NWME: X86 virtualisation was once a revolutionary technology. But now, hypervisor is fast becoming a commodity. What is your differentiation?
Wright: What has happened is that people use virtualisation to slice and dice machines. What we are trying to do now is to take it to the next level and make it the foundation for private and public cloud. We are looking at the management aspect, to provide a system that is truly automated, fully elastic, and have the ability to move resources from internal to an external cloud and have a hybrid cloud environment. Our differentiation is around advanced product offerings, management solutions, and the main drive for us is to lay down the foundation for the cloud. Not everyone knows what the cloud is, but everyone wants to move to cloud computing. Virtualisation, especially what we do from the automation point, is being the key bet for that.
NWME: VMware prices are too steep, sometimes you charge three to five times more than Microsoft. Are we going to see any price cuts?
Wright: It is unlikely that there would be any dramatic cuts in prices. What we say is that differentiation is the in the quality we provide and we do provide five times more features that Microsoft.
NWME: How about licensing? Are you going to simplify that?
Wright: Licensing is a problem worldwide for everyone. We have issues around how licensing works from third party companies around our solutions. We revamped our licensing model from a technology point of view last year and we generally get a good feedback from our customers.
NWME: Though VMware offers a free version of the hypervisor, it doesn’t have many features while Microsoft offers advanced features such as live migration…
Wright: The question is whether you would actually run your production environment on that. We do just virtualisation, nothing else, and there are users that have been running their production systems on our technology for the last 6-7 years.
NWME: The virtualisation market is getting more competitive and Microsoft along with Citrix is bolstering its play against VMware. How do you plan to fend off competition?
Wright: We have an advantage over Microsoft in the sense that we are elevating the play above just virtualisation. We are talking about cloud, infrastructure- as- a- service, platform –as- a- service and with some recent announcements software- as- a- service as well. We have recently acquired the Java vendor SpringSource to help enterprises and service providers to create platform-as-a-service offerings. We have announced a joint initiative with Google to develop and deploy Java-based applications in the cloud.
NWME: Your management tools don’t support other hypervisors. Isn’t that an issue for your customers?
Wright: We did embark on a project to manage a pool of other hypervisors, but what stopped us was that there weren’t many people running different hypervisor environments. Perhaps as time progresses we might revisit and relook at it.
NWME: VMware is aggressively promoting cloud services. Are you trying to advocate the use of public cloud rather than private?
Wright: We already have 160000 active users for our cloud services and 1700 service provider partners. But the real drive for us at the moment is to get people to focus on building out private clouds. Potentially there are people who want to immediately move to public cloud environments but we see the optimum solution being a combination of private and public clouds. Even if you have an internal cloud, if someone comes up with a massive demand, you should have the ability to say we haven’t got it internally but we can provide it externally for 3-4 months while we scale up the internal resources.
NWME: Is desktop virtualisation gaining steam? Do you think the significant upfront costs might be an inhibitor?
Wright: We think this will be the year of desktop virtualisaiton, and we have a new client hypervisor coming out this year. Flexibility of client platform along with the migration to Windows 7 is driving the adoption of desktop virtualisation. People are starting to realize that because it is all sitting on vSphere all the benefits they seek from a server point of view they can get from a desktop as well. In the last 18 months, the upfront costs have dropped from $1200 a desktop to $680 dollars. Besides there are significant cost savings in the form of admin costs, etc, as you are talking about centrally managing your desktop environment.