Virtualization trends in 2006

As usual the last day of the year I like to stop for a moment and think over numbers is able to generate.

The first, impressive, point is general growth of interest in virtualization: we passed from an already notable 200,000 pageviews per year (compared to just 5,000 in 2004) to over 1 million.

With such numbers looking at how virtualization interest is distributed around the world:

This tiny map surely confirms North America and Western Europe as most active areas, but also spreads lights on new potential markets in:

  • Asia (Australia, Japan, India, Singapore, Thailand)
  • South America (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia)
  • Eastern Europe (Russia, Czech Republic, Romania, Turkey, Greece)

In highly interested areas there is a little surprise, with Switzerland entering among Top 10 countries, and Germany which surpassed Canada and Netherlands:

These results are interesting but become amazing when compared with Google Trends ones:

Asian countries and Russia among top searchers (topping US) confirms these are emerging markets.

It’s also notable from this analysis VMware, as market leader, is never among most visited news about virtualization, letting space to AMD, Microsoft and Xen.
But adding the keyword VMware completely changes perspective, confirming the company name more popular than the technology itself:

Continuing this path I cannot avoid underlining how technical terms around same topic are differently popular, which may help understanding how users perceive the technology:

This reading is further confirmed by what is being searched on, where basic technical tips are most requested:

  1. How to create a new virtual machine with VMware Player (and related: Guide to create .vmx files for VMware Player, How to launch ISO and use LiveCDs inside VMware Player, Create VMware VMX configuration files easily and VMX Builder for VMware Player)
  2. How to install Sun Solaris 10 inside VMware Workstation 5.5
  3. How to improve disk I/O performances with VMware Workstation
  4. Debunking Blue Pill myth
  5. Virtualization Industry Roadmap
  6. How to stress test virtual machines
  7. interviews Raghu Raghuram of VMware
  8. Microsoft to release Virtual Server 2005 R2 for free
  9. What is Virtualization?
  10. Guide to Apple MacOS x86 Tiger on VMware

What to expect for 2007? I expect a linear growth, in terms of interest and technology evolution, until Microsoft will release its Windows Server Virtualization (formerly codename Viridian).

At that time VMware will have to defend its leadership with an innovative ESX Server 4.0 and a much bigger effort in SMB segment, XenSource and Virtual Iron will have to gain SMBs trust justifying why Xen is better than free VMware Server and Microsoft hypervisor, Parallels will have to quickly consolidate its position on Apple market providing reliable server products, SWsoft will have to consolidate its position as well clarifying once and forever if OS partitioning really can be more performant, scalable and secure than server virtualization.

All other ISVs in this industry will have to figure out how to survive in a market where Microsoft decided to enter seriously and to offer a big part of tools for free.