VMware is the top vendor of server virtualisation tools. But the EMC subsidiary is constantly scrambling to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive landscape that includes Microsoft and open-source vendors. VMware President Diane Greene talks about emerging competitors and her company's strategy of partnering with friend and foe alike.
Q: As Microsoft and Linux vendors start shipping virtualisation capabilities within their products, how are you going to keep your customers from selecting their products over yours?
A: We are working well with the open-source community. We are going to continue our partnerships with the community at large. We announced this community-source [program] to allow our partners to participate more fully, and we have reseller arrangements with all the x86 hardware vendors.
Q: Many analysts wonder whether Microsoft can hurt VMware like it did Netscape in the browser market. Are you concerned that Microsoft will come to dominate your business?
A: We see some differences between us and Netscape. One, the technology involved is much deeper. There's a lot more complexity and robustness requirements on it as well. No one cared if a browser crashed. And we have very strong partnerships with the hardware community, which Netscape was not able to do.
Q: What are your goals in working with the open-source community?
A: We are making sure that Linux runs really well with our products. And we regularly contribute to the open-source community, too.
Q: While well-funded start-up XenSource hasn't yet released a virtualisation product, do you see it as a potential competitor?
A: I don't know where they are going to play, because we haven't seen the robustness, performance and functionality of their products. We launched an initiative around [application programming interfaces] to standardise some things around virtual machines. We certainly want to partner with XenSource in those areas.
Q: Has anything changed since your acquisition by EMC early last year?
A: What difference has it made to VMware's operation? We operate as a completely independent subsidiary. We're not integrated.