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

If they ever catch up

El Reg: What's the real advantage of being linked with EMC though? You guys always stress that you don't get marketing or services help from the big parent.

DG: Well, they did help us in this way. We were busy scaling worldwide with our sales force. And we didn't have to deal with setting up offices and the legal requirements because we could tap into EMC. That was a nice thing for us. It helped us grow our international support presence.

El Reg: I'm still not totally clear on why you'd avoid an IPO if you weren't going to leverage EMC more. What's the point of joining a huge company?

DG: Well, it was a really good event for the company. Going public would have been a huge distraction at that point because we had a lot going on.

We had also given out a lot of stock to employees. So it was a reward for them.

El Reg: So a rather impressive pundit wrote a story suggesting EMC should spinout VMware to boost shareholder value. Have you talked about that plan?

DG: (Laughs)

A VMware spokeswoman stepped in that point to note that the company does not comment on rumors.

El Reg: Well, it was worth a try.

On the competitive front, we know for a fact that there are some very busy folks at XenSource. The company won't talk about any customer wins, but we hear rumors of some significant deals with large banks and other Linux-friendly financial institutions.

At the same time, the Xen software isn't that mature.

El Reg:Does Xen keep you up at night?

DG: You know, I think there is a lot to this software. There is no question. We have been at it for eight years. It is running your whole system, so it better be darn robust.

The more functionality we provide, the higher the customer's ROI will be because they can do more with it.

Xen is just emerging as something that you can actually run. If Xen turns into something that is really great, we'll embrace it. I don't think our customers would be very happy if we embraced it today.

El Reg: How would you "embrace" Xen?

DG: What Xen is doing is actually not that big of a piece of what we do. It's just a hypervisor, and we have never been just a hypervisor. So, we'll monitor it.

It would be this one thing if we were a one trick pony that had just built a hypervisor and never built anything else. But we built Workstation, and then we came out with GSX and then we came out with ESX Server and then added SMP to ESX and then we added VMotion and then we added VirtualCenter and now we are adding distributed resource management, distributed availability services and consolidated backup.

That looks pretty rich to me regardless of what happens to Xen.

El Reg: Looking very, very, very far forward to when Microsoft plans to bundle its basic virtualization software with Vista Server, do you think a time will come when you'll have to give away a basic version of your product as well?

DG: I don't know what we'll do, but already if you carved out just the hypervisor functionality, there is a tone of stuff that customers want. You could argue that all the value is over and above the hypervisor today. It just depends on how it's packaged.

El Reg: We're just saying that at some point it seems you'd have to give away a low-end version of ESX Server.

DG: What's wrong with that?

El Reg: Nothing. We're trying to understand if that's something you plan to do.

DG: I don't know if that's what we'll do, but I don't see anything bad about it.

I don't know how the software may get packaged. One thing for sure is that we'll keep adding a lot of value. If our software doesn't add value, then fine. We'll do other software.

I think we are adding unbelievable value right now.

El Reg: How long can you keep up this kind of growth?

DG: I don't know. It's great to have software that is making a big difference for people. There is a lot of headroom in the servers out there. So, we'll see. ®

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