New Delhi: Looking to increase computer server utilization from an average 15% to at least 70% and improve its management across multiple platforms, Microsoft Corp. is set to aggressively push virtualization technology, which has so far been dominated by a single player, VMware Inc.
“Worldwide, only around 4-5% of servers globally are virtualized and that opportunity is set to reach 90% in the next three-five years. The market is a baby right now with a 95% untapped opportunity. We want to offer virtualization at all levels and as part of the core platform,” said S. Somasegar, senior vice-president (developer division) of Microsoft, who was in India this week to launch the Windows Server 2008, code-named Longhorn, which comes bundled with virtualization technology.
Microsoft’s S. Somasegar says the company wants to offer virtualization at all levels and as part of the core platform
Virtualization refers to the technology that allows multiple operating systems and applications to run on the same hardware, thereby eliminating the need for different computers to run different servers. Microsoft will launch its systems centre virtualization manager tool to manage different virtualization technologies, including the desktop virtualized product in personal computers, application-level virtualization and the virtualization component called the HyperVisor, by the third quarter.
Longhorn currently comes with the beta version of HyperVisor.
According to a February Yankee Group report titled Virtualization Price War: VMware’s Little Big Horn?, there is a significant opportunity to sell advanced features, applications and management solutions. According to the report, Microsoft is the No. 2 player in the server virtualization market, with a 30% market share and is the biggest threat to VMware’s dominance.
“In VMware’s case, it’s surrounded by rival vendors lusting for its business. Its competitors, led by Microsoft, are on the warpath. They are ready to count coups and lure VMware customers, touting the fact that their products are significantly less expensive. For example, Microsoft Virtual Server offerings are from 40% to 75% less than comparable VMware offerings, depending on specific configuration, volume and licensing factors,” the report states.
Though VMware in India says that there is a lot of competition coming in as virtualization catches up, it has an early start to bank on.
“At VMware, the only thing we do is virtualization. We do not see any drop in our market share, rather a huge opportunity to tap the 95% of servers that are not virtualized globally. While our competition is looking at virtualization at the entry level, we have moved up to generation four on virtualized products and that’s where we have an edge,” said Ganesh Mahabala, a regional director at VMware.
The company, which had revenues of $1.33 billion (Rs5,387 crore today) in 2007, up 88%, also says that as competition increases, customers will have the choice to evaluate multiple products.
“Microsoft, being Microsoft, they will seriously be there to talk to customers, particularly at the beginners level, on their virtualized offerings. So, we will have to do our part of convincing our customers. But, on a positive note, they are a big player and will only help grow the virtualization market,” said Mahabala.
Analysts say there will bea significant increase in the adoption of virtualization in the next three-four years as vendors go all out to win new clients.