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VMware's Chief promises to play nice with Microsoft and Xen

If they ever catch up

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El Reg: As you become such a central piece of the data center, it's clear you're in some ways challenging Microsoft and other x86 operating system vendors for the key point of contact with regard to managing servers. How does this affect your relationship with a company like Microsoft?

DG: Well, you are still running Windows no matter what, if you want to run a Windows-based application.

So, I think we are doing good things for them. We want to work with the industry. We want to push standards. We are opening up our source.

When it comes to Microsoft, certainly they are coming into this space because it's a huge space and close to what they do. I just think that eventually we are going to work well together because that is what the customers want.

El Reg: With regard to Linux, a lot of customers moved in that direction to get away from the Microsoft hooks. Aren't you just introducing new proprietary hooks into the open source world?

DG: We work very well with the Linux community. We donate a lot of software to the community. We are still donating software. We are giving APIs and code.

We make sure we work extremely well with Linux, and we listen to them.

I wouldn't call us so proprietary with our community source program.

El Reg: Right, but it's like I have just gotten rid of Microsoft, and now I have VMware as my master on the server.

DG: You are moving onto a company that produces software as opposed to a community that produces software.

We let you be Red Hat, SuSE, Windows and VMware all at once. I think that is a win for the customer.

El Reg: So you have Microsoft and Xen attacking you with relatively immature products, and meanwhile, you're building out your tools arsenal. Is that the immediate plan - to focus on the tools?

DG: We are doing two things.

We are moving the platform forward, which is a huge job. In the last year, there has been Intel's VT, AMD's Pacifica, multi-core chips and 64-bit. That was just moving with the industry.

Internally, we added SMP support and performance enhancements and all the different devices. And then we are spending millions and millions of dollars on our labs for certification and testing.

That is a huge effort that we are going to continue.

Then, the solutions we are definitely moving forward. We are adding distributed availability services where you can failover and then you get distributed resource management where you get load balancing across a cluster. Then, we have consolidated backup and single console monitoring and security controls across the cluster of virtual machines.

And then we are also exploring really interesting areas in the labs where we are pushing virtualization to see what it's going to do. We did the Player, which is incredibly exciting for us.

It's over one million downloads now. All these people are building interesting virtual machines.

El Reg: I know you wouldn't dare reveal a future, unannounced product, but could you give us a flavor for something in the labs?

DG: On the high-level, what we see is that the data center will transform to where you can manage your hardware separately from your software, and you can think about them as more aligned with what is going on in the business.

We also see really hard security problems that can be solved by using virtualization.

El Reg: Changing directions, we're curious if life has changed for this plucky start-up since you became part of the giant that is EMC.

DG: I think EMC has been remarkably strategic about letting us thrive and grow on our own. Joe (Tucci, EMC CEO) has been very supportive.

There are a certain amount of things you do that aren't related to moving the company forward in the industry when you're a public company. The amount of work I've done that wasn't related to that is very minimal.

El Reg: You mean to say that had you ended up as the CEO of public company, you'd have to do a lot more socializing with the financial analysts and whatnot?

DG: Yes. As a public company, you spend a lot of time with investors.

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