While Red Hat plays down the choice of the hypervisor, VMware has been playing down the importance of the OS -- Red Hat's chief source of subscription fees -- in the cloud stack.
In a conference held on Wednesday in San Francisco, VMware president and CEO Paul Maritz minimized the role that OSes play in virtualization-heavy data centers. Developers will be more focused on frameworks like Ruby on Rails and VMware's own Spring rather than on OSes, Maritz said. VMware is not completely forgetting about OSes, however.
Earlier this month, VMware announced a partnership with Red Hat competitor Novell to use that company's SUSE Enterprise Linux as the base OS for all of its virtual appliances. The company will also be offer the distribution to users of VMware's VSphere, so they can use it as a guest OS.
Beyond VMware, Whitehurst did not admit to seeing any other serious competitors in the cloud space, at least those that offer a full stack. He did recognize that Microsoft offers customers the ability to run their software both on premise and in the cloud with Azure, but downplayed Azure by saying that customers would fear being locked in by Azure's Microsoft-centric software stack.
In two or three years, Whitehurst predicts, virtualization and cloud tools will still be a minority of Red Hat's revenue, compared to subscription fees of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, though it will be a "substantial" minority of the revenue by then.
On Tuesday, Red Hat reported gains in both revenue and net income for its fiscal 2011 first quarter. It reported net income of US$24.1 million -- up from $18.5 million a year earlier -- and revenue of $209 million, of which $179 million was from subscription revenue.
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