Gartner: VMware the next Novell? Cloud to save the world?

There’s been two more-interesting-than-usual posts over at the Gartner blogs today:

Just a Thought; Will VMware become the next Novell?

“VMware owns the market, well above 90%, and continues to come out with more and more innovative products.  VMware has a loyal following of customers who see no reason to change direction – after all, the product works, the vision is sound, and the future is clear.  But lurking in the background is this little thing called hyper-V;  not as robust, or as tested as VMware, with almost no install base, and certainly not ready for prime time in most peoples minds.  However, it will be an integral part of Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 7 in 2010.”

And here’s my response:

Thanks for an insightful post – I definitely think you’re onto something here, and it’s not the first time I’ve said it either.

The thing is that the hypervisor is already commoditised. Worse, it’s free and there are various open source alternatives like Sun’s VirtualBox (which just released another major version yesterday). Then you’ve got Xen, KVM, etc. competing directly as well as physical hardware management tools coming down from above and containers/VPS’s eroding share from below. VMs may be all the rage today but the OS is overhead so there’s cloud platforms to think about too…

VMware’s main advantage is having a serious solution today which it can roll out to the large base of enterprise clients they have developed over the last decade. You can bet they’re busy making hay while the sun’s shining as it won’t be long before people realise they’re not the only show in town.

As you say it’s their market to keep, but I’m sure our enterprise clients will be happy to have a thriving competitive marketplace.

And the second:

The Cloud Will Save The World

“So, how does this all add up to the Cloud saving the world? My (admittedly clumsy) interpretation of Tainter is that as the world grows more complex, the only chance we have to head off the disintegration of modern society under the weight of complexity comes through technological leaps in the form of disruptive innovation. The hype around the Cloud provides some justification for the idea that it is disruptive. Yefim Natis and I (mostly Yefim) developed a research note in June that describes what we see as the Killer App – Application Platform-as-a-Service (APaaS) – on the horizon that will result in accelerated disruption.”

And my response:

Cloud computing is set to change the world at least as much as the Internet on which it is based did a few decades ago. Things we never would have imagined possible already are, and we’re just getting started.

That said, proponents of the precautionary principle will be fast to ask whether “disruptive innovation” is in fact “destructive innovation” and whether “accelerated disruption” is in fact “accelerated destruction”.

With accelerating change comes a raft of new risks – I for one would rather live in blissful ignorance than be interrupted by the discovery that the Large Hadron Collider was in fact capable of creating creating a black hole.

I, for one, welcome our new cloud computing overlords… now if only I had a spare $25k to sign up for the 9-week Graduate Student Program at the Singularity University which is “Preparing Humanity For Accelerating Technological Change“.