VMware Reaches Out

At its VMworld Europe 2008 conference going on this week on the sunny shores of Cannes, France, VMware announced a handful of agreements that will have it bundling its ESX 3i Hypervisor with several of the top server vendors.

Within 60 days, you can reasonably expect to see VMware's server virtualization layer bundled with the latest server units from IBM, Dell, HP and Fujitsu Siemens. "Customers can now get VMware pre-integrated and pre-configured for the hardware platform of their choice for immediate standalone server consolidation," said VMware's president and CEO Diane Greene in a prepared statement.

Besides spreading the word and the hypervisor, having the servers from those VMware partners bundled with VMware ESX 3i hypervisor will also serve to keep the door open for customers who might be interested in upgrading to the complete VMware Infrastructure 3 suite. The ESX 3i hypervisor itself is based on VMware's core virtualization technology. It boasts the smallest footprint at 32MB, and is also the only completely OS-independent platform out there.

Are you virtualizing your server farm? What about your desktops? What are the primary benefits to virtualization that you're seeing -- consolidation, security, savings? Let me know at llow@redmondmag.com.

Hello? Are We Reaching You?
Not content to merely start blanketing the electronic world with advertising, Microsoft wants to test the performance of any online ads it accepts. Redmond plans to start soon a test program called Engagement Mapping.

The Engagement Mapping testing program looks at everything that leads up to a customer actually clicking on "Add to Cart." Telling advertisers, or potential advertisers, how much it knows about consumer behavior and how their online ad program is likely to work makes for a compelling sales pitch.

It's not really surprising that Microsoft wants to make sure it's getting the maximum bang for its advertising buck. Last year, it scooped up the online advertising agency and marketing company aQuantive for a mere $6 billion. This acquisition was the biggest volley to date in its struggle to get an upper hand in the online ad market. It won't have to wait long; the Engagement Mapping program goes into beta on March 1.

"Our Engagement Mapping approach conveys how each ad exposure -- whether display, rich media or search, seen multiple times on multiple sites and across many channels -- influenced an eventual purchase," said Brian McAndrews, senior vice president of Microsoft's advertiser and publisher solutions (and former CEO of aQuantive), in a prepared statement. McAndrews planned to announce the Engagement Mapping program this week at the Interactive Advertising Bureau conference.

Seems like there are new media opportunities and chances for companies to throw ads at us every day. Does the convergence of technology and advertising make you cringe? Where are the lines drawn, or where should they be drawn? I'll be the sole market for your message at llow@redmondmag.com.

Yahoo Still Cooking Up New Ideas
Even though it sits squarely in the crosshairs of Microsoft, Yahoo is continuing to spice up and improve the user experience and its value proposition for other partners. Yesterday, it introduced a service called Buzz, which will be a user-driven mechanism for compiling the most popular news items on the Web. Once there's enough feedback, Yahoo plans to include several of these most popular pieces on its main page in hopes of driving traffic.

Buzz will work like other viewer-driven news aggregation services, in which viewers weigh in on the stories and items they found most informative or entertaining. Instead of just listing the most-popular stories, though, Yahoo wants to include content from the items appearing on the "Buzz list" on the Yahoo main page.

Yahoo hopes to initially work with more than 100 content providers, including Newsweek, People, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today and other online-specific sites and blogs. Yahoo has already successfully tested Buzz by running some sample content from Esquire magazine, which doubled Esquire's traffic for the month. Eventually, Yahoo would want any and every content provider that posts news on the Web to participate.

Do you like these kinds of services? Do you participate? Do you think this sort of "greatest hits" approach to news lists would increase Yahoo's value? Let me know at llow@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Lafe Low is the editorial liaison for ECG Events.

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