As the interest in virtualization increases, so do the technology options available to your IT department. While VMware has dominated the market for virtualization technology since releasing its first product in 1999, other players have recently moved aggressively into the market.
VMware, which started the latest virtualization craze, has jumped out to a commanding lead in the market. VMware's flagship product, ESX, uses the full virtualization approach and installs directly on the server hardware. An advantage of this approach is that almost any operating system or application can run in a virtualized environment without any modification. This approach also allows for more virtual servers to be run on a physical server than other methods. Performance is also better as it does not rely on the underlying operating system. It also supports all Intel and AMD processors, so it will work with older machines. Its VMotion product allows you to migrate virtual machines from one physical server to another while running, which is a huge advantage in high-availability situations. Its management tools are mature and gives it quite the advantage in the market.
The flip side of being first to market is that ESX was not designed with other virtualization systems in mind. As a result, its management and storage tools do not work well with other systems, such as Hyper-V and Xen. Products from VMware are also expensive from an initial licensing perspective and will face increased price pressure from Microsoft and open source alternatives.
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