Winning Market Share

Recently I was reading Seth Godin’s blog, which has nothing to do with virtualization, but everything to do about the mindset of a consumer.  He points out something very basic in his entry, that Microsoft needs to address in Hyper-V and other virtualization management apps.  I won’t reiterate his whole entry but the last two lines point to what Microsoft really needs provide to truly make market gains.

“The chances that you can top a trusted provider on the very thing the provider is trusted for are slim indeed.”

“Instead, you gain converts by winning at something the existing provider didn’t think was so important. “

To some degree, the standalone Hyper-V Server R2 gives the consumer something new,  A free hypervisor with capabilities which its main competitor does not provide in its free offering i.e. Live Migration of VMs.  Where as this is a valid product differentiation, it is not a feature differentiation.  This has been tried in the past, offering something free that used to be a licensing cost.  This usually does not have staying power.  At best this is just a momentary advantage that competitors soon follow i.e. Virtual Server 2005, VMware Server, Hyper-V, XenServer

So much of Microsoft’s server virtualization strategy has been to compare itself to VMware on a feature by feature basis.  To some degree I think this was important. If they came out with a product that diverged too much from established definition of server virtualization, no one would take them seriously in adopting the product.  Now however, since the feature set between the products is converging, where do they go next?  VMware has grand plans to encompass the total datacenter.  Whether this plan succeeds or not, is still to be debated, but it is a unique product offering.  What will Microsoft do?  I see them making inroads into the small to medium businesses with the current product set, but for those that are enterprise customers, will there be any real innovation?

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