Virtual Doublespeak

Don't let an immature market stand in virtualization's way

February 7, 2006

1 Min Read
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5:45 PM -- While many think journalism figures highly among the dark arts, I'd like to point you in the direction of IT marketers who can be shiftier with language than the most expensive defense lawyer.

Several years ago in the early days of the Sonet market, a Nortel exec explained the vendor's relative lack of products with a marvelous bit of doublespeak, noting "We don't want to overhang the market."

Translation: "Holy crap! Our competitors are months ahead of us on this one."

VMware's Bryan Byun gave the idea of para-virtualization a similar back-of-the-hand today. (See VMware's Virtual Appetizer.) Para-virtualization, recall, tweaks the existing OS on the server to support virtualization, and is already being used or offered by Xen and Virtual Iron Software. According to Byun, demand for para-virtualization "isn't stable."

I'm not actually even sure what that means. But I've tracked virtualization long enough to know that a lack of stability -- market overhang, if you will -- isn't about to stop a vendor hellbent on pushing a product.Maybe VMware's competitors aren't making any money off para-virtualization. Maybe customers are as confused about how it works or whether they can afford it -- a common reaction to most virtualization products out there. Or maybe VMware just isn't ready with something that's viable enough even for alpha testing. I just wish the marketers would tell it like it is a little more often.

Best to leave the real obfuscation to those of us equipped with spellcheck, an online Bartlett's, and a copydesk that wonders what it's done to deserve all this.

Terry Sweeney, Editor in Chief, Byte and Switch

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