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VMware market share is high in a small pool of virtualization

Storage expert Jon Toigo explains how VMware is the market leader, and why virtualization growth statistics seem more impactful than they truly are.

What is the VMware market share? Is VMware currently the dominating hypervisor out there?

I read the same stuff everyone reads, and it's approximately a 56% market share for VMware -- so you think, "They're the winner." But in January of last year, IDC and Gartner both announced that only about 17% to 20% of all servers deployed were running virtualization. So while the VMware market share is 56%, making it the leader, it's in a small pond. It's only 20% of the servers that are out there that are even running virtualization. I was on a call with a financial analyst, and he said they aren't prepared to give a high evaluation to some of these hypervisor software plays until they see how many people renew their software licenses. The statistics are including in the number of servers counted as running virtualization everybody who buys a server, because they are running with either Hyper-V or VMware on it to begin with. So the software is already there, and the hypervisor vendors don't charge you to use it for the first year. How many people actually gear up and pay for the software in year two?

The other thing that's kind of weird is that IDC said, back in 2011, that there were about 21 exabytes of external storage in the world, and that's a lot. And they were anticipating a 30% to 40% growth curve in capacity demands. In other words, people would be adding 30% or 40% more storage year over year. And that was going to be a lot -- it would get you to about 40 exabytes by 2014. Then last year, in the middle of the year, IDC said environments that are running VMware are going to grow by 350% per year. Gartner came out about a month later and said that, in environments where there's server virtualization, storage capacity demand is going to increase by 650% per year. Now if you do the math on this, and the whole world is as virtualized as the vendors would want you to believe it is, you're looking at 218 exabytes of storage required by 2014. That would bankrupt just about every company on the planet. So, again, you have to take all these numbers with a grain of salt.

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