Your positions are completely understandable. The benefits of virtualization are not yet obvious to most people outside the IT realm. To understand my post, it may help to know that I manage the IT function for a mid-sized public company so I'm "in the biz" as you might say.
Before taking the virtualization plunge, I heard people make statements like "it will change the way you approach everything" and I thought they must be overstating the benefits. Now I'm one of those folks.
If the objective of this board is to keep VMW investors up-to-speed on VMW as an investment, maybe it's best to discuss more tangible indicators of VMWare's future performance.
In an attempt to do that, let me offer a typical IT manager scenario but first, here�s a statement that may sound outlandish but it can be substantiated by trade press or major research firms such as Gartner or Forrester.
"Virtualization has already achieved critical mass and every IT Manager had better get on board if they want to keep their jobs. Debating the pros and cons of the technology was a discussion for 2004. In 2007, we are placing our orders for VMWare and reaping the benefits of a new infrastructure that is far superior to the old model."
Two Google recommendations:
1) CIO virtualization 2) Gartner virtualization
My company was a little late to the game. We had other projects lined up for 2007 so I budgeted to virtualize our datacenters in 2008. I should have put virtualization in the 2007 budget and here's how I came to this conclusion.
We did a pilot in our software development group using the free VMWare Virtual Server. This is how many companies get started with virtualization. As a public company, we must comply with Sarbanes-Oxley which dictates that we maintain test environments for "change management" activities. If you mess up a VMWare test environment, you can restore it in minutes.
The technology was stable and the performance exceeded our expectations. Once we experienced the convenience of backups / restores that took only minutes and the ability to put an entire test network on a laptop, the possibilities for the production environment started coming up repeatedly. Virtualization was already starting to change our thinking. Paradigm shift?
I couldn't justify waiting until 2008 to start on the production environment so we purchased our first ESX server license and moved two production servers into the virtual environment. VMWare offers a tool called 'convert' that takes an existing physical server and converts it to a virtual server - beautiful.
The converted virtual server ran faster in the virtual environment because the host hardware was more current. We've since converted several more servers into this same environment. I estimate that we'll get ten servers on this host.
Based on our results, I�ll accelerate our virtualization plans for our datacenters around the world which means we'll be placing orders for additional VMWare ESXserver, Virtual Center and VMotion licenses.
Now consider the IT manager that goes to his boss with a request for yet another $10,000 server that's going to consume $1,500 of electricity each year. His boss just read a Wall Street Journal article and learned that most companies are creating a pile of unused servers by virtualizing their datacenters. If that server request isn't for a virtual host, the IT manager might need to update his resume.
This scenario is probably typical of many mid-sized companies. It's a win-win-win deal. VMWare wins, VMW investors win, I win.