Can Oracle topple VMware in virtualization?

In recent days, Oracle has made statements indicating that the company handily beats VMware when it comes to breadth and depth of virtualization offerings. After all, with the Sun acquisition complete, Oracle now owns the whole gamut from servers and storage to the Oracle VM virtualization stack. I’m not going to go into full product comparison mode in this posting but will say that it’s been interesting watching Oracle grow its virtualization strategy through a number of acquisitions a la Microsoft. First, there was the Virtual Iron acquisition. At the time, it seemed to take Virtual Iron out of the game for a while. More recently, the Sun acquisition has added the hardware component to the mix which includes servers, thin clients, storage and a vast array of other technology.

I think it’s apparent that Oracle has an uphill battle when it comes to taking on VMware. To back up this claim, take a look at Gartner’s Magic Quadrant that lists all of the market’s virtualization players in one nice chart. VMware is far and away the only player that Gartner considers having both the ability to execute and a complete vision for virtualization. While they are distant seconds, both Citrix and Microsoft both have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to competing against VMware.

Oracle VM, however – as a standalone product – sits in Gartner’s niche players quadrant although the company’s solution is poised to break into the “able to execute” square any time. That said, Gartner obviously still believes that Oracle has a battle.

I will certainly say that Oracle is right in one thing: when it comes to a complete virtualization platform that includes single-vendor servers, storage and software, Oracle is the clear choice, but it’s far from the only choice. Consider the VCE coalition Vblock for example. Vblock provide these “units of infrastructure” with support a single phone call away. As these kinds of partnerships expand, I expect to see more and more uptake of these packaged solutions.

Will Oracle topple VMware? If VMware keeps bringing the goods and they don’t price themselves out of competition, I can’t see it happening in the near future. Of course, there was a day when Novell was the king of the LAN, too, so who knows what the future holds?

What do you think? Can Oracle truly complete against VMware in a meaningful way?


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