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In an interview at the conference, VMware President and COO Carl Eschenbach said VMware's dominant virtualization market position has effectively unseated Microsoft in the data center.
"They have been extracted above VMware," he said of Microsoft. "So we already, I fundamentally believe, enjoy a very unique platform perspective or control plane perspective in the industry."
"Why go back and have the potential of that blue screen take over your data center again," asked Eschenbach. "[Microsoft] works great on top of VMware. I love Microsoft. I love Microsoft apps. They run beautifully on top of the VMware software-defined data center."
Eschenbach also criticized what he called Microsoft's give-it-away-for-free" HyperV virtualization hypervisor strategy. "You know how much it costs?" he asked. "It is free. So I don't know how you make margin off of free."
Rich Baldwin, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego, Calif.-based VMware and Microsoft partner, said he sees Microsoft making inroads into the VMware installed base with its HyperV product. "I don't see that [blue screen of death] happening much anymore," said Baldwin. "I think that's passe. That's the best thing VMware can come up with right now because Microsoft is on the attack. Microsoft is gaining ground and becoming much more relevant in the hypervisor space at a much lower cost."
Baldwin said he sees both VMware and Microsoft with a place in the virtualization market. "We are doing both of them," he said. "Windows and Microsoft will be around for a long haul. When you look at the data center, [Microsoft] Server 2012 has really taken hold. It's a great product."
Dan Molina, CTO for Nth Generation, said one advantage Microsoft has in the virtualization battle with VMware is "much deeper visibility into the applications space" with a single pane of glass view to application performance. That said, Molina emphasized, that VMware has "pioneered" the software-defined data center, which other vendors are adopting as the buzz word of choice as the data center transformation battle heats up.