You may have seen the commercial. The tech guy is screaming in his large, empty data center that someone stole all his servers. Except for the one sitting in the middle of the room. Of course, the point of the commercial is that now all of his servers are “virtualized” on one big server, saving money on equipment and electricity – not to mention the environment. Many of you may be wondering what that means to you. The trend is called virtualization. Instead of installing the operating system software on each server, you can use what is called a “hypervisor” operating system that will allow for multiple installations of server operating systems. So, whereas in the past, you might have many different server computers for each application (one for file sharing, one for email, one for a web site, etc.), all of those separate server instances can share the same box. Each virtual server has its own distinct, separate space, even though they are sharing the same hardware. Sort of like an office building that has multiple, private office spaces separated from each other, but sharing the same building structure. While many of Class Computing’s clients are not quite like the large enterprise that is depicted in the commercial, many of them do have at least a couple of server boxes, and therefore can benefit from collapsing this infrastructure with this more efficient virtualization technology.
Hypervisors are offered by three of the biggest technology vendors: Microsoft, Citrix, and VMware. VMware has been the dominant leader in the industry, and they are actually part of EMC, which is the world’s largest storage vendor. Citrix, the leader in remote access solutions, has been growing significantly in this space, and their offerings, together with their remote computing products, are impressive. Microsoft has been late to the party, but they are Microsoft. Because so many servers that businesses use are using their server software, it seems logical that they would become a preferred vendor for their hypervisor software. However, VMware, and increasingly also Citrix, have significant market share in the enterprise, and that doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon.
Articles with more information about virtualization:
VMware vSphere: http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere
Microsoft Hyper-V: http://www.microsoft.com/hyper-v-server/en/us/default.aspx