It appears that this Blog has caught the attention of companies offering various products for both software and hardware virtualization. Cassatt and Marathon Technologies are among the companies that have contacted me. I'm going to speak with representatives of both companies over the coming days. I'll post my thoughts later.
Further thoughts on Novell and Red Hat
I've been considering my conversations with representatives of both Red Hat and Novell and find that in some ways their strategies are similar - both are focused on open source software. There are a few really important differences however.
Red Hat is focused on solely upon open source software. Its virtualization strategy is centered on open source projects rather trying to include single-vendor, proprietary software. Red Hat's intentions are to provide a complete soup-to-nuts solution based upon open source software either by working with an extensive array of open source projects, becoming a partner with many open source companies or acquiring critical technology.
Novell builds upon a similar open source base but, is happy to include single-vendor, proprietary software in its overall solution offerings. This, of course, includes Novell's own ZENworks management software, eDirectory and security software.
This also includes Novell's recent, quite contraversial, partnership with Microsoft. Novell understands that most of its customers have heavy investment in Microsoft technology and wants to make their lives easier. For now, I'll leave discussions of the implications of this move to others who have already addressed this partnership. I'll weigh in later.
Pragmatically, both approaches are viable. An organization that has an extensive investment in single-vendor, proprietary hardware and software is unlikely to abandon that investment to move totally over to open source software. It is more likely to add open source elements when and where appropriate. This would support Novell's approach.
Organizations focused solely on using products that implement international (not single-vendor) standards are likely to be willing to move some or all of their IT operations onto open source software. Organizations in this category are likely to be government or educational institutions. Red Hat's approach would seem better to them.
Small to medium sized organizations are likely to let their IT partners (VARs, ISVs and the like) lead. This is the reason that Novell and Red Hat are in a race to gather as many of these partners into their partner program as possible.