What are the 2 types of VMware?

VMware offers two broad categories of virtualization solutions catering to enterprise data center infrastructure needs and local desktop/laptop usage scenarios respectively. The key types are:

What are the 2 types of VMware?

1. Datacenter and Cloud VMware Products

This category involves VMware’s industry-leading data center infrastructure solutions:


The core virtualization platform providing hypervisor, vCenter management etc.


Hyper-converged storage built into vSphere leveraging direct attached storage.


Network virtualization solution for software-defined data center architectures.


Multi-cloud management tools spanning private and public environments.


Provides capabilities to build VMware-based public/private clouds.

Site Recovery

Orchestrates disaster recovery and business continuity for resilience.

So in summary, enterprise-grade data center and cloud infrastructure products and suites for virtualization.

2. Desktop and End User Computing VMware Products

This category covers VMware’s desktop virtualization offerings:

Workstation Pro

Hypervisor for running multiple OS as virtual machines on Windows and Linux PCs.


Enables virtual machines on macOS for executing cross-platform workloads.

Workstation Player

Free VM player to run existing VMs locally on a Windows or Linux machine.


Provides virtual desktop infrastructure and app delivery over network.

Workspace ONE

Unified endpoint management for deploying and managing corporate devices.

So in essence, desktop products focused on local and VDI usage of virtual machines for end users.

Now let us explore the key solutions in each VMware product category in detail:

Key Data Center and Cloud Infrastructure Solutions by VMware

VMware vSphere

  • Provides the fundamental virtualization platform for the software-defined data center.
  • Offers compute virtualization capabilities through ESXi hypervisor, vCenter management etc.
  • Enables creation and operation of virtual machines, allocation of resources.
  • Comes in editions like Standard, Enterprise Plus for increasing capabilities.

VMware vSAN

  • Software-defined storage solution seamlessly integrated with vSphere.
  • Leverages direct-attached capacity contributions from multiple hosts.
  • Creates shared data stores for VMs accessible across hosts.
  • Reduces need for dedicated SAN hardware.

VMware NSX

  • Provides software-defined networking capabilities.
  • Delivers networking components like switches, routers, load balancers as virtual appliances.
  • Decouples network infrastructure from physical topology constraints.
  • Enables network security through micro-segmentation and firewalling.

VMware vRealize Suite

  • Multi-cloud management platform spanning private and public environments.
  • Consists of solutions like vRealize Operations, Automation, Orchestrator etc.
  • Provides infrastructure monitoring, automation and orchestration capabilities.

VMware vCloud Director

  • Enables VMware-based infrastructure-as-a-service cloud environments.
  • Allows compute, storage and network resources to be provided on-demand through self-service portal.
  • Suitable for both public cloud providers and enterprise private clouds.

Major Desktop/Client Virtualization Solutions by VMware

VMware Workstation Pro

  • Hypervisor for creating multiple virtual machines locally on Windows and Linux desktops/laptops.
  • Allows users to replicate production environments for development, testing etc.
  • Provides tools to troubleshoot and benchmark applications virtually.

VMware Fusion

  • Equivalent of Workstation Pro for Apple macOS users.
  • Enables running virtual machines with different guest OSs like Windows, Linux, on Mac laptops and desktops.
  • Integrates with Hypervisor framework for hardware acceleration support.

VMware Workstation Player

  • Free VM player software for Windows and Linux.
  • Allows users to run pre-created virtual machines locally.
  • Less featured than full Workstation Pro. But useful for basic usage.

VMware Horizon

  • Provides virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) capabilities.
  • Desktop operating systems hosted centrally and delivered over network.
  • Allows accessing virtual desktops remotely from thin clients.

VMware Workspace ONE

  • Unified endpoint management platform from VMware.
  • Handles lifecycle management of devices – mobile phones, laptops, desktops, tablets etc.
  • Applies access policies, distributes apps/updates and secures corporate devices.

So in summary, VMware provides extensive infrastructure virtualization as well as desktop/client computing solutions catering to broad enterprise usage scenarios.

