VMware's Partner Exchange kicks off today in Las Vegas. I'm not at the conference, but I'm getting updates via twitter from folks who are attending. Interesting updates are coming from Donn Bullock about the desktop virtualization element of the opening keynote. I'm also excited when the lowly desktop gets center stage, and VMware is doing a great job rallying their partners around their desktop momentum. But it's important to remember that data in marketing slides needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
For example, Bullock tweeted that VMware projected the desktop market size to be 650m PCs, which is 10x the server size. (I agree) He also mentioned that VMware said 1% of that is virtualized today. (I agree)
A later photo from Bullock shows that VMware is claiming "over 1 million" View seats sold.
Of course we don't know if that "over 1 million" number means 1,000,001 or 1.1m or 1.4m or what. But my guess is that it's less than 1.2 or so or else VMware would have said 1.2. The problem is that this slide is titled "VMware is the Leader in Desktop Virtualization" and the first bullet is "most proven, mature, deployed technology." Really? My quick math shows that if 1% of 650m desktops are virtualized, that's 6.5m current. But VMware only has 1m or so, which is about a 16% market share. So how does that make them the leader?
(By the way, the fact that there are 8800+ customers for these 1 million seats just goes to show that almost no one is really deploying this at scale yet.)
In reality, the "most proven, mature, deployed technology" is probably referring to ESX & vSphere rather than View—a theory which is proven by the next slide:
The speaker said that VMware was preferred over Citrix or Microsoft for desktop virtualization, and as proof used the bar chart on the right. The title is "In deploying desktop virtualization, who is/are the vendor(s) you are most likely to purchase from?"
Of course the results show VMware in the #1 position. But the fact that the question allows multiple answers (since the question phrasing is plural and the bars add up to more than 100%) means that most users probably checked the "VMware" box since they'll be using vSphere, and then also checked the box for the desktop virtualization product they'll run on top of vSphere. Heck, look how big Microsoft's bar is! They don't even have a real desktop virtualization solution, which suggests that users checked the "Microsoft" box because they're using Windows. So a customer planning to use VMware View would probably check "VMware" and maybe "Microsoft." A customer planning to use Citrix XenDesktop on vSphere would check "Citrix", "VMware", and possibly "Microsoft," etc. The point is it's obvious that VMware would come out on top here.
Make no mistake: The vast majority of today's VDI environments run on ESX and vSphere. VMware deserves all the credit and kudos for that. But this presentation is them furthering the idea that since they're the best server virtualization and hypervisor company, they will also be the best desktop virtualization company. And that's a cognitive bias that can be dangerous. Desktops are not servers. Period.
(By the way, VMware very well could win the desktop game too. My point is that they don't "automatically" win--nor are they even automatically better--just because they're winning the server game.)