Is VMware a server or software?

VMware is a software company that provides cloud computing and virtualization software and services. VMware does not manufacture physical servers, but rather creates software that allows servers to be virtualized.

Is VMware a server or software?

What is VMware?

VMware is a company that provides cloud computing and virtualization software and services. Founded in 1998, VMware pioneered the technology of virtualization for x86 architecture computers.

Virtualization allows multiple virtual machines, with different operating systems, to run in isolation on the same physical server. This enables more efficient use of computing resources.

Some key VMware products include:

  • VMware vSphere: The virtualization platform that allows users to create and run virtual machines. vSphere includes features like live migration that let you move VMs between hosts.
  • VMware NSX: Network virtualization and security software for data centers. Creates software-defined networks.
  • VMware vSAN: Software that pools locally-attached disk drives across multiple physical servers to create shared storage.
  • VMware Cloud: A cloud computing service that lets companies run applications across vSphere cloud environments.

So in summary – VMware focuses exclusively on virtualization software and services. It allows users to virtualize and manage servers and other computing resources efficiently through its robust ecosystem of products.

Is VMware a physical server?

No, VMware does not manufacture any physical servers or hardware. Rather, VMware software is designed to run on industry-standard x86 servers from vendors like Dell, HPE, Cisco, and others.

For example, the VMware vSphere product needs to be installed on a compatible x86 server to function. VMware relies on server hardware partners to supply the underlying physical computing power, and then their software layers on top to enable efficient utilization through virtual machines.

Some reasons why VMware is not a server include:

  • VMware is a software company. Their business model focuses entirely around selling software licenses and services around virtualization.
  • It doesn’t design or build physical servers. VMware has no hardware manufacturing capabilities or infrastructure.
  • VMware software runs ON servers to virtualize them. vSphere and other platforms need certified server models from partners.

So while VMware software requires servers to run on, the company does not manufacture or sell them directly. The solution is agnostic to the underlying server hardware.

What are the benefits of VMware software?

There are many key benefits to using VMware’s industry-leading virtualization platforms like vSphere for your computing environment:

Increased Efficiency

  • Allows multiple VMs and workloads to run on the same physical server hardware.
  • Balances resources dynamically between VMs based on demand.
  • Rightsizes computing capacity through virtual resources.

Improved Availability

  • Features like vMotion allow live migration of VMs across hosts with no downtime.
  • Protect against hardware failures through quick VM restarts on functioning hosts.

Better Scalability

  • Scale capacity up or down easily through adding or reducing VM resources.
  • Virtualized resources can be provisioned in minutes compared to physical hardware.

Enhanced Security

  • Isolate and encapsulate risks by running apps and software within VMs.
  • Use network security policies between VMs with solutions like NSX.
  • Keep sensitive systems separated on the same infrastructure.

Lower Costs

  • Increased utilization through virtual consolidation reduces hardware expenses.
  • Reduces operational overheads for IT teams managing physical infrastructure.
  • Optimizes capacity planning through fine-grained VM allocation.

By leveraging VMware’s innovative software for virtual infrastructure, companies gain immense flexibility, efficiency, and cost savings. The virtualization and cloud solutions provide strategic benefits for any IT environment.

Common uses of VMware software

VMware virtualization solutions share hardware resources in an optimal way so businesses can consolidate applications and workloads efficiently.

Some common uses of VMware software include:

Server Consolidation

  • Combine many physical servers onto fewer high-capacity host servers.
  • Use fewer physical CPU/RAM resources through shared virtual allocation.

Data Center Modernization

  • Transition legacy apps from outdated hardware into virtual machines.
  • Facilitate data center expansion, contraction or migration initiatives.

Cloud Computing

  • Build scalable private and hybrid cloud environments with containers and VMs.
  • Migrate workloads between cloud platforms and on-prem infrastructure.

Desktop Virtualization

  • Manage desktop images efficiently using shared pooled resources.
  • Deliver persistent or non-persistent virtual desktops.

Testing & Development

  • Quickly spin up disposable sandbox testing environments.
  • Develop across various operating systems and machine configurations.

Disaster Recovery

  • Replicate VMs offsite for operational continuity during outages.
  • Support faster VM recovery through backup storage integration.

This provides a glimpse into why VMware virtualization is a versatile solution for optimizing resource utilization across on-prem data centers and the cloud.

Is VMware built on Linux?

No, VMware hypervisors and infrastructure software are not built on top of Linux. Instead, VMware actually provides virtualization support and management across Linux guest operating systems.

For example, VMware vSphere lets you create and run Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu, SUSE Linux and other Linux distributions as guest VMs on the virtual infrastructure. Admins can then deploy Linux VMs alongside Windows and implement advanced clustering for resilience.

The bare-metal VMware ESXi Type 1 hypervisor runs directly on server hardware, not on top of a Linux OS. ESXi is purpose-built for speed and efficiency in managing VM resources.

By natively handling Linux-to-metal, VMware infrastructure delivers excellent compatibility to onboard Linux platforms into business environments. IT teams gain centralized visibility and control across heterogeneous OS deployments from a unified management layer.

So in summary:

  • VMware software runs ON hardware, not ON Linux
  • The ESXi hypervisor manages Linux guest VMs
  • Allows Linux consolidation with other operating systems
  • Streamlines Linux administration at scale

This Linux support, without needing its own Linux foundation, is what gives VMware platforms strategic value for unified IT infrastructure management.

