I've been following the evolution of the US company VMware for several years now. At first VMware's strength was in helping organisations get more use out of their IT hardware through a technology known as virtualisation, which enables multiple workloads to run on the same server, but as though they were running on their own private (virtual) device.
Over time that strategy has evolved, and not always clearly, as VMware has sought to align itself with the growing movement towards cloud computing, where computing power is delivered as a service over the internet.
In August I was travelled with VMware to its annual user conference, VMworld, in San Francisco, to hear how its strategy is developing further. One thing that became very clear is that VMware is being positioned at the forefront of cloud computing, and is increasingly adopting a strategy of creating applications and tools that help its customers adopt a cloud strategy.
VMware is not alone in its cloud ambitions, with much larger IT companies including Microsoft, IBM, HP and Fujitsu all focusing increasingly on cloud-based technology. For VMware however cloud computing is now its main game. It is lining up to displace a large number of competitors in its quest to dominate this new computing model which may itself prove to be as significant as the switch from mainframe computers to client/server architecture.
One area that becomes less relevant in cloud computing is the operating system that a user runs, with the focus moving to the web browser or whatever it is that the cloud-based service is delivered through. And the disruption to traditional models won't stop there.