Virtualization Vendor Matrix

Vendor Claim to Fame Key Products Pros/Cons

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)

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Tweaked microprocessors to make virtualization doable on x86 machines.

Infrastructure

  • AMD-V, Rapid Virtualization Indexing

Pros

VM-capable microprocessors are key enablers of virtual server host hardware; dual- and quad-core chips continue to add power to servers destined to run many VMs as their key task.

Cons

Little expertise in virtualization beyond the chip; Intel still leads in most market arenas.

Akorri

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Early and eager supplier of virtual infrastructure performance managment products.

Management

  • BalancePoint suite -Cross-Domain Analysis, Application Fingerprinting, Performance Dynamics Modeling

Pros

Tools to consolidate server, storage and software issues to help with capacity planning; sophisticated analysis of performance data can spot and troubleshoot VM problems early.

Cons

Software is somewhat pricey; company was formed only in 2005; venture funding raises potential for buyouts or cash-out changes in strategy.

B-hive Networks

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Appliance-based network and performance management for VMs.

Management

  • Conductor

Pros

Appliance monitors loads; maps transactions and creates database to compare real-time performance to past; load balancer shifts load to un-maxed VMs and reboots hanging ones.

Cons

Startup (2005) taking a non-standard approach to an increasingly common problem; performance of appliance should be tested in a customer's unique environment.

Blue Lane Technologies

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Security tool resists intruders and makes up for VMs that are unpatched or have other problems that would otherwise require help from administrators.

Security

  • VirtualShield security appliance

Pros

Designed its security product to protect VMs regardless of the state of the patches in each individual guest OS. Runs in close integration with VMware's hypervisor, preventing attacks on known vulnerabilities from penetrating to the VMs.

Cons

Demonstrated effectiveness in VMware not yet proven with Hyper-V.

CiRBA

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Released planning software designed to allow scenario-planning for migration to virtual servers and management of VMs.

Management

  • CiRBA's Data Center Intelligence Software

Pros

CiRBA's tools help forecast how apps and servers will coexist, including evaluations of middleware, database and other factors; custom criteria help plan for OS virtualization, application stacking and migrations to blade-server setups.

Cons

It's a startup planning to use its latest round of funding to expand globally and continue its technological development—with all of the risks those two factors bring with them.

Citrix

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Was virtual before virtualization was cool; continues to be a leader in application virtualization.

Infrastructure

  • Provisioning Server
  • Presentation Server
  • Workflow Studio
  • XenServer
  • XenDesktop
  • XenApp
  • NetScaler

Pros

Direct support of wide range of enterprise applications; can virtualize applications, servers, desktops or all three; close alliances with all major hardware and OS vendors; longest experience in thin-client computing of all the major virtualization vendors; signed on as major partner in Microsoft's Hyper-V release push; deep expertise in storage and desktop virtualization.

Cons

Bought XenServer to compete in hypervisors, but will become less competitive as Hyper-V ships commercially; alliance with Microsoft may become conflict as Microsoft advances both server virtualization and its own terminal services.

Dell

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Resells VMware, supplies hardware under VMs. Recently purchased storage virtualization firm EqualLogic.

Infrastructure

  • Virtualization Readiness Assessment (VRA)
  • Implementation Services
  • Servers

Pros

Range of hardware on which to build virtual servers; expertise in packaging and customizing commodity-level hardware for virtual or other uses.

Cons

Little expertise in virtualization itself or virtualization-related integration services.

Vendor Claim to Fame Key Products Pros/Cons

Double-Take Software

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Physical-server recovery vendor shifts to virtualization.

Disaster recovery

  • Double-Take for Virtual Systems
  • Double-Take for VMware Infrastructure

Pros

Supports both VMware and Microsoft; long track record in critical reliability functions; fail-over and disaster recovery for both physical and virtual servers from one vendor.

Cons

Still adapting physical server-based licensing to accommodate virtual servers as well.

Embotics

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Applies policy-based management to virtualized environments.

Management

  • V-Commander

Pros

Policy-based security and automated administration hits compliance and administration requirements for big users; close alliance with Microsoft; time saved automating server administration is multiplied by the number of VMs for which it can do the same.

Cons

It's a startup whose sustainability is unproven; products support VMware architecture, but Embotics was also recently named part of Microsoft's Startup Accelerator Program, and Microsoft protégé status could come with pressure to favor Hyper-V and Redmond interpretations of the virtual world.

EqualLogic

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Added iSCSI to the fiber-only SAN world, drastically reducing virtual storage cost and complexity.

Infrastructure

  • iSCSI SANs

Pros

History of solid performance and presence in a must-have part of the virtualization market; low-cost consolidated servers little good without low-cost storage; now has backing of Dell's deep pockets.

Cons

Dell is focusing heavily on the mid-market right now.

FalconStor

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Adding VTL capability to virtual environments.

Disaster Recovery

  • FalconStor VTL tape backup
  • FalconStor CDP disaster recovery software
  • FalconStor NSS virtual storage management

Pros

Long history and installed base of storage and disaster recovery products; record of reliability; range of applicable products; partnerships with Virtual Iron, other hot virtualization companies.

