VMware is trying to capitalize on possible customer and partner discontent with the way Oracle is handling its Virtual Iron acquisition by offering incentives for Virtual Iron customers to switch to vSphere 4 server virtualization.
VMware on Tuesday said that it is offering existing Virtual Iron customers incentives to switch to VMware's vSphere 4 technology.
For customers who have proof of a current Virtual Iron license and support contract, VMware is offering what it termed "aggressive" discounts off the list price for vSphere 4 Advanced Edition, vSphere 4 Enterprise Plus Edition, vCenter Server Foundation, vCenter Server Standard, and related support and subscription fees.
This includes a 40 percent discount off list price for vSphere licenses and a 10 percent discount off list price for support and subscriptions, said Bogomil Balkansky, senior director of product marketing at VMware.
Virtual Iron customers and solution providers were left in the cold last month when Oracle closed the sales and channel business of Virtual Iron in the wake of its acquisition of the server virtualization vendor. Solution providers received a termination letter.
It appeared that Oracle's main purpose in acquiring Virtual Iron was to absorb its technology into its Oracle VM server virtualization offering. Oracle in May had acquired Virtual Iron Software in a move to use server virtualization to boost its software application business and, in the process, its competitiveness in relation to Microsoft.
Virtual Iron developed server virtualization products, including a hypervisor, virtualization services such as server partitioning and virtual infrastructure creation, and an enterprise-class server virtualization management application.
It's good to hear that someone is reaching out to former Virtual Iron customers and not leaving them stranded, said Zeki Yasar, an enterprise consultant with ePlus, a Herndon, Va.-based solution provider and VMware partner.
Even so, said Yasar, who in his previous company worked with Virtual Iron, it really does not take a lot of extra incentives to convince Virtual Iron customers to switch to VMware.
Currently, customers pretty much have a choice between VMware's vSphere, Microsoft's Hyper-V and Citrix's XenServer, along with a couple of other Xen-based products, and VMware has become the de facto standard in the server virtualization market, Yasar said.
"And VMware pricing changes since Virtual Iron first came to market make VMware attractive to Virtual Iron customers even without further discounts," he said.
VMware's Balkansky said that the Virtual Iron customer base of approximately 1,000 businesses is very small in comparison to VMware's roster.
"Even if every Virtual Iron customer comes over, it doesn't make a big difference to our customer base," he said. "But we're not arrogant. We'll fight for every customer. These customers are stranded. We feel it's important to make it as easy for them to migrate as possible."
It is no secret that Oracle is building a fully integrated software stack, but strategy hasn't been successful yet, Balkansky said.
"Oracle is successful in middleware, but its move to the operating system with its Unbreakable Linux has been less successful," he said. "And it has not yet gained traction with its Oracle VM."
Oracle is providing only "best effort" support of its software on VMware infrastructures, but that is hardly unique, Balkansky said.
"It happened often in our early history with other vendors," he said. "Microsoft didn't support VMware until last year. But time is on our side. Responsible companies, and Oracle is a responsible company, need to support their software on whatever infrastructures customers want to run their software."
Oracle did not respond to a request for comment.