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Thinking Out Loud: Is VMware Legitimizing the Competition?

I was reading a completely unrelated post on Alessandro’s site this morning about how VKernel is reacting to VMware’s release of CapacityIQ when a thought occurred to me: is VMware legitimizing the competition?

Here’s the excerpt from Alessandro’s post that started me thinking:

And of course VKernel now is also in hurry to clarify that support for Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer is coming.

Now, let me ask you this question: what is one of the largest complaints about products like Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer? It’s the size of the partner ecosystem. Customers are a bit more hesitant to deploy these other solutions in part because there aren’t as many partner solutions out there to complement the virtualization solutions.

So, as VMware expands into new markets like capacity management and monitoring, backups, etc., former VMware-only partners are forced to adapt their products to work with Hyper-V and XenServer in order to protect themselves. This causes the size of the partner ecosystem for VMware’s competitors to grow, eliminating that complaint and removing one of VMware’s competitive advantages. In effect, VMware’s own actions are building out the partner ecosystem for their competitors and thus legitimizing the competition.

Am I crazy? Am I wrong? What is a company like VMware to do, if anything? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

UPDATE: Some readers have pointed out, rightfully so, that “legitimizing” isn’t really the best word to use here. Perhaps “assisting” or “helping” is a better word?

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