The virtualization opportunity/threat for Linux vendors

Virtualization is shaking up the enterprise server market, and it's unclear how the server vendors will benefit unless they eat their young on this one. For newcomers like Ubuntu and Novell, they have the benefit of also being able to eat the young...of

More good stuff from The VAR Guy today, this time on the likelihood that virtualization is starting to harm server sales:

Each time The VAR Guy speaks with a CIO or solutions provider, he hears about yet another server consolidation project. Through virtualization and more effective storage management, companies can simplify their data centers while raising server utilization rates....The VAR Guy doesn't think the economy is destroying server sales. Rather, businesses are becoming far more efficient at leveraging the servers they already have.

This is difficult for an established server vendor to accept, but I suspect it's an opportunity for any new entrant to the market. On the Linux side, this includes both Novell and Ubuntu. Yes, Novell has been around for a long time, but its server sales are still nascent. As for Ubuntu, its primary task is to take a stick to the incumbents. Incorporating virtualization into its business model may help.

Thinking out loud here, but I wonder if Ubuntu, which has been getting into the virtualization game, couldn't ship as an "Ubuntu Mini Cloud," which would be an out-of-the-box virtualization server to allow an array of open-source and proprietary services to run on top? Ubuntu could charge more for this virtualization-friendly version. Customers would pay more but would save plenty by running one copy of the slightly more expensive version rather than multiple copies of the cheaper version.

Novell could do the same with SUSE.

This would be difficult for Red Hat (or Microsoft) to achieve because both are already on a frenetic Linux server unit pace. Having said that, Red Hat seems to be hoping that by lowering the price of virtualization vis-a-vis VMware it can maintain its own pricing. Could be.

One thing is clear: Virtualization is shaking up the enterprise server market, and it's unclear how the server vendors will benefit unless they eat their young on this one. For newcomers like Ubuntu and Novell, they have the benefit of also being able to eat the young...of the established vendors.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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