Yes, VMware is a software company that provides industry-leading virtual infrastructure and cloud management software solutions for enterprises. VMware pioneered the concept of x86 server virtualization through its innovative hypervisor technology and robust software products that form the backbone of modern data center architectures.
Overview of VMware
VMware is a leading global provider of virtualization software:
- Founded in 1998, headquartered in Palo Alto, California.
- Employs over 30,000 people with offices worldwide.
- Provides software solutions for virtualization, hybrid cloud, mobility and networking.
- Flagship offerings include vSphere, ESXi, NSX, vSAN, vRealize etc.
- Over 500,000 enterprise customers globally from all major industries.
- $11+ billion in yearly revenue making it one of the largest infrastructure software vendors.
- Part of Dell Technologies portfolio since 2016 acquisition but operates independently.
So in essence, VMware is a pioneering software company specialized in data center virtualization.
VMware is a Software Company
There are several aspects that highlight VMware’s identity as a software company:
1. Does Not Manufacture Hardware
VMware specializes in software solutions. It does not manufacture any hardware products or appliances.
2. Infrastructure Software Portfolio
VMware has a comprehensive enterprise software stack enabling software-defined data centers.
3. Abstracts Hardware Complexity
VMware software functionally abstracts and virtualizes underlying physical hardware complexity.
4. Software Licensing Model
Paid VMware capabilities are licensed on a per CPU core/socket basis and renewed periodically.
5. Developer Company
VMware builds robust infrastructure management software leveraging latest programming frameworks and tools.
6. Runs on Commodity Hardware
VMware software solutions like vSphere are OS and hardware agnostic designed to run on commercial off-the-shelf servers.
So VMware focuses exclusively on enabling robust enterprise-grade infrastructure environments through its industry-leading software technology, not hardware.
VMware’s Core Software Solutions
VMware provides a comprehensive range of infrastructure software and cloud management solutions:
The core virtualization platform that bundles ESXi hypervisor, vCenter Server, vMotion etc. Provides compute virtualization capabilities to run virtual machines.
Software-defined storage solution that pools local host disks into shared datastores accessible across the vSphere cluster.
Provides network virtualization capabilities to abstract entire networking stack into a software layer independent of physical topology and devices.
Multi-cloud management suite consisting of operations, automation, network insight and cloud management solutions to enable hybrid cloud deployments.
Provides capabilities to run both public and private clouds software-defined infrastructure based on vSphere and VMware stack.
Key Software Innovations Pioneered by VMware
VMware pioneered several breakthrough technologies in infrastructure software:
- Revolutionized x86 computing by decoupling workloads from hardware through the hypervisor and portable virtual machines.
- Allows live migration of active VMs across physical hosts without service interruption. Provides true hardware independence.
- Delivers automated failover and high availability clustering capabilities for VMs to remain resilient.
Distributed Resource Scheduler
- Dynamically allocates and balances computing capacity across hosts through intelligent workload scheduling and resource sharing.
- Specialized thin hypervisor OS with minimum footprint engineered specifically for virtualization.
Software-Defined Data Center
- Vision to abstract entire data center architecture into programmable pools of resources delivered as-a-service through automation.
How Does VMware Software Work?
VMware software solutions work based on following key principles:
This acts as virtualization layer on top of server hardware on which virtual machines are instantiated.
The hypervisor completely encapsulates each VM and isolates it from other VMs to create discrete secure environments for running workloads.
The hypervisor provides a virtual hardware environment to VMs through emulation allowing them to function independent of actual underlying server hardware.
The hypervisor dynamically allocates isolated physical resources like CPU, memory, storage and network to each VM provisioned on the server.
The complexity of underlying hardware and networking is masked from the VMs through multiple levels of abstraction enabled by hypervisor.
VMware software suites like vCenter Server and vRealize provide centralized management of the entire virtual infrastructure including hosts and VMs through a single pane of glass.
So intelligent software at multiple layers delivers simplified infrastructure management as well as true hardware independence for workloads.
Advantages of VMware Software
VMware software-defined approach to virtual infrastructure offers powerful benefits:
- Hardware-agnostic operation of entire workloads.
- Server and operating system consolidation driving higher efficiency.
- Rapid provisioning of virtual infrastructure without procurement delays.
- Increased availability through capabilities like live migration, high availability clusters, distributed redundancy etc.
- Dynamic scalability to provision additional resources instantly simply by adding more hosts to pool.
- Automation and orchestration of routine administrative workflows through software.
- Centralized visibility into performance, capacity and health of infrastructure.
- Significant cost savings by reducing physical footprint and operational overhead.
