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VMware feeling the open-source sting

VMware is getting cannibalized by open source. I'm shedding tears for the proprietary would-have-been-king.

A range of great analyses today of what went wrong with VMware. In case you missed it, the company lost 25 percent of its market valuation and a CEO. Many are suggesting that pressure from open source is the culprit, and it seems a very plausible rationale.

Dana is willing to believe that VMware's new Microsoft-esque CEO may be able to "turn things around with a proprietary strategy...[demonstrating] that management was to blame," but he doesn't seem to think this is likely.

OStatic is even more emphatic that VMware was living on borrowed time as open-source vendors like Red Hat, Novell, and Sun embed virtualization technology into their operating systems: "Virtualization, is, at its core, headed for software utility status, and will likely be wrapped into operating systems, and increasingly adopted in open source form for free."

My colleague, James Urquhart, pinged me tonight to suggest that "Management is where its at. VMWare has good technology there (see B-Hive), but they only do it for their stuff." This is perhaps sustainable if VMware had a way to embed its technology everywhere, but arguably the operating system vendors are much better positioned to do this, and it will be their management offerings that encroach upon and eventually take VMware's market position.

It was great while it lasted, VMware. Who knows? Maybe it can last a few more years. But I wouldn't bank on it. Neither, apparently, would Wall Street.