VMware dominates the server virtualization space and is coming on strong on the desktop side as well. That momentum helped catapult VMware to victory in the Desktop and Server Virtualization category of the 2012 CRN Annual Report Card survey.
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VMware trounced Oracle, the only other vendor included in the survey, by a wide margin in 17 of 18 criteria. Oracle narrowly edged out VMware in the managing channel conflict criterion.
VMware's dominance was especially strong in the product innovation subcategory, where it beat Oracle by 23.2 points. VMware did not fare too shabbily in the support and partnership subcategories either, racking up wins with a double-digit margin of victory in both subcategories.
The most underrated aspect of VMware is the automation it builds into its products, said Keith Norbie, vice president and chief technology officer at Nexus Information Systems, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based VMware partner.
One example, he said, is Storage Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), a vSphere feature that automatically moves applications around in a pool of machines to optimize performance. "This is a very technical feature that allows you to start creating an ecosystem where you can develop classification of different virtual machines and tiers with different service levels," Norbie said.
In addition to storage DRS, VMware's new vCloud Suite 5.1 includes VM-based replication, enhanced vMotion and orchestration between hosts and storage, all done automatically, Norbie said.
Oracle has been making steady progress in remaking itself as a more channel-friendly vendor. At Oracle OpenWorld in early October, President Mark Hurd discussed the vendor's goal of offering leading products from data storage and servers, to virtualization and database software, up through middleware applications: "Our objective is for each of those levels of the stack, each of those layers of the stack, to be the absolute best at the job they perform."