Whitepaper: Virtualization: Architectural Considerations and Other Evaluation Criteria

VMware released a great 16-pages whitepaper every CIO/CTO or IT professional should read before buying any virtualization product:

Of the many approaches to x86 system virtualization available in the market today, the hypervisor architecture-in which virtual machines are managed by a software layer installed on server hardware-has gained the greatest market acceptance. This fact has translated into rapid growth and a large and expanding customer base for VMware, which pioneered the development of x86 hypervisors in 2001 with the launch of VMware ESX Server. It is no wonder then, that the hypervisor market has attracted attention recently from leading software firms as well as venture-funded startups.

Some of the key reasons for VMware’s success in the virtualization market are:

  • The VMware product architecture is based on broad experience solving real-world customer problems. The choices VMware has made in its hypervisor-based ESX Server reflect the practical focus on offering the highest levels of performance, reliability and compatibility. In contrast, competitors have primarily chosen architectural paths that allow them to get products to market most quickly. These products may satisfy a limited set of use cases, but have yet to grapple with all the architectural issues of building an enterprise-class hypervisor. As they attempt to broaden their applicability, they are likely to encounter the same real-world issues that VMware did when it first entered the market. The difference, of course, is that VMware solved these problems long ago.
  • VMware offers a wide range of production-tested solutions, and provides a comprehensive set of innovative technologies to augment the basic partitioning functions of its hypervisor. While an architectural comparison is of interest to those trying to predict the long-term direction of virtualization technology, what ultimately matters to users are the solutions that are available today that they can actually deploy. VMware offers products that customers are actively using in production deployments to meet their business demands.
  • VMware is the only x86 enterprise-ready hypervisor available. Product features aside, customers must answer questions such as: How well will the products work with what we already have? How easy is it to manage? And how well is it supported? Users rightfully demand a certain level of enterprise readiness before they broadly deploy a technology in production environments. As with most solutions, enterprise readiness is often a function of product maturity. VMware has a long list of customer references that attest to both the robustness and maturity of VMware-based solutions.

This paper describes the basic operation of virtualization designs and examines the major issues of their implementation and deploymentdeployment—architecture, solution support, and enterprise readiness—in greater detail.

Read it here: