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VMware: Microsoft has 'no car'

Microsoft's virtualisation offering was like tyres without a car, according to Paul Harapin, VMware's Asia Pacific vice president, who today said his company's future direction would put it in increasing conflict with Redmond.
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Written by Alex Serpo on

Microsoft's virtualisation offering was like tyres without a car, according to Paul Harapin, VMware's Asia Pacific vice president, who today said his company's future direction would put it in increasing conflict with Redmond.

"What Microsoft has announced is a hypervisor. They have announced tyres, the wheels of a car. They have no car. There is no engine, there is no seat. Just tyres," Harapin said in an interview today, explaining his metaphor by saying VMware's offering contained not just a hypervisor but a whole lot of surrounding parts of the virtualisation puzzle.

VMware AP vice president Paul Harapin.
(Credit: VMWare)

When asked about Microsoft's ability to compete in the virtualisation space, Harapin continued with the machine metaphors: "It's like a skateboard manufacturer saying we're a transport provider," he opined.

Harapin said that Microsoft was years behind VMware in the virtualisation market. "The basic premise is they have a long way to go. They have come out recently and said that they agree with our strategy ... and that they will deliver some of that functionality some time in 2010," he said.

One area Harapin said would put VMware in increasing competition with Microsoft was the ability of third-party software providers to develop operating system-independent virtual applications.

"The software community is now developing their technology as virtual appliances. So you can go to Symantec, and say, 'I want your email-monitoring server', and they will provide you with a virtual appliance with their own operating system," he said.

There were incentives for developers to do this, said Harapin. "The value proposition for software developers is very strong, because they don't have to develop their product to run on all the different OSes," he said.

However, this provided a challenge to Microsoft.

"That's obviously an issue for Microsoft because they get a lot of their business from the OS. So if the software community starts providing their software as pre-installed packages with a very thin layer of open source OS to run their app ... there are concerns there."

According to Harapin this trend was going to continue. "There are over a thousand products that are being distributed this way. Vendors like the whole IBM software suite, SAP. The nature of the operating system is changing dramatically," he said.

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