VMware Wants To Bury Microsoft's Blue Screen Of Death

VMware wants to bury once and for all the dreaded Microsoft Blue Screen of death with the robust VMware software-defined data center product set.

In fact, VMware Chief Marketing Officer Rick Jackson Tuesday asked hundreds of VMware partners at the vendor's Partner Exchange Conference in Las Vegas for a "moment of silence," with religious music cued up against a backdrop of a grave marker titled "Blue Screen of Death. Microsoft Corporation. 1975-2013. Highly controversial from the moment it appeared this piece has been known to evoke frustration, anger and even rage in viewers by undermining many hours of work in a single instant."

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"There are some things that just need to be made extinct," said Jackson, referring to the blue screen that signifies a major system error and has come to be regarded as the scarlet letter of computing.

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"Who hasn't seen the infamous blue screen of death?" asked Jackson as he rallied partners to simplify IT operations by virtualizing storage, networking and security using the full VMware software-defined data center product set. "Because, you see, this is the current state of the data center. Now the physical appearance of the data center might be cleaned up, but underneath that facade it might as well be a big mess of complexity."

The VMware blue screen of death attack comes with Microsoft stepping up its battle to win share for its HyperV virtualization hypervisor product, which is bundled with Windows Server 2012. Microsoft's view is that Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 include all the necessary components for building and running a private cloud. "VMware can read the writing on the wall," said a Microsoft spokesperson in reply to the VMware blue screen of death missive. "We've trumped them on private cloud at a better price and we have a real public cloud to offer customers."

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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.