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VMware Shifts Leadership

No technology subject over the past 18 months has elicited more opinion, prognostication, and idle chatter than virtualization. And ironically, the company at the very the center of this verbal storm is not the one that originated the technology (IBM) or those (including Sun and HP) that have extended it to other enterprise-class platforms, but the company that developed virtualization for Industry Standard x86 platforms: VMware.

An interesting confluence of events has heightened VMwares position in the media spotlight. First, the company enjoyed a memorable IPO last year and ended 2007 by earning over $1 billion in revenues for the first time. More provocatively, VMware stands firmly in the crosshairs of one of the tech industry’s ablest and most ambitious vendors, Microsoft, whose competing Hyper-V virtualization solution became available for download just a couple of weeks ago.

The importance of Diane Greene to VMware cannot be overstated. It is useful to remember that when the company arrived on the scene a decade ago there were serious concerns and debates about whether business IT should even be entrusted to Intel and AMD-based solutions.

At its inception, many considered VMware an eccentric niche player, at best. Instead, as the company’s fortunes rose with the tide of x86-based server sales, VMware became a poster child for stepping into the right place at the right time. During those years, Greene and the rest of VMware’s management stayed ahead of competitors by driving virtualization into new markets and capitalizing on emerging trends. For example, VMware’s server consolidation capabilities allowed the company to position itself as a leading green IT vendor, a point that Greene punctuated at a recent IT analyst event.

Since every virtualized physical server eliminates about 7KWH in annual power usage, she said, the total amount of energy saved by deployed VMware solutions is enough to power the entire country of Denmark.

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