(Compares with analysts' estimates, adds analysts' comments)
April 22 (Reuters) - Virtualization software maker VMware Inc reported a better-than-expected 14 percent rise in first-quarter revenue as more customers opted for its cloud infrastructure services and big business clients renewed software licenses.
The company, in which data storage equipment maker EMC Corp holds an 80 percent stake, said license revenue rose about 15 percent, to $561 million, in the quarter ended March 31. Long-term license agreements, including maintenance and support, make up a quarter to a third of VMware's sales.
"I think it speaks to the enviable position that they are in, in terms of the move to the cloud," FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives said, pointing to the weak results from bellweathers IBM Corp and SAP AG.
He added that strong enterprise license sales had also boosted VMware's results in the quarter.
Virtualization software enables the creation of a virtual machine that acts like a real computer with an operating system, helping the company's clients use server and storage space more efficiently and reduce IT costs.
VMware's net income rose to $199 million, or 46 cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $173 million, or 40 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned 80 cents per share.
Revenue rose to $1.36 billion from 1.19 billion a year earlier.
Analysts on average expected earnings of 79 cents per share on revenue of $1.35 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Shares of the company, which have risen 43 percent in the last year, rose to a high of $110.25 in extended trading on Tuesday. They closed at $105.15 on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee and Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)