Big vendors look to challenge VMware with open source

Too little, too late, says Gartner about the Open Virtualization Alliance

Several big IT vendors, including IBM, Hewlett-Packard, BMC Software, Intel and Red Hat, announced this week that they are banding together to promote an open-source virtualization platform -- Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) -- as an alternative to VMware.

The vendors formed the Open Virtualization Alliance (OVA) to develop reference architectures and best practices for a technology that, according to Gartner, has less than half of one per cent of market share. Their goal is try to get enterprises to consider KVM as an alternative to VMware's platform, as well as to encourage developer support.

Tom Bittman, an analyst at Gartner, doesn't think much of the OVA. "If you have no market share, you band together against the big guys."

VMware is proving to be unshakable in this market. Although it has lost some market share to Microsoft and Citrix's Xen, VMware still has 75 per cent or more of the installed base, according Gartner.

What may be worrisome for vendors is VMware's expanding reach in enterprises, particularly through the adoption of private clouds by enterprises. In its first quarter, VMware reported $844 million in revenue, an increase of 33 per cent from the year ago quarter.

What's happening, said Bittman, is that VMware is moving from being just a hypervisor vendor to a direct competitor of large vendors, in part, by challenging their management tools, such as IBM's Tivoli.

"VMware is going to keep moving up the food chain into their space," he said, calling the OVA effort "too late, too weak."

Al Gillen, an analyst at IDC, said displacing VMware is hard for anyone, citing Microsoft in particular. "It's a momentum problem."

But Gillen sees an opportunity for KVM, particularly in Linux shops. "There are an awful lot of companies that still don't have virtualization," he said.

The OVA may help produce "some level of consistency within KVM implementations and I think that's a positive for the industry," said Gillen. "[But] I don't think having these companies aligned together makes them more able to displace VMware."

KVM was an open-source project developed by Qumranet, an Israeli company acquired by Red Hat in 2008.

Scott Crenshaw, vice president and general manager for cloud business at Red Hat, acknowledges the obstacles, but insists that users want alternatives to VMware. One need is for a larger ecosystem of vendor support.

"There is no doubt that VMware is ahead in the creation of an ecosystem; there is also no doubt that the marketplace wants a viable open alternative -- and that's the purpose of OVA," said Crenshaw.

BMC management tools support VMware, among other technologies, and that company's CTO and Senior Vice President Kia Behnia said its decision to join OVA doesn't change its support for VMware programs. BMC is simply focused on giving customers options.

BMC is "significantly investing in R&D in support of KVM," said Behnia.

VMware officials declined to comment on OVA's creation.

Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed. His e-mail address is pthibodeau@computerworld.com.

Read more about virtualization in Computerworld's Virtualization Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags cloud computingopen sourceMicrosoftinternetGartnerVMwareintelIBMsoftwareemcData CentervirtualizationHewlett-PackardRed Hathardware systemsConfiguration / maintenanceBMC Software

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Patrick Thibodeau

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?