Over the years of playing the Technology Vendor game, I have learned not to give too much attention to IT Analysts statistics. This comes from understanding of how the Analysts’ game is usually played from dealing with them from both the end user client and IT vendor perspective. So when I come across statistics, I usually glance at them and move along. This morning, however, when I came across IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Server Virtualization Tracker press release (thanks to virtualization.com’s recent post) I had to stop and take a deeper look.
The single line that made me stop was (emphasis mine):
However, in its first quarter of general availability Microsoft Hyper-V delivered a strong showing, and when combined with Virtual Server 2005, Microsoft’s market share is 23% of new shipments.
It was the two phrases in red that makes me call Shenanigans on this data.
First, this report is for the second calendar quarter of 2008 (April, May, June). Hyper-V was release just a few days before the end of June; see Microsoft’s Hyper-V press release announcing availability date on June 26. My first reaction to this point was one of disbelief that any company, even Microsoft, could go from zero to 23% market share in three business days (Thursday June 26, Friday June 27th, and Monday June 30th).
Second, the nuance of what products were included shed light on how that amazing growth happened. The report didn’t just count Hyper-V shipments, but also Virtual Server 2005. It also didn’t indicate if the Hyper-V shipments that were counted included betas that would have been in use well before the release of the product. This artificially inflated market share numbers skews the perception of this part of the report.
This leads me to wonder why the numbers were skewed this way in the first place. Was IDC just looking for some big bang to be able to report on to drive sales of the report and their own corporate visibility? Or was Microsoft involved in some way in the generation of this report and influenced the skewing of these numbers?
Wouldn’t it be nice to have this level of transparency from an Analyst with regards to their reports? Why not show us the break down numbers of just ESX and Hyper-V shipments?
(Disclaimer: I am currently employed at VMware as a Solutions Consultant)