Novell loses many PlateSpin people, moves development to India

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Along with Vizioncore (acquired by Quest in January 2008) and a very few others, PlateSpin was one of the oldest and most successful VMware partner in the history of modern virtualization. But after the Novell acquisition, which took place in February 2008, the company lost much of its popularity.

Novell never really clarified its virtualization strategy and this is severely impacting the PlateSpin brand.
Besides the November 2006 interoperability agreement with Microsoft, the Novell moves in the virtualization space have been very weak: the company announced plans to release a stand-alone virtualization platform in March 2008 but it never came out, and renamed its management solution ZENworks in PlateSpin Orchestrate in December 2008.

This doesn’t seem enough to counter the many challenges that the company is facing in the highly competitive virtualization space:

  • Novell has no guarantees on the future of Xen development, which is deeply influenced by Citrix since the acquisition of XenSource in August 2007
  • The best alternative to Xen which Novell may want to adopt, KVM, is deeply influenced by its worst competitor, Red Hat, since the acquisition of Qumranet in September 2008
  • In the near future Novell will have a new dangerous competitor in the Xen virtualization space: Oracle, which now owns three Xen-based hypervisors (Oracle VM Server, Sun xVM Server and Virtual Iron)
  • The competitive advantage that PlateSpin accumulated is now matched by the newest products from Vizioncore and VMware, which also gives away for free a lot of technology.

On top of these challenges Novell is facing an additional major issue as many of the minds behind PlateSpin left the company in the recent months:

  • its CEO, Stephen Pollack, is now busy as advisor at Embotics and at Enomaly
  • its CTO, Paul Philp, is now working as Vice President of Products at dna13
  • its Director of Corporate Marketing, Mark Pileski, is now Vice President of Marketing at VMLogix
  • its Vice President of EMEA, Patrick Malaperiman, is now working as independent business development advisor
  • its EMEA Channel Director, Jason Jackson, is now working as Channel Director at Centrix Software
  • its Regional Director of Central & Eastern Europe, Lothar Esser, is now a Channel Manager at Vizioncore
  • its Senior Solutions Specialist, Jacob Ben-David, is now Technical Sales Engineer at VMLogix

Probably the are more that couldn’t track.

This exodus may depend on or may be the consequence of the fact that Novell moved the entire product development unit for PlateSpin Recon (formerly PowerRecon) in India, as has learned from trusted sources.

In both cases Novell has to stop this haemorrhage and describe its vision or its entire presence in the virtualization space will be soon questioned by partners, customers and prospects.