I ran across this article from Alex Barrett over at SearchServerVirtualization.com yesterday and found it succinctly reflects the current competitive environment and today’s customer decision processes around server virtualization.
Specifically for a long time, most pundits and market watchers have been convinced that the size of the price tag really didn’t matter when choosing a virtualization provider. The prevailing view was that demand for cool new features would continue unabated at the early market pace (can anyone say ‘housing bubble’?). While I would agree that price didn’t matter, in my opinion, that view overlooks the natural evolution of products in any marketplace.
Since that time, the competition in the virtualization market has heated up considerably, the demand curve for new features has flattened (as expected) and customers are struggling under reduced budgets in the face of a global economic slowdown. In this environment, the only remaining basis for competition is price.
As the customer and analyst in this article point out, today XenServer stands toe to toe with VMware when comparing the most important – or driving – technical features that a customer uses to base his or her decision. As the article intimates, it seems that not only are customers increasingly interested in virtualization as a cost saving tool, but they are also more apt to adopt the full featured, enterprise class most cost effective virtualization platform.
With regards to the last paragraph, the ISV support issue – I couldn’t agree more. VMware ran into the same concerns initially as well, but over time ISV’s were cajoled to support the virtualization by their customers. I believe that same dynamic is playing out with XenServer. Luckily for us, this ground has already been plowed so support should come even faster this time around. Stay tuned – I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
In the interim, to accelerate the support process Citrix recently set up a Community Verified Site whereby customers can put their own stamp of approval on any third party product they are using with any Citrix product. I encourage everyone to check it out and submit their applications -this sort of community support ultimately benefits you.