Summary:

VMware used the past couple VMworld events to push visionary cloud strategies, but this year, the virtualization giant merely lived up to expectations — and possibly narrowed the competition gap.

Having just published a report on VMware and endured the barrage of VMworld announcements, I’m probably due to share my post-conference thoughts. As I detail in my weekly column for GigaOM Pro, from a cloud computing perspective, I’m underwhelmed.

For the most part, we saw what we expected from VMware. It delivered vCloud Director and announced a forthcoming PaaS-like solution, called vFabric, as well as expanded on its service-provider business with the vCloud Datacenter Service. The first two weren’t surprising at all, given how closely industry watchers have been watching “Project Redwood” and the ever-growing SpringSource platform.

However, I think VMware’s most-interesting announcements were also the most underreported: the vCloud Datacenter Service and the acquisitions of Integrien and TriCipher. The former is a big deal because it gives service-provider partners a secure, robust offering that will appeal to enterprise customers more than vCloud Express ever will.

Regarding Integrien and TriCipher, the moves are hardly earthshaking, but they do show that VMware has a vision beyond delivering applications and infrastructure. However, any management vendor that wants to be taken seriously in the cloud simply has to have a firm grasp on cross-system monitoring and identity management. VMware already has the former with Hyperic, and Integrien takes it another step with its focus on data correlation and analysis.

At this point, VMware’s big goal should be maintaining its status as a cloud computing thought leader and innovator, which means keeping a safe distance between itself and the competition. That didn’t necessarily happen this week. CA, Citrix, Eucalyptus, Red Hat and Microsoft all took steps to show they’re playing in the same ballpark.

VMware certainly advanced its cloud vision at VMworld, but it didn’t do a lot to demonstrate that it’s still several steps ahead of the competition. Perhaps I’ll change my tune once I’ve had time to digest all the news and connect the dots, or perhaps I expect too much after the past couple of visionary VMworld events, but, for now, I feel like the competition narrowed the gap during VMware’s biggest week of the year.

Read the full post here.

Photo courtesy Flickr user cote.

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