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Virtually Speaking: VMware Comes Down to Earth

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Jan 29, 2008


It's been a tough few weeks for VMware. Last week, Microsoft kicked its virtualization efforts up a notch with its Virtualization Deployment Summit. This week, Citrix is in the spotlight with Citrix Summit 08 , and Parallels (aka the company formerly known as SWsoft) released a new version of Virtuozzo.

The darling of the virtualization industry watches its stock take a beating. VMLogix's multiplatform LabManager goes GA. Will it beat VMware Lab Manager at its own game? And a new version of Virtuozzo is out.

Then, yesterday, VMware's less than rosy earnings sent its stock price tumbling. And let's face it, these days, the market doesn't need much of an excuse to nudge a stock price into a tumble. VMware shares fell a whopping 26 percent to $61.14 due to the company missing its fourth-quarter revenue target.

In the quarter, VMware earned $103 million, or 26 cents a share, on sales of $412 million. Although this surpassed analysts' estimates by two cents a share, it fell about $5 million short of the consensus revenue target of $417.4 million.

Then, there was another possible cause for concern: The company said it expects its hyperactive sales growth to slow to about 50 percent in 2008. While this is nothing to sneeze at, it's a far cry from the 88 percent growth it experienced in 2007.

No kingpin rules forever, and the field is crowding up. As the platform and hypervisor matters less and less, the tools continue to grow in importance.

And in that market VMware is far from alone.

Given that it's Citrix's big week, it's not terribly surprising that XenServer-based solutions have come to the fore.

Among the solutions revealed was VMLogix's lab automation solution. The software, which competes directly with VMware Lab Manager, wad made generally available with support for Citrix XenServer.

Ironically, the virtual lab space is not as crowded as the rest of the virtualization world. Currently, only three players have a presence, VMLogix CEO Sameer Dholakia told ServerWatch: Surgient with various lab management system offerings, VMware with Lab Manager (the technology for which it picked up back via the Akimbi acquisition in 2006) and VMLogix's LabManager.

VMLogix LabManager lays claim to being the only virtual lab automation solution that supports Citrix XenServer.

The other key difference between the two products of the same name lies in the automation capabilities of VMLogix's product. Dholakia said that although, "setting up and tearing down [the test VMs] is same," VMLogix automates the process leading to greater consistency and efficiency.

It also supports VMware's ESX environment, and Dholakia said he believes the VMLogix product delivers "better support for VMware than VMware's Lab Manager," noting that several VMLogix customers jumped ship from VMware's lab environment in favor of VMLogix's.

VMLogix is already looking beyond VMware and plans to expand beyond the the two platforms. Dholakia said Hyper-V support is planned, as is support for Sun and Oracle environments.

VMLogix LabManager for XenServer is available now and is priced from $25,000.

Parallels in Parallel

Meanwhile, Parallels demonstrated that it's very much still in the game, and OS-level virtualization is still an option. On Monday, it released version 4.0 of its container-based server virtualization software — Parallels Virtuozzo Containers.

Key new features in Parallels Virtuozzo Containers 4.0 are the following: souped up high availability Windows Server 2003 and Red Hat clustering services and real-time backups across Windows and Linux platforms; new backup management solutions, including a fully automated and customizable back-up scheduler, cross-platform backups, online volume shadow copies and online cloning to enable simple upgrade testing and deployment; expanded network and VLAN support; better resource control and allocation, including virtual CPU improvement, burstable CPU limits, hardware device forwarding and hardware device sharing.

Also new Virtuozzo 4.0 is Parallels Infrastructure Manager, a management tool that offers enhanced permissions and large scale deployment and management capabilities delivered from a centralized data center management perspective.

Parallels Virtuozzo Containers 4.0 is priced at $2,500 per dual CPU and includes the Parallels Infrastructure Manager.

Amy Newman is the managing editor of ServerWatch. She has been following the virtualization space since 2001.

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