- Improved security through isolated VMs, micro-segmentation and network virtualization.
- Flexibility to build robust hybrid clouds across private data centers and multiple public clouds.
- VMware provides industry-leading virtual infrastructure software for enterprise data centers and hybrid clouds.
- VMware pioneered x86 server virtualization with its innovative hypervisor technology allowing hardware independence for workloads.
- Key VMware software suites include vSphere, vSAN, NSX, vCloud, vRealize etc.
- VMware focuses exclusively on building infrastructure management software not physical hardware or appliances.
- Licensing, features and capabilities offered prove VMware’s identity as specialized virtualization software company.
VMware’s identity from the beginning has been that of a pioneering software company specialized in data center and infrastructure virtualization. Starting from its flagship virtualization platform to cloud management suites, all VMware offerings constitute software designed to transform rigid physical infrastructure into programmable, software-defined environments that can be consumed flexibly. By abstracting server, storage and network resources into unified pools using its innovative software technology, VMware enabled enterprises to modernize their IT architecture, operations and delivery fundamentally through the power of virtualization. VMware’s DNA being deeply ingrained in software has allowed it to emerge as the leader in enabling the software-defined data centers of the future.
- Is VMware an operating system?
No, VMware is not an operating system but rather provides virtual infrastructure management software solutions that run on top of operating systems.
- Does VMware manufacture hardware products?
No, VMware does not manufacture any hardware products. It specializes in infrastructure management, automation and orchestration software.
- What is the core software product of VMware?
VMware vSphere suite is the flagship product that provides a complete software stack enabling server virtualization and is often considered synonymous with VMware.
- Is VMware a hypervisor?
VMware ESXi is a thin hypervisor OS optimized specifically for host virtualization. The VMware stack provides extensive software beyond just the hypervisor layer.
- Is VMware built on Linux?
No, VMware hypervisors run on proprietary operating systems developed by VMware itself rather than Linux. But Linux can run within VMs.
- What programming languages are used to build VMware products?
VMware software is built using compiled languages like C, C++, Golang, Rust etc. to create highly optimized and efficient infrastructure management code.
- Does VMware develop hardware?
No, VMware does not develop any hardware products. It focuses exclusively on virtual infrastructure management software that runs on standard commercial off-the-shelf hardware.
- How does VMware software virtualize resources?
VMware software abstracts compute, storage and network resources into virtualized software-defined pools using hypervisor and management capabilities for flexible consumption by workloads running within VMs.
- Is VMware an IaaS provider?
No, VMware itself does not provide public cloud infrastructure services. But its software enables building private and hybrid clouds using own infrastructure as well as public cloud resources.
- What software installation options does VMware offer?
VMware offers both conventional installable software as well as pre-configured virtual appliances allowing deploying software environments rapidly.
- Does VMware software support Mac hardware?
Yes, VMware supports Apple Mac as host platform through its hypervisor products Fusion and Workstation enabling using macOS devices for virtualization.
- Is VMware ESXi based on Linux?
No, VMware ESXi hypervisor is a proprietary VMware OS not based on Linux kernel, though it does contain some small Linux userspace utilities to provide a management CLI.
- What core software does vSphere bundle include?
The vSphere bundle includes the ESXi hypervisor, vCenter server, vMotion, High Availability, Distributed Resource Scheduler and associated management capabilities.
- Is VMware NSX a firewall?
VMware NSX includes distributed virtual firewall capability along with broader network virtualization and security features that abstract entire network stack into software.
- Does VMware have a free tier?
Yes, VMware offers free hypervisor-only ESXi version suitable for smaller deployments. Most advanced capabilities still require paid licenses.
- Does VMware develop container technology?
Yes, VMware builds container solutions focused on enabling Kubernetes workload management through its Tanzu platform which integrates container management with VMs.
- Who are the main competitors of VMware?
Major competitors of VMware include Microsoft with Hyper-V, Red Hat with KVM, Citrix providing virtual desktops, Nutanix in hyperconverged infrastructure and Docker with container ecosystem.
- Does VMware own vSphere?
Yes, VMware developed vSphere technology in-house and owns the vSphere brand along with associated trademarks and intellectual property.
- Is VMware only focused on virtualization?
VMware started with pioneering virtualization technology but has since expanded into adjacent domains like hybrid cloud, networking, security, mobility and edge computing. But virtualization remains its core focus.
- What is most popular use of VMware software?
Server virtualization through VMware’s vSphere suite is the predominant use case with it being ubiquitous in enterprise data centers for workload consolidation, efficiency and scalability.