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OpenStack not yet a mature competitor, says VMware CEO

Alex Scroxton

VMware CEO Paul Maritz has dismissed Rackspace's OpenStack cloud computing project as "relatively immature" and not yet a competitive threat to the vSphere environment, saying that VMware's greater, nearer-term challenge will come from Microsoft.

Speaking on a conference call marking VMware's first quarter results, Maritz said: "We're certainly aware of OpenStack and aware that there's a fair amount of interest in it from various parties, which is not surprising ... so it is highly unlikely that we would be left alone to have that opportunity all to ourselves."

However, he added, OpenStack should not be dismissed entirely: "History teaches us that typically in the long-term your toughest competition comes from a new company building on new technology, and for that reason we take all of the competing technologies very seriously."

The OpenStack Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform, a JV between Rackspace and NASA that has attracted interest from many industry players including Cisco, Dell, HP and IBM, saw its most recent release - dubbed Essex - on 5 April. Microsoft, meanwhile, released its System Center 2012 management tool earlier this week to positive early reviews.

For VMware, strengthening sales and high demand for virtualisation and cloud technology pushed the firm to a new record quarter, with sales up 25% to $1.06bn (£656m)  and net income for Q1 2012 rising to $191m, compared to $126m this time last year.

The UK was singled out as a strong demand generator for the firm, particularly compared to the rest of Europe, where like its peers VMware is closely monitoring the Eurozone debt crisis. Overall, VMware made $570m of sales internationally, and $485m in the US.

Licence sales for Q1 came in at $482m, up 15% on Q1 2011, while services revenues - including maintenance and professional services, were up 35% to $573m.

Looking back at the quarter, executive officer Mark Peek noted the first birthday of the Cloud Foundry platform, which has been downloaded over 75,000 times in its first 12 months, and the growth of VMware's Service Provider Programme, which now comprises 8,000 partners in 150 countries.

The firm recently added US comms outfit AT&T to its list of cloud service providers, joining a roster including firms such as Colt, CSC and Dell among others, and last week launched a new licence and support entitlement management tool called My VMware, which is designed to streamline customer and partner interaction.

Conference call transcript courtesy: Seeking Alpha


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