VMware Sniffs and Whiffs

You blew it, VMware (NYSE: VMW  ) .

Or maybe you didn't. But whatever the behind-the-scenes machinations, virtualization toolmaker Transitive is now in IBM's (NYSE: IBM  ) hands. (Big Blue acquired the firm last week for an undisclosed sum, Computerworld reports.)

Transitive should have been yours, VMware. Here's what your team said about the company in a blog post from May, ahead of the digital conference:

Transitive does something quite interesting -- they can dynamically translate from one machine architecture to another. This can be quite complementary to VMware and our flavor of virtualization. You can, for instance, take your apps compiled for the Solaris/SPARC platform, move them to your new x86 box running ESX and Linux and go to town.

IBM's interest is easy to understand. Transitive's code is baked into Big Blue's own virtualization software, built for customers who want to run Linux software designed for Intel's (Nasdaq: INTC  ) x86 architecture on its PowerPC servers or mainframes.


Well, OK. It's more important than that. But Transitive could have done so much more for you, VMware. At the very least, it would have made for a more convincing argument against Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) limited-yet-improving Hyper-V virtualization software. It would go something like this:

You want to virtualize your SPARC servers? Sure, we can do that. Dell's (Nasdaq: DELL  ) x86? Yep, we can do that, too. IBM's PowerPC? Yep. Oh, all you need is to virtualize a single x86 Windows server? Sure, Microsoft can help you there. We think.

Mr. Softy is playing hardball, VMware. Transitive was a big, fat pitch that you just swung through. Strike one.

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Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 24, 2008, at 4:02 PM, weiwentg wrote:

    I'm also concerned that VMWare's competitive position may be eroding as Mr. Softy and IBM start to encroach on virtualization. VMWare's bet on cloud computing is vaporware so far. I'm staying away.

  • Report this Comment On November 24, 2008, at 9:52 PM, AlpacaNY wrote:

    "Big Blue acquired the firm last week for an undisclosed sum..." Maybe VMware decided to keep some money in the bank so they don't need to call the government for a bail out like so many others. Tough times to be shopping too much.

  • Report this Comment On November 25, 2008, at 9:27 AM, JohnInBoston wrote:

    Mendel Rosenblum is one of their advisors. What a small world.

  • Report this Comment On November 25, 2008, at 11:01 AM, pprussell wrote:

    The writing shows a deep misunderstanding of the end user's application platform affinity and propensity to change same. Please show me one enterprise user who is willing to run any critical core application with a platform simulation or even a recent porting. There is simply is no reason to do so. It is enough to establish server-application-OS stability and come up the learning curve on a single platform. What motivation would the general market have? And it is a technical challenge, as change control would require months and months of testing after porting a platform and before putting the result into production. And for what?

    Every time I see these articles on your site, your credibiity falters. VMware made exactly the correct call.


  • Report this Comment On November 29, 2008, at 4:17 PM, MikeDiPetrillo wrote:

    I guess you could call it a strike when you're sitting in the cheap seats. If you're actually in the game you can clearly see this was a ball.

    This makes a LOT more sense for IBM than it does VMware.

    First, IBM has been OEMing the Transitive technology for a while as part of their Lx86 package. It makes good sense to go an buy technology that you are OEMing when you can get it cheap enough and that's exactly what IBM did.

    Second, VMware and IBM are great partners and will continue to be after the Transitive acquisition. You can still play the game you talk about in the article of running Sparc or Power or x86 on the same box - all you do is partner with IBM. After all what is IBM's x86 virtualization play? VMware. Now you get the hardware, the storage, the software, etc together. IBM can resell VMware, provides support for it, provides services for it, etc. That play has been in the books for a long time and VMware doesn't have to shell out extra money for it.

    Lastly, while the Transitive technology has been working well for IBM it's not all it's cracked up to be on the x86 side. If you'd like to get all the details on that just email me and I'll be happy to chat or call the Transitive folks or someone who's actually used the product.

    So the question is why swing at ball 4 with the bases loaded? Why not just let it pass and take the walk to push in a run? There have been no strikes in this one. VMware made the right decision based on current partnerships, technology in use, and what's available out there in the marketplace to buy.

    Perhaps you'll get better seats for the next play of the game so you don't look the fool.

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