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VMware: What It's Up To Now
By Bob Violino
To many people, VMware has become synonymous with virtualization technology.
And, indeed, the dramatic growth of VMware over the last several years reflects the growing trend toward the virtualization of servers, storage systems and applications. VMware's revenue figures for the past four years—218.8 million in 2004; $387.1 million in 2005; $703.9 million in 2006; and $1.33 billion in 2007—shows strong year-over-year growth. And it net income for fiscal 2007 was $218 million, up from $86 million in 2006.
But the company has no intention of resting on its market success.
"We expect customer adoption of our software to grow," says Raghu Raghuram, vice president of products and solutions.
Despite increased competition from other vendors that are jumping into the virtualization market, VMware is confident of its future—particularly with products such as VMware ESX Server 3i, the company's "next generation" virtualization platform. The product was introduced in September of last year and will be embedded in server hardware from Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, NEC and others, says Raghuram. Fujitsu is today shipping servers embedded with the VMware ESX 3i hypervisor—a virtualization platform that enables more than one operating system to run on a server at the same time—and additional partners are expected to begin within the next 60 days, according to a company spokesman.
"This essentially gives customers a plug-and-play data center where they can roll in a new server to add to their VMware infrastructure," he says.
VMware's other server virtualization products include VMware Infrastructure 3, a suite of products consisting of VMware ESX Server, a virtualization layer that abstracts processor, memory, storage and networking resources into multiple virtual machines; VMware Virtual Machine File System, a cluster file system that allows multiple installations of ESX Server to access the same virtual machine storage concurrently; and VMware VirtualCenter, which provides centralized management of virtualized environments.
The company also is heavily into desktop virtualization. With desktop virtualization, a remote user with a portable device such as a laptop can access all the capabilities and applications of a desktop device.
VMware's desktop virtualization product line includes VMware Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), software that enables organizations to replace traditional PCs with virtual machines that they can manage from the data center. It allows them to extend virtualization capabilities such as business continuity and disaster recovery to the desktop.
The product comes with VMware Virtual Desktop Manager (VDM), a desktop management server that securely connects users to virtual desktops in the data center and provides a Web-based interface to manage the desktop environment. With VDI, administrators can allow users to install applications, customize the desktop environment and use local printers and USB devices.
VMware emphasizes that its virtualization products are platform-neutral, supporting open standards for greater operability with other vendor systems and providing the flexibility to create shared resource pools independent of specific operating systems and hardware platforms.
VMware says its customers include all of the Fortune 100, 92% of the Fortune 1,000, small and medium businesses and consumers. The company's customer base for its server products includes 100,000 organizations of all sizes across all industries. A survey VMware conducted of its customers in the fourth quarter of 2007 shows that 85% are deploying VMware in production servers, and 54% run enterprise applications and 44% run their databases on VMware.
"We are constantly working with customers to find more ways for virtualization to solve customer pain points, so we will continue to innovate to provide the best solutions for our customers," says Raghuram. "For example, we recently introduced a product that monitors resource use and power consumption to move servers and turn off unneeded server hosts."