The danger here is if VMware did nothing else than the hypervisor, Microsoft would blow them out the market today with their whole integrated stack.

The Partner

If you walk the show floor at a VMworld or if you go to partner presentations, you feel passion about technology flowing through the air. You can touch and smell innovation at each and every booth. A lot of these partners take on a single problem in the datacenter and put a crew together to make it a best-of-breed product. 


Veeam is a very good example here: Veeam focussed 5 years ago to be the best in backing up virtual machines. Why? No-one did it. By doing that already 5 years ago they are still industry leader in that segment today. Another type of startups are the Tintri’s for example that came out of VMware people who wanted to innovate faster than in the mothership. Tintri has been shipping their VM-centric arrays for a few years and VMware vVols is still not out there.

The customer

When you are building a datacenter you have a lot of pieces in the puzzle to solve. Every single piece of the puzzle can be solved with a best-of-breed product out there that probably will be better than the natively integrated features. Did anyone ever use NTbackup in a production environment? The challenge for a customer however is do I need a best-of-breed for every single piece of my puzzle? Or if I can buy an integrated stack, would that be sufficient for me?

My View

First of all I truly support the fact that VMware needs to do acquisitions (NSX/Desktone/…) to grow the company and to remain being relevant enough. But secondly I do not think that the integrated products will be a real danger for the partners. Could there be some revenue that switches? Definitely. The only danger is in the messaging to the customers. But we are still in a growing market and not a single feature will take a 20% market share. 


Towards the customers I would say: look for your biggest business challenges and find your best-of breeds in there. Remember: good enough is also good! You simply can not want it all.

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