Senior management at VMware have indicated that the company is ready for a fight if Microsoft wants to take them on in the virtualisation sphere.
VMware chief executive Paul Maritz, speaking at VMworld 2009 in San Francisco, was blunt in his assessment of the challenge from Microsoft and how he intends to beat it.
"Obviously Microsoft is a serious competitor. Virtualisation is not easy to do and it takes significant effort," he said. "Microsoft has been working on Hyper-V for five years, and is at a stage we were at three years ago. The way you deal with competitors is by producing a better value than they do."
Microsoft has been seriously worried by the success of VMware. Last year it released its Hyper-V virtualisation software ahead of schedule and dramatically undercut the price of VMware's package.
Microsoft was also a sponsor of last year's VMworld conference, but was barred from doing so this year as VMware considers the firm a serious competitor.
Maritz is well versed in Microsoft's competitive tactics. He spent 14 years at the company and played a key role in the development of Windows and Internet Explorer.
VMware argues that Microsoft came to the virtualisation field too late and is too tied to the principle that the operating system is the binding force behind virtualised computing.
"That's been a historic Microsoft strategy, and in this case it works very clearly against customer interests," said Raghu Raghuram, vice president of server business at VMware.
"By definition it constrains the solution to be a very narrow partitioning solution that you add on to Windows as opposed to a datacentre solution. That's why we think that solution is flawed from the get-go.
"The other interesting aspect of this is that every security vulnerability that affects the Microsoft operating system by implication will require you to look at your Hyper-V environment to see if there is impact, as opposed to an operating system-independent solution."
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