The virtual storage company delivered the four P’s of marketing with yesterday's announcement:
Product — VMware Community Source, Virtual Disk Interface, Management Interface, Hypercall Interface;
Place – packaged around ESX, community source, public APIs;
Promotion — lengthy quote sheet of big-named vendor; announced the opening day of Linuxworld (more on this later)
Pricing – nada, or not much; community source, public APIs
The un-written story is that VMware’s initiative is as much as reaction to XenSource as to Microsoft Virtual Server. How would you like your cash cow squeezed by open source on one end while competing against an enterprise s/w stack on the other end? This view helps explain why Linuxworld was the announce venue.
Also under-reported is the fact that VMware’s programs are not too new to the industry. The VMware Community Source is similar to our shared source program for Windows. Virtual Server isn’t covered under that program, but the hypervisor is a good bet to be covered. The real difference is that VMware is licensing Community Source to limited number of strategic partners who have the ability to make derivatives.
Second, Virtual Disk Interface is analogous to Microsoft’s VHD licensing program – announced in April and launched in June. VMware will be licensing their formats – not sure what type of license. Virtual Server’s VHD format is available to partners under a royalty-free license; a zero-cost license which provides partners the rights to use the IP in their products. For information on the specification or a copy of the licensing agreement, send email to email@example.com
VMware has always touted their APIs as being “open” (e.g., management interface) but they are really just publicly published APIs, similar to our Virtual Server APIs and the future publishing of the Windows hypervisor APIs through MSDN. Since Virtual Server 2005 was released last year, we have provided a fully-documented COM interface for partners and customer to modify and manipulate Virtual Server. Any task that can be done through the Virtual Server Administration Website can be controlled through COM. HP Openview, IBM Director and Microsoft MOM all use this interface.
The Hypercall Interface is a new one, though it’s not clear what exactly they’ll publish with ESX. The thinking I’ve heard is that a good portion of this effort is to combat Xen, even though ESX doesn’t have the same para-virtualization model as Xen. I'd like to hear others' comments on this.
Some of MS partners (who participated in VMware’s news) said VMware’s standards efforts are more directional than anything so far. The same partners also asked VMware to invite MS to the table.
If you’re interested to chat with Microsoft’s best/brightest virtualization minds, sign up for the Aug. 26 Web chat. Gotta go, I’m getting a call from a D. Greene. 😉