Although VMware and Red Hat might have seemed to be best buddies at last week's LinuxCon, this week it's become obvious that Red Hat is locked and loaded and has VMware in its sites. During a week when the suits at the virtualization company would doubtlessly like attention focused on Las Vegas and its VMWorld 2016 users' conference, Red Hat has been stealing the headlines on just about every major tech site with news of its own virtualization products.
The attention centers on RHV (for Red Hat Virtualization) 4.0, which was released on August 24, the last day of LinuxCon. This timing gives the open source company something of a PR one-two punch. It made news with the dyed-in-the-wool open source crowd at LinuxCon, and is now stealing VMware's thunder, not only by announcing a new competitive product but by making it perfectly clear that it's targeting VMware users.
This is nothing new. Red Hat, not unlike everyone else offing virtualization technology, has been attempting to poach VMware's customers since the days when it first began focusing on the enterprise. The problem it faced was that while it could compete on price, VMware always managed to stay ahead of the game with its technology. That's changed with the release of RHV, a rebranding of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, which is competitive with VMware's offerings on a feature-by-feature bases, with some added advantages not available in VMware's products.
Red Hat's move comes at a time when VMware is vulnerable in other areas as well. The company has been acquired by Dell, and although the computer maker has promised that VMware will remain independent, there have already been shakeups in the ranks. The company's president and COO, Carl Eschenbach, left to join the venture capital firm Sequoia Capital in March, and Martin Casado, general manager for networking and security, left in February. In a restructuring centered around the acquisition, VMware laid off 800 employees early this year. Concerns about the company's direction loom, and will most likely remain until Dell has been at the reins for a while.
VMware is also facing pressure from Amazon's AWS and Microsoft Azure, as cloud utilization in many ways reduces the need for virtualization. The company has a lackluster record in the cloud, which was hit further by the recent restructuring that reduced staff at its vCloud Air unit. However, on Monday, it announced Cloud Foundation, which like vCloud Air is a software bundle for use in cloud implementations.
Microsoft has also been going after VMware's customers with its Hyper-V technology, but Red Hat probably holds the better hand. Customers might be reluctant to trade one proprietary license for another when there's an open source solution available.