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Microsoft’s virtualization party

Microsoft wants customers and partners to know that it’s really, really REALLY ready to virtualize. So it’s hosting its “Get Virtual Now” event Monday.

It’s invited a few dozen of its best-friend vendors (if that’s not an oxymoron) to Bellevue for its big day.  Among the Platinum sponsors the usual suspects are well represented. Intel? Check. Dell? Hewlett-Packard? IBM? Hitachi Data Systems. Check, check, check and check. That makes sense. The server guys will claim their boxes are Hyper-V ready or Hyper-V capable or Hyper-V elite. Whatever the label is, it means little except in marketing terms.  (“Hey HP, what’s technologically different between this server today and your server last week? Nothing?” And so it goes.)

More interestingly, Sun Microsystems is also Platinum. Hmmm. Well Sun has its own virtualization story so here’s guessing that Microsoft will be at Sun’s event in perfect reciprocity. That means Windows will be a supported server OS on Sun’s stuff and Solaris will be a supported OS on Microsoft’s stuff. Perfect sense. Ain’t coopetition grand? Oracle? Not Platinum. Not Silver. Not there. Oracle is famously taking its own virtualization route.

Other Platinums: Novell, Microsoft’s new best friend forever (at least until the support certificates run out). Citrix is there. Duh. Among the lower tier Silvers are integration partners Accenture/Avanade; ISVs like BMC and Quest. What’s this EMC? Father of VMware? All there. VMware itself? Not there.

Does anyone think the September 8 date is mysterious given that VMWorld 2008 kicks off the following Monday? Didn’t think so. If nothing else, Microsoft has the whole counter programming thing down pat. VMware thus far owns server virtualization. And it offers much deeper and fuller functionality that Microsoft will be able to mimic for quite some time. However, Microsoft will offer less but for much less money, and that’s the way it has captured market after market.

The big M has got to wonder though, now that former Microsoft wonder Paul Maritz is the new VMware chief. If nothing else, Maritz knows how Microsoft attacks markets. And here’s betting he knows a lot more about Microsoft than that. And Maritz will take center stage in Las Vegas next Monday and tell a couple thousand partners why VMware should be the future, as well as the past, of virtualization.

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