VMware Faces Its First Major Test

VMware may (emphasis on may) be about to run into its first serious headwind. The company disappointed financial analysts earlier this week when it reported revenues slightly lower than expectations, punishing the stock (see Wednesday's Redmond Report by my colleague Lafe Low).

Some analysts now classify VMware as a "show-me" stock until the company next reports in April. But by then, Microsoft will have delivered its long-awaited Windows Server 2008, which contains a healthy scoop of virtualization built-in. And you can expect Redmond to mount one heck of a promotional campaign for the product over the course of this year, likely touting its virtualization capabilities as though they were the first to ever be delivered. Of course, this could actually help VMware, too, under the "all ships rising with the tide" rule.

But the other shark in the virtualization tank, Citrix/XenSource, will hardly be sitting on its hands over the next 12 months, either. The company looks like it could be on the verge of piecing together an interesting mix of Windows-based and open source-based (think XenSource) virtualization products and strategies that will have broad appeal over the course of the year. To boot, the company appears to be strengthening its technical relationship with Microsoft on the Windows side.

The other worry some Wall Streeters expressed was that corporate spending could be curtailed as we teeter on the brink of a recession. But such a pullback in spending would hurt VMware's competitors, as well -- yes, even Microsoft. Besides, virtualization spending could actually increase during a recession given it could save corporations significant dollars by allowing them to cut back on server hardware.

But VMware has so far proven itself to be not just visionary but competitively tough. The company has a very capable and forward-looking technical leader in CEO Diane Greene who has a well-thought out strategic plan for her company.

VMware helped out its cause a bit yesterday by announcing a shiny, new Virtual Desktop Manager 2, which better lets users hook up their virtual desktops in the data center, as well as giving administrators a more cost-effective way to manage virtual desktops.

Symantec Study: IT Has Better Focus on Risk Management
Some 63 percent of IT pros expect one major IT failure each year, with 53 percent of those failures caused by process issues, according to the second "Symantec IT Risk Management Report," just released.

That report reveals a clear trend, however: There's been an uptick in the "awareness" of the critical importance of IT risk management. That's the good news. However, while more IT pros take a more thoughtful, balanced and, perhaps surprisingly, less security-focused approach, there remain "misunderstandings of IT risk management" that the report concludes can often lead to IT failures. That's the bad news.

The report shared some fun facts and figures on why some IT pros may not be getting a full night's sleep. For instance, in talking about various type of IT failures, the report said some 69 percent gird themselves for one minor IT incident a month, while some 25 percent fully expect a data loss incident once a year.

The report was based on 400 surveys and interviews with IT executives, Symantec officials said.

Malware Still Having Its Way with Microsoft Graphical Environments
And here is yet another reason why IT admins, particularly those specializing in Windows-based environments, are up nights. According to developer BitDefender, malware that successfully invades Windows graphics environments dominated the company's most recent Top 10 Malware List.

What's the reason for Windows graphics continuing to be a pushover? According to the report, it's the large number of unpatched copies of Windows that have been pirated. (The pirates, of course, don't download patches lest they be detected by the Microsoft police.)

This perhaps is the best reason I've come across recently for IT pros to take a more aggressive stand against pirating in their own companies. The illegal actions of a wayward few can easily expose an entire organization's mission-critical data to hackers. Before admins start blaming the technical shortcomings of Microsoft, they should make sure their own house is in order.

BitDefender's Top 10 Most Wanted List is as follows:

  • Exploit.Win32.WMF-PFV (9.67%)
  • Win32.Netsky.P@mm (4.35%)
  • Spyware.Pws.A (3.97%)
  • Win32.Worm.Sohanat.AJ (2.89%)
  • Trojan.Dropper.RNY (1.43%)
  • Win32.NetSky.D@mm (1.25%)
  • Win32.Netsky.AA@mm (1.19%)
  • Trojan.Kobcka.CG (1.07%)
  • Win32.Nyxem.E@mm (1.03%)
  • Trojan.Pandex.AC (0.86%)

Mailbag: Securing IM, Gates' Philanthropy
Lafe asked readers yesterday what they're doing to protect themselves from the growing amount of IM exploits. Here are Russ' suggestions:

I've been an ICQ network user for years (I have a low seven-digit number, if that gives you an idea). I have never once gotten any kind of malicious message via IM. Easiest way to curtail the problem: Set your IM client to not respond to users not on your contact list, don't auto receive files, don't click on links out of the context of the conversation and keep your PC's anti-virus software up-to-date. That last one is inexcusable not to do.
-Russ

And another reader questions Bill Gates' "creative capitalism" idea:

Mr. Gates suffers from a common affliction among men whose misdeeds come home in the twilight of life. He can afford to be socially responsible now; he has already wrought his havoc. He should take a page from Carnegie. At least the buildings last for a long time. Most of what Bill is selling is Bill. What exactly would he know about caring for others?

Like most obscenely rich, non-working humans, he has no sense of real life. I am talking about men and women who work 10 or 12 hours a day for less then his valet makes, people trying to raise kids on those terms and giving those children a better chance. He wants to cure AIDS and malaria, but he has no notion how someone else will feed the survivors if he does. He raises $50M to fight those diseases, but he could have simply written a $50M check and let them use the other money to develop sustainable agriculture in those places. If you want to sell this twit as some sort of moral compass, he needs to get a clue.

Tell him to buy a casino in Europe and live the life of a jet-set playboy. At least then, we can be jealous. It may be ugly but at least it doesn't sound stupid. I find it rather eerie that a billionaire can look so pathetic, and be comfortable that way. No wonder Microsoft never managed cool.
-Anonymous

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to escannell@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Ed Scannell is the editor of Redmond magazine.

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