Top 10 Virtualization Technology Companies

By Kenneth Hess (Send Email)
Posted Apr 20, 2010

Any discussion of virtualization typically ends in clicking glasses and high fives, heated discussions or slap fights, but it almost always begins with VMware, as does this list. These top 10 virtualization vendors deliver the best virtualization software solutions on the market today.

Virtualization technology is all the rage, but which product is right for your organization? Learn the 10 virtualization vendors that deliver the best software solutions.

You might not require every bit and byte of programming they're composed of, but you'll rejoice at the components of their feature sets when you need them. These solutions scale from a few virtual machines that host a handful of Web sites, virtual desktops or intranet services all the way up to tens of thousands of virtual machines serving millions of Internet users. Virtualization and related cloud services account for an estimated 40 percent of all hosted services. If you don't know all the names on this list, it's time for an introduction.

1. VMware

Find a major data center anywhere in the world that doesn't use VMware, and then pat yourself on the back because you've found one of the few. VMware dominates the server virtualization market. Its domination doesn't stop with its commercial product, vSphere. VMware also dominates the desktop-level virtualization market and perhaps even the free server virtualization market with its VMware Server product. VMware remains in the dominant spot due to its innovations, strategic partnerships and rock-solid products.

2. Citrix

Citrix was once the lone wolf of application virtualization, but now it also owns the world's most-used cloud vendor software: Xen (the basis for its commercial XenServer). Amazon uses Xen for its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) services. So do Rackspace, Carpathia, SoftLayer and 1and1 for their cloud offerings. On the corporate side, you're in good company with Bechtel, SAP and TESCO.

3. Oracle

If Oracle's world domination of the enterprise database server market doesn't impress you, its acquisition of Sun Microsystems now makes it an impressive virtualization player. Additionally, Oracle owns an operating system (Sun Solaris), multiple virtualization software solutions (Solaris Zones, LDoms and xVM) and server hardware (SPARC). What happens when you pit an unstoppable force (Oracle) against an immovable object (the Data Center)? You get the Oracle-centered Data Center.

4. Microsoft

Microsoft came up with the only non-Linux hypervisor, Hyper-V, to compete in a tight server virtualization market that VMware currently dominates. Not easily outdone in the data center space, Microsoft offers attractive licensing for its Hyper-V product and the operating systems that live on it. For all Microsoft shops, Hyper-V is a competitive solution. And, for those who have used Microsoft's Virtual PC product, virtual machines migrate to Hyper-V quite nicely.

5. Red Hat

For the past 15 years, everyone has recognized Red Hat as an industry leader and open source champion. Hailed as the most successful open source company, Red Hat entered the world of virtualization in 2008 when it purchased Qumranet and with it, its own virtual solution: KVM and SPICE (Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environment). Red Hat released the SPICE protocol as open source in December 2009.

6. Amazon

Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is the industry standard virtualization platform. Ubuntu's Cloud Server supports seamless integration with Amazon's EC2 services. EngineYard's Ruby application services leverage Amazon's cloud as well.

7. Google

When you think of Google, virtualization might not make the top of the list of things that come to mind, but its Google Apps, AppEngine and extensive Business Services list demonstrates how it has embraced cloud-oriented services.

8. Virtual Bridges

Virtual Bridges is the company that invented what's now known as virtual desktop infrastructure or VDI. Its VERDE product allows companies to deploy Windows and Linux Desktops from any 32-bit or 64-bit Linux server infrastructure running kernel 2.6 or above. To learn more about this Desktop-as-a-Managed Service, download the VERDE whitepaper.

9. Proxmox

Proxmox is a free, open source server virtualization product with a unique twist: It provides two virtualization solutions. It provides a full virtualization solution with Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) and a container-based solution, OpenVZ.

10. Parallels

Parallels uses its open source OpenVZ project, mentioned above, for its commercial hosting product for Linux virtual private servers. High density and low cost are the two keywords you'll hear when experiencing a Parallels-based hosting solution. These are the two main reasons why the world's largest hosting companies choose Parallels. But, the innovation doesn't stop at Linux containerized virtual hosting. Parallels has also developed a containerized Windows platform to maximize the number of Windows hosts for a given amount of hardware.

Ken Hess is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of open source topics including Linux, databases, and virtualization. He is also the coauthor of Practical Virtualization Solutions, which is scheduled for publication in October 2009. You may reach him through his web site at http://www.kenhess.com.

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