What is the difference between VMware and virtualization?

It’s important to distinguish between VMware and the wider field of virtualization:

  • Virtualization – The broad computing technique of creating virtual versions of IT resources like servers, storage and networks. Allows sharing physical infrastructure.
  • VMware – A specific company focused on providing enterprise-grade virtualization software tools and services. A key innovator in commercializing x86 virtualization.

In other words, virtualization is the overall practice while VMware is a vendor implementation.

Hypervisor software creates and runs virtual machines (VMs) that emulate computer hardware for guest operating systems to run upon. This is the virtualization layer.

VMware develops robust Type-1 hypervisor technology powering solutions like vSphere and vCenter Server. These comprise a management ecosystem to operate production environments of virtualized servers.

Competing products like Microsoft Hyper-V or open-source KVM also provide alternative hypervisor and infrastructure platforms.

But with advanced capabilities like vMotion, High Availability, DRS clustering and Distributed Switch – VMware enterprises customers enjoy substantial efficiency, resilience, automation benefits unrivaled in analogous solutions.

So while Gartner estimates VMware commands 80% market share – virtualization itself remains an open playing field sought through multiple vectors.

Think virtualization for the concept, VMware for the dominant industry product.

What types of virtualization does VMware offer?

VMware provides comprehensive support for diverse virtualization use cases in the software-defined data center across cloud and edge locations:

  • Server Virtualization – vSphere platform for data center servers
  • Storage Virtualization – vSAN aggregates storage hardware pools
  • Network Virtualization – NSX implements software networking & security
  • Desktop Virtualization – Horizon VDI and app remoting
  • Cloud Virtualization – Multi-cloud provisioning and migration

This means VMware infrastructure delivers:


  • Deploy apps on optimal platforms balancing resources
  • Unified visibility from edge to core to cloud


  • Quickly scale capacity without physical changes
  • Automate provisioning across environments


  • Consolidate hardware and improve utilization
  • Reduce operational overheads with unified management

So whether accelerating innovation through virtual desktops, streaming backups to the cloud, or distributing workloads to localized edge sites – VMware provides consistent architectural capabilities.

Admins gain turnkey solutions encompassing the private data center, public IaaS platforms, SaaS tools while safeguarding legacy systems as needed.

Truly the Swiss Army Knife facilitating every phase of enterprise technology transformation!


VMware occupies a unique niche focused exclusively on data center software without straying into the physical hardware domain. Technically speaking, VMware converts standard certified servers into powerful and resilient pooled resources.

Unlocking strategic business value, their virtualization solutions empower IT architects to overcome infrastructure limitations through next-generation design and scalability. This software-defined approach makes VMware both a pioneer and continued driver behind cloud advancement trends.

While debates persist around best-of-breed tools chain complexity versus consolidated vendor stacks – VMware affords that coveted single pane of glass for cross-platform visibility and workflow symmetry from data hall to desktop.

Ultimately VMware ADDS value, it doesn’t create servers. But rather takes existing servers to the next level through intelligent abstraction. Allowing sysadmins to evolve beyond rack and stack activities toward more governance, automation and fine-tuning for performance gains.

So while certainly runs ON servers, VMware itself remains masterfully agnostic software ready to unlock infrastructure possibilities wherever capacity exists waiting to be tapped.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does VMware manufacture actual server hardware products?
A: No. VMware specializes solely in developing advanced virtualization software that organizations deploy on top of industry-standard physical server solutions from OEM vendors.

Q: What types of products does VMware offer?
A: VMware has a broad portfolio focused on virtualization including vSphere server virtualization, NSX network virtualization, vSAN storage virtualization along with cloud management and VDI desktop offerings.

Q: Can VMware software run on top of Linux operating systems?
A: No. The native VMware ESXi hypervisor installs directly onto x86 server hardware without needing a Linux OS foundation. However, it fully supports hosting various Linux distributions like RHEL and Ubuntu as virtual machine guests.

Q: Is VMware software open source?
A: No, VMware develops and licenses closed-source proprietary software. However, it does integrate with certain open source solutions. For example, vSphere utilizes Linux kernel components to provide hypervisor functionality.

Q: What is the most popular VMware virtualization product?
A: VMware vSphere, which comprises the ESXi hypervisor and vCenter management platform, is VMware’s most widely-deployed virtualization solution and dominates enterprise data center market share.

Q: Can you run VMware software on any server?
A: No. VMware products are specifically certified to run on approved models of servers from vendors like Dell, HPE, Cisco and Lenovo. Customers should verify server compatibility lists before deploying VMware.

Q: Is deploying VMware cost-effective compared to physical servers?
A: Yes. Numerous studies validate VMware virtualization consistently provides CAPEX and OPEX savings over purely physical servers through more efficient utilization of computing resources.

Q: What skills are required to administer VMware environments?
A: VMware offers popular certifications like the VCP and VCAP to teach data center virtualization skills. VMware administrators should be comfortable with servers, networking, storage concepts along with infrastructure automation tools.

Q: Can VMware virtualization support high availability workloads?
A: Absolutely. VMware software sets the industry benchmark for resilience. Solutions like vSphere has robust capabilities like vMotion, High Availability, Fault Tolerance and Distributed Resource Scheduling to deliver maximum uptime.

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