VMworld 2012: VMware CEO dismisses Microsoft as virtualisation market challenger

VMworld 2012

Newly appointed VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger has used his first appearance at VMworld Europe to take a shot at arch rival Microsoft, claiming the software giant will be forever playing catch-up in the virtualisation space.

During a VMworld press conference, Gelsinger stuck the boot into Microsoft and the maturity of its virtualisation product portfolio.

"Microsoft has been playing catch up to VMware in the virtualisation space for a decade, and will continue to play catch up [as] we continue to advance the state of the art in this place significantly," he said.

"As they are releasing Hyper-V three, we're now on our ninth major version of Vsphere...[And] we're very comfortable that they will be playing catch up for many years to come."

This year's VMworld in Barcelona is the first European customer and partner conference Gelsinger has led since taking over the reins of the company from long-serving CEO Paul Maritz at the start of last month.

During his opening keynote, Gelsinger wasted no time in re-addressing the virtualisation giant's recent decision to scrap its vSphere vRAM licensing model, which limited the amount of memory end users could allocate to virtual machines.

The controversial licensing scheme was introduced in July 2011 and proved unpopular with users who claimed it made deploying virtual machines more costly.

This, in turn, prompted the firm to announce the policy's demise at VMworld US in August.

"We [were] very happy to announce the death of this word [vRAM]. This is now a dirty four letter word...[it] is now out of the dictionary. While at one time we thought this was a good idea, you told us clearly that it wasn't," said Gelsinger during his VMworld keynote address earlier today.

"You spoke. We listened. Thank you for the feedback."

During a press question and answer session, Gelsinger denied the decision to introduce the scheme had harmed the VMware brand and done long-term damage to its customer relationships.

We're very comfortable that Microsoft will be playing catch up for many years to come.

"We admit [vRAM] wasn't the best decision [on our part], but customers are now saying, you listened, you reacted to it,'" explained Gelsinger.

"We're not always going to do everything right [first time], because our products will not be perfect in the future [and] we're not going to make every business decision correctly, but we want to be the partner that responds to the feedback we get."

He was also keen to stress the decision to axe the licensing scheme had already been made before he started as CEO, based on customer feedback.

"Clearly it was something that was creating angst for our customers and, ultimately, we want VMs to spawn like rabbits...our licensing strategy was not consistent with the direction we wanted the industry to go, so it was an easy decision to eliminate it," he added.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.