Cons

Strongest in mid-market, not among larger customers; best-known for software, all-in-one packages, which could leave the integration headache with the customer.

Hewlett-Packard

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Has maintained partnerships with VMware, Citrix and other virtualization vendors since at least 2003, and offered virtualization on its own server and Unix variant as well.

Infrastructure

  • HP Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
  • HP servers with Citrix
  • VMware and Microsoft virtualization
  • HP Virtual Server Environment

Pros

Multi-OS support; menu of sophisticated systems and network management products; alliances with Microsoft, VMware, most other significant players.

Cons

Relies on vendor and channel partners for most of its virtualization expertise; with no specialization in virtualization, HP runs the risk of being outpaced if VMware, Microsoft or others opt out of alliances.

IBM

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Ideally placed supplier of high-end hardware, systems and network management for virtual environments.

Infrastructure

  • High-end Power, x86 and mainframe servers
  • IBM Systems Director systems management

Pros

Wide range of high-end servers, terminals, thin-client infrastructure and management products makes for a potent source for virtualization products.

Cons

Relies, as does HP, on partners for most of its expertise in virtualization technology; risks being left behind by more nimble vendors.

Intel

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Tweaked microprocessors to make virtualization doable on x86 machines.

Infrastructure

  • Intel Virtualization Technology (IVT)
  • Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O architecture

Pros

IVT is a key enabler of virtualization; dual- and quad-core chips continue to add power to servers destined to run many VMs as their key task.

Cons

Little expertise in virtualization beyond the chip; AMD nips as close on its heels in virtulization as in other areas of chipmaking.

Leostream

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P2V migration tools

Management

  • P>V Direct 3.0
  • Hosted Desktop Connection Broker

Pros

Combination of migration tools and off-site hosting makes shift as easy as possible for customers.

Cons

Handles primarily Linux servers; in the past has lagged in feature development behind competitor Platespin, whose development is now funded by new parent Novell.

Vendor Claim to Fame Key Products Pros/Cons

ManageIQ

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Added high-level manager-of-managers approach to VM monitor and management.

Management

  • EVM Insight VM monitor
  • EVM Control configurator

Pros

Focused tightly on non-agent-based configuration management; monitors VM activity from a module outside the VM itself, tracking patches, applications, users and other factors.

Cons

Only two years old; manager-of-managers approach requires extensive development and help from other vendors; introduction of Hyper-V will challenge ManageIQ's ability to keep up with rapid market shifts.

Marathon Technologies

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Released real-time replication and failover for virtual servers.

Disaster recovery

  • everRun VM for servers
  • everRun FT & HA for Windows apps
  • everRun SplitSite and everRun

Pros

As virtual servers host ever-more-critical applications, fail-over and recovery will become an absolute requirement

Cons

Today, Marathon's technology works only with Xen-based hypervisors; no plans to work with VMware.

Microsoft

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Had to scramble in early 2000s to avoid being left behind as VMware caught a wave of server consolidation and centralized management. Used marketing, acquisitions and new emphasis in Windows Server development to fight back.

Infrastructure

  • Microsoft Virtual Server, Windows Server 2008

Pros

Choosing Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor and Windows Server 2008 may offer some cost advantages compared to VMware; keep in mind products have yet to ship.

Cons

64-bit only; runs only on x64 or via Server Core; VM management console is limited, most users will have to use VM-enabled version of System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM); no built-in failover capability; requires Windows drivers as platform; no bare-metal operation.

Novell

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In addition to developing and selling the Xen hypervisor with its own products, Novell has been a key ally of both Microsoft and VMware in the virtualization market. Its Linux-Windows virtualization-integration efforts and cross-platform management products have helped Microsoft keep its toehold in the market while waiting for the release of its own Hyper-V. Novell is one of the few virtualization vendors whose strategy clearly includes more than one OS.

Infrastructure

  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server
  • ZENworks Orchestrator
  • ZENworks Virtual Machine Management

Pros

Relative neutrality in the virtualization market lets it play nice with both VMware and Microsoft; owns its own distribution of Linux and can tune it and its VM code to enhance each other; solid management tools of its own, plus recent acquisition of Platespin's physical-to-virtual (P2V) conversion tools to migrate Windows systems into XenSource's XenEnterprise Virtual Machines.

Cons

Still a second-tier player among virtualization vendors; hypervisor is built into Novell's enterprise version of Linux, forcing customers to pay relatively high prices for Xen technology; startups and virtualization specialists could outstrip Novell's VM-management tools and leave it behind as market moves beyond simple migration to virtual servers.

Opalis Software

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Server provisioning and management for VMs

Management

  • Opalis Integration Server

Pros

Experience and customer base in server provisioning; applies ITIL and ITSM to virtual servers; incident and change management and maintenance reduce hands-on-server time.

Cons

Not the only fish in this particular sea; competition from Opsware got more intense when Opsware was acquired by HP.

Oracle

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A latecomer to the virtualization market, Oracle announced in November that it is offering its version of a Xen hypervisor, designed to run with Oracle Enterprise Linux servers, as a free download.

