How to escape the clutches of world+dog's VMware fetish
Also, Diane Greene considers the meaning of life
Interview The polite thing to do after interviewing a high-powered CEO is to wrap the executive in a certain amount of praise. If you're a contemporary, backbone-infused journalist, you lather up that praise and then counter it with a helping of critical insinuations. The trick comes from being firm and aggressive but not too insulting. God forbid you lose access to the sound bytes.
Yes, VMware amazes by almost doubling its revenue every quarter, but CEO Diane Greene will soon face massive tests. Yes, Greene has guided a young VMware with remarkable skill, but she has no experience steering a public company. She has no experience dealing with a spotlight this bright. She has no experience with a zealous Wall Street that values VMware at 100s of times its potential future earnings. She's stubborn. She doesn't seem terribly fond of her owner - EMC.
A ruthless reporter might go even farther. Such a hack could focus on Greene's past as a freedom-loving hippie at times playing with her dinghy and at other times moving to Hawaii to wind surf. Can an executive with a predilection for wind surfing best an obsessed nerd like Bill Gates and a maniacal capitalist like Steve Ballmer? Let's be realistic. VMware is not a - gasp! - $46bn company, no matter how loud Wall Street shouts that it is. This bubble is already fully formed. All it has to gain now is a bit more gloss before the grand bursting. Then reality will settle in on VMware's hype-fueled show.
Fortune's talented reporter Adam Lashinsky seemed to deal with these issues in a recent profile of Greene. Lashinsky actually went sailing with Greene in the San Francisco Bay and has the pictures to prove it.
The Fortune piece proves both factual and painful. Lashinsky captures the major market forces shaping VMware's existence but does the inevitable by recounting the same tales anyone covering VMware has heard time and again about Greene. As mentioned, she likes to sail. She's also short, married to a computer scientist who co-founded VMware and is - or at least was - a quasi-reluctant CEO.
Herein lies the problem with today's VMware: there's little left to do than fetishize the virtualization software maker.
Some of you have grown sick of this VMware adoration. You suggest that we - and possibly other organs - spill too much ink on a "niche" software maker. Yes, virtualization software has its uses. The fad, however, will pass.
To such criticism, Greene responds, "Bullshit!".
Well, not really. But we've known Greene for many years and are pretty sure that's what she'd spout out after a few beers.
"I think they just don't understand ," Greene told us, during an interview at VMware's new headquarters in Palo Alto. "There are just too many advantages (with the technology)."
The point she makes will seem mundane to anyone familiar with computing history. Time and again we see the computing elite latching on to concepts that emerged with grizzled mainframes. The "fresh" utility computing trend replicates the time-sharing of old. Splitting virtual workloads across the processors in a physical box? Yes, we've experienced this in the past. The major difference with today's virtualization is that it takes place on Intel- and AMD-based servers that anyone can buy.
Next page: Early Slicer
I'm running the free Linux version of VMware Server
on this Debian box. I've got a Windows 98SE guest session running reliably and stably in the window behind this one running my Eudora mail client. I've got Ubuntu running in a second guest session. I can run applications on the same filespace from three different OSs. (at the same time if I'm careful) It would be interesting to run OSX as well, but the fact that it isn't available is Apple's fault, not theirs. But it would be nice to be able to run applications without particular regard to what OS it runs on if Apple ever decides to join the real world.
The VMware stuff works on the desktop. My experiment with virtualbox was less successful, and since Xen doesn't support guest/host clipboard, it's useless for a desktop, so I haven't tried it. I wouldn't be surprised if they can execute the more radical ideas described in the article.
It looks like the company made a bad deal with respect to acquisition, but that happens, and sooner or later, that company is going to become a lot less profitable with a board run by EMC suits that presumably really doesn't understand what they're making or marketing. That's necessarily their problem, and a warning for technology entrepreneurs.
But I'm happy in the meantime, and will wait with interest to see what they'll do next.
VMware works for me
I am a very happy VMware Workstation customer. I don't even remember why I bought it. It doesn't matter, I find new uses for it every day. I can try out that new Linux distribution without messing with hardware. I can run apps requiring RHEL 4 on my computer. I can emulate a server and its clients. I can connect the network port on a virtual machine to a physical ethernet card and test new hardware without setting up a separate network. I could go on and on. All this and no bugs! 100% of the software cost on my Linux machine went to VMware. This is a company with a bright future.
apples and pears
Funny how the wallstreeters compare VMware with Microsoft in dollars, to show that VMware will grow faster....when Microsoft started growing a dollar was worth more than twice what it is now. It's just like horseracing and touts, isn't it?