Local VMware users react to Greene's ousting

Users still have confidence in the company's strategy

New Zealand VMware customers contacted by Computerworld believe the departure of founding VMware CEO Diane Greene is due to the changing competitive landscape of the virtualisation market.

Auckland University IT services director Stephen Whiteside says Greene’s sudden exit and replacement with Paul Maritz “doesn’t mean a lot for us re the future of VMware — we still have confidence in their strategy and approach”.

He believes the change at the top may be linked to the release last month of Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualisation product.

“There are different market pressures and issues now than when VMware was founded, and there may be different skills required [in a CEO].”

Whiteside said last week that the university — which uses VMware’s ESX Server 3.5 and several other VMware products, and is a reference site for VMware — hadn’t received any official communication from the company about Greene’s departure.

Symon Thurlow, technical director at backup specialist Plan-b, says with Greene having steered VMware since it was a start-up 10 years ago, “maybe things got to the point where the business has outgrown her”.

Her departure “doesn’t dent my faith in VMware”, he says.

“It’s very robust and their roadmap going forward is great for what we need.”

Plan-b uses VMware’s VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure).

Daniel Kenna, systems specialist at the Manukau Institute of Technology, says Greene is a great visionary.

“Her views must not have reflected the board’s. It may mean a couple of things — one, they may need someone more aggressive like Paul to take on the battle Microsoft and Citrix are going to bring to the market, or maybe they feel they have a good enough product, good staff and enough market share not to worry about Microsoft and Citrix and want to turn this into a cash cow — that’s happened before with other companies,” he speculates.

“Diane may just have been too technology-focused and not money-focused, and of course shareholders want to make money.

“It’s hard to say without facts but it will be interesting to see what move or changes the company makes and how much it will affect people like me in terms of cost.”

Kenna says these are his personal views, not those of MIT.

VMware’s ESX Server, GSX Server and VMware Workstation are in use at MIT, as is its VMotion storage technology.

Microsoft’s Hyper-V was released globally on June 27.

Currently, it is only available as part of Windows Server 2008, but later this year it will be released as a stand-alone product.

Before the official release of Hyper-V, Microsoft conducted the Rapid Deployment Programme, an early adopter scheme. New Zealand hosting specialist Revera was one of the participants.

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