VMware faces strong challengers in cloud systems management

VMware topped IDC's latest vendor ranking in the cloud systems management market. But the analyst firm said the market is too young to declare any vendor a winner.

Last year, VMware took the largest share of global revenue from cloud systems management software. Nevertheless, the latest numbers from IDC do not mean VMware has an insurmountable lead in the young market.

VMware captured a 22% share by the end of 2017, or about $907 million, because of the vendor's success in getting enterprises to build private clouds with its vCloud Suite and vSphere with Operations Management. "They've really honed their go-to-market sales strategy over the past couple of years," analyst Stephen Elliot, a co-author of the IDC report, said this week.

However, VMware's position did not reflect progress in the vendor's competition against Cisco to provide enterprises with the tools to connect their public cloud workloads with applications running in the data center. Many of the products related to the vendors' initiatives to provide public cloud connectivity were too new to have an impact on the IDC study.

Cisco's roughly 6% share of the cloud systems management market was due in part by completing the AppDynamics acquisition early in 2017, IDC said. AppDynamics provides application performance management software that is becoming increasingly important in maintaining cloud-based software.

IDC expects Cisco and VMware to remain leading players in the systems management market as enterprises significantly increase the use of public clouds for running business applications. The research firm predicts global spending on public cloud services will grow 22% annually from now to 2021 when it reaches $277 billion.

Cisco, VMware face strong competitors

IDC expects other vendors to compete effectively against Cisco and VMware. Microsoft, for example, came in second in the 2017 study with a 14% market share. Its success was due to the number of enterprises using its SaaS-based Operations Management Suite (OMS) and Microsoft Azure cloud management services. OMS supports on-premises IT systems and Azure and AWS public clouds.

Microsoft's influence in the market will grow because of its dual role as a software supplier and one of three major providers of public cloud services, Elliot said. The management tools Microsoft, AWS and Google build into their platforms will affect how cloud systems management products evolve.

Using a cloud provider's system management tools could mean spending less on third-party software. However, the savings would come with a catch.

"The caveat will be that you'll have to use their platform to get it," Elliot said.

The total cloud systems management market grew by 18% last year to $4.2 billion, according to IDC. IBM came in third with a 9% share, followed by BMC, Cisco, New Relic and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Vendors other than the top seven accounted for 35% of the market.

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