Key Differences Between the Two VMware Product Categories

Datacenter and Cloud VMware Products Desktop/Client VMware Products
Targeted at enterprise IT and data centers. Meant for end user devices like desktops, mobiles etc.
Solutions like vSphere, vSAN run on powerful servers. Products like Workstation run on local laptops and PCs.
Used by IT administrators, infrastructure engineers. Used by developers, testers, IT pros etc.
Provides core virtualization capabilities. Provides portable virtual environment for apps.
Delivers enterprise-grade performance, scalability. Lightweight performance tailored for individual devices.
Enables cloud-style agility and automation. Suitable for Client/Server app virtualization.
Examples – vSphere, vSAN, NSX, vCloud Director. Examples – Workstation, Fusion, Horizon, Workspace ONE.

So in summary, VMware has both robust enterprise infrastructure offerings as well as desktop-focused solutions for end user enablement.

Comparing Key Datacenter VMware Solutions

vSphere vSAN NSX vRealize vCloud Director
Core server virtualization platform. Hyper-converged storage add-on. Network virtualization functionality. Multi-cloud management suite. Enables VMware private/public clouds.
Provides hypervisor, vCenter etc. Leverages direct-attached storage. Abstracts networking into software. Automates and manages infrastructure. Delivers infrastructure-as-a-service.
Used universally in data centers. Lowers demand for SAN hardware. Enables software-defined data center. Operational visibility and optimization. Self-service provisioning of resources.
Enables server consolidation through VMs. Creates shared data stores for VMs. Provides logical networks, micro-segmentation. Monitoring, process automation, predictive analytics. Multi-tenancy, delegated administration.
vMotion, High Availability capabilities. Storage policies, space efficiency features. Overlay model decoupled from physical network. Insight into performance, capacity and costs. Chargeback, metering, branding etc.

So VMware enterprise portfolio provides full-stack infrastructure virtualization capabilities.

Comparing Major Desktop/Client VMware Solutions

Workstation Pro Fusion Workstation Player Horizon Workspace ONE
Hypervisor for Windows/Linux. Hypervisor for macOS. Free VM player for Windows/Linux. Virtual desktop infrastructure. Unified endpoint management.
Create/run multiple guest OS VMs. Run VMs locally on Mac. Use precreated VMs. Desktop OS hosted centrally, accessed remotely. Manage fleet of user devices – desktops, mobiles etc.
Ideal for developers, testers. Integrates with Apple Hypervisor framework. Less features than full Workstation. Delivers apps and desktops over network. Apply access policies and distribute apps/updates.
Snapshots, cloning capabilities. Unity mode for easy app integration. For basic testing needs. Reduces hardware costs. Container support for app lifecycle management.
VM customization, benchmarking. Drag-drop files between Mac and Windows. Free community license. High-performance secure delivery across endpoints. Secure BYOD environments.

So comprehensive solutions that enhance end user productivity and workplace IT efficiency.

Key Takeaways

  • VMware provides both data center infrastructure focused offerings and desktop virtualization solutions.
  • Datacenter portfolio consists of solutions like vSphere, vSAN, NSX catering to large-scale usage by enterprises.
  • Desktop products like Workstation Pro and Fusion allow local virtual machine usage by individuals.
  • Infrastructure offerings designed for performance, resilience and cloud-scale usage.
  • Desktop solutions optimized for local development, testing, app compatibility use cases.
  • Together the complementary virtualization toolsets comprehensively address organizational needs.


VMware has an extensive product portfolio spanning robust virtual infrastructure software essential for organizations as well as desktop solutions for individual users. Key data center offerings consist of industry-leading core virtualization platform vSphere, hyper-converged storage vSAN, network virtualization with NSX etc. On the client side, VMware Workstation Pro, Fusion and Horizon cater to needs ranging from local app development and testing to VDI deployments. While architectural contrasts exist between the platform-focused data center tools and end user computing solutions, together they present a comprehensive toolkit for organizations to harness the power of virtualization across IT infrastructure and workplace. VMware’s twin-pronged approach helps extract maximized value from virtualization-driven IT optimization initiatives.


  1. What are the main differences between VMware server products and workstation products?
    Server products like vSphere optimize for scalability and resilience while workstation products like Fusion are designed for local usage, portability and don’t require dedicated server hardware