Infrastructure

  • Oracle VM
  • Oracle Unbreakable Linux

Pros

Focus on adding virtualization support underneath Oracle products lets Oracle concentrate its development efforts; prices are relatively low for that reason; competition with Microsoft and VMware is purely titular -- Oracle's VM effort is designed to prevent either company from taking over the lowest-level software on a server running other Oracle products.

Cons

Not an operating system or virtualization specialist; focus only on its databases and applications limits potential support for other uses of Oracle's VM; continuing effort to buy BEA Systems could interfere with BEA's Java deal with VMware; Oracle's tendency to go head-to-head with Microsoft whenever possible may draw its focus away from its core strengths and lead it into direct competition for VM OS market.

Parallels

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Mac-based virtualization.

Infrastructure

  • Parallels Server
  • Parallels Server for Mac
  • Parallels Virtuozzo Containers

Pros

Not much competition to put VMs on the Mac.

Cons

Will there be broad-market demand for VMs on the Mac? That's still to be determined.

Platespin

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Provides disaster recovery and physical-to-virtual conversion for VMs.

Disaster recovery

  • PlateSpin Forge server-recovery appliance
  • PowerConvert load-balancing software
  • PowerRecon resource monitor and chargeback software

Pros

Relatively long history as a virtualization ISV; workload management, disaster recovery, physical-to-virtual server conversion will all continue to be important add-on management functions.

Cons

Just bought by Novell; future of standalone products and alliances, pricing, licensing and other issues remain in question.

Vendor Claim to Fame Key Products Pros/Cons

Platform Computing

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Longtime grid player makes the shift to virtual servers.

Management

  • VM Orchestrator, load balancing and VM management
  • Enterprise Grid Orchestrator multi-site server-grid manager

Pros

History of expertise in multi-server management and load balancing; good integration with VMware's Distributed Resource Scheduler; longer track record than most competitors.

Cons

History of lackluster marketing left IT audience unaware of its potential; powerful tools often complex, requiring deep expertise on staff to use them effectively.

Red Hat

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Built hypervisor into core of its Linux server.

Infrastructure

  • Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform

Pros

Open source credibility, stability, lower cost than closed-source software products.

Cons

Competing against Microsoft, VMware and almost every other big systems or OS company in the business.

Reflex Security

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Security tool to prevent intrusion in VMware servers.

Security

  • Reflex VSA security software for VMs

Pros

Serves as a kind of virtual intrusion detection system, adding layer of security policies inside the physical boxes where the VMs live. May be useful to block potential threats like hypervisor attacks, among other possible future troubles.

Cons

It's still early days for virtualization security.

Scalent Systems

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Real-time deployment and recovery of ESX and associated network and storage connections.

Management

  • Scalent Virtual Operating Environment (V/OE)

Pros

Speed benefits for deployment and disaster recovery; IP address management tools.

Cons

Lots of competition in the tools and management space right now.

Sun Microsystems

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Perpetual "thin client" advocate that built virtualization into core of its servers.

Infrastructure

  • Sun xVM
  • Sun xVM Ops Center management software
  • Sun xVM Server hypervisor
  • VMware ESX Support

Pros

Leading vendor of "pure" Unix—which is well suited to virtualization; built hypervisors and arrangement deeply into its OS; main business is the class of servers most often chosen for consolidation projects.

Cons

Historic enmity with Microsoft might disrupt Solaris/Windows VM integration; commoditization of Xen hypervisor reduces attractiveness of Solaris; focus on SPARC may turn off integration-minded customers.

Virtual Iron Software, Inc.

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VM load balancing.

Infrastructure

  • Virtualization Manager VM control console
  • Virtualization Services VM installation and configurator
  • Open Source Virtualization hypervisor

Pros

Ability to spread computing load across VMs residing on different physical servers; focus on peak-load management as well as data center consolidation and business continuity.

Cons

Reliance on Xen hypervisor as Red Hat, Novell and others make it almost a commodity; competing with VMware at the height of that company's market dominance.

Vizioncore

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Focus on reliability, backup and performance management.

Disaster Recovery

  • vRanger Pro hot backup utility

Management

  • vCharter performance manager
  • vReplicator server-image distributor

Pros

One of a relatively small number of ISVs offering performance management, disaster recovery and server replication.

Cons

As hypervisors become more common, hypervisor vendors continue to add more management, recovery and other functions, squeezing companies like Vizioncore; main competitor Platespin was acquired by comparatively deep-pocketed Novell.

VMware

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Made 'virtualization' a hot topic with low-cost x86-based hypervisor and promise of cost-saving server consolidation capabilities.

Infrastructure

  • VMware ESX
  • VMware Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

Management

  • VMware VirtualCenter management suite

Pros

Holds more than 80 percent of server virtualization market; wider support from third-party vendors than any other virtualization vendor; multiple-OS support; software-only, doesn't require microprocessor enhancements; fewer restrictions on licensing and format than Microsoft; no requirement for a specific OS.

Cons

Increasing competition with Microsoft may create integration problems for IT; VMware is slow to add support for SATA and other hardware enhancements; requires special clustered file system and storage area network space.

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