Microsoft bashes VMware at VMworld, again

Microsoft's annual taunting can't hide the fact that VMware is kicking butt and gaining new cloud-in-a-box partners like HP

In what has become an annual tradition, Microsoft celebrated the start of the VMworld show in Las Vegas this week with more satirical bashing of VMware. This year Microsoft launched a Web site called VMlimited in which it likens VMware to a guy who still thinks it's circa 1977. However, Microsoft's viewpoint doesn't jibe with the news of new partnerships and wares streaming out of the VMworld show this year.

In any case, the site proclaims, "Watch what happens when you try and buy a cloud solution from the wrong company." It then shows a video of a van-driving sales guy, Tad. "While he says he's selling a cloud, he's actually selling nothing more than virtualization," the video says. Microsoft picks on VMware for its pricing structure (no surprise there), an inability to manage other hypervisors, and its failure to inspect application-level performance.

Watch for yourself.

True, Microsoft is an exhibitor at this year's VMworld conference, just like in years past. But you'll have to look hard to find the company at the show. Microsoft is in booth 746, a tiny spot next to a company called Liquidware Labs that makes desktop virtualization management tools for Windows, Citrix and VMware. (Desktop virtualization, Microsoft's favorite subject!) Last year, Microsoft only occupied a 10x10 booth as well.

Microsoft at VMworld 2011

Microsoft calls these kinds of negative political campaigns, "telling the truth," and points out that it has been engaged in such truth telling for years, in a blog post by head Microsoft PR dude, Frank Shaw. "You can go back to 2003, when we launched our Get the Facts campaign to clarify the facts behind much of the then Linux v. Windows dialogue for another example," he writes.

Funny, if this site is comparable to the Get the Facts website, then I don't think VMware has much to fear from Microsoft. The Get the Facts site, yanked down in 2007, featured one of the all-time most criticized market analysts reports ever done. The study, commissioned by Microsoft and done by IDC, not surprisingly concluded that Windows 2000 had a better TCO than Linux. But upon a closer look, detractors showed that much of the study was flawed. It concluded that TCO was more highly impacted by the cost of staffing and downtime than the cost of the software -- but the fact that Linux had less downtime didn't seem to influence the results. The study also determined that Windows 2000 ran more workloads than Linux, but, strangely enough, none of the Linux users surveyed were running Linux on high-end servers, and so on. Microsoft's marketing efforts didn't work. Linux has been jubilantly celebrating its 20th year anniversary this year and its solid success in the server market that even Microsoft cannot deny.

As I said, slamming VMware on the first day of VMworld is a Microsoft tradition beginning in 2008 when Microsoft hired women to hand out $1 casino chips on cards that said "Looking for your best bet? You won't find it with VMware. Visit www.VMwareCostsWayTooMuch.com."

Microsoft VMworld 2008

By the way, just like the "Get the Facts" site against Linux, Microsoft has also abandoned the VMwareCostsTooMuch site.

With its tiny presence, what is Microsoft promoting at VMworld? The exhibitor catalog links to Microsoft's "private cloud" marketing site.

I'd be remiss if we didn't point out that VMware has more than a little game in that market, too. Vblock is a private-cloud-in-a-box integrated system that includes EMC storage, VMware virtualization and Cisco's blade and networking systems. Several months ago, I met the worldwide sales manager for VBlock. He had the seat next to me on an airplane. He was hiring and building out support facilities for new customers like crazy, he told me (before he knew I was an editor for Network World).

Meanwhile, Microsoft has to share its biggest cloud infrastructure partner to date with VMware now, too. HP announced today that its VirtualSystem that competes with Vblock now supports VMware. VirtualSystem was at first announced with Citrix and Hyper-V versions in July. Today HP announced one optimized for the upcoming VMware vSphere 5.

Like I said, I don't think Microsoft's Tad is scaring VMware, or its customers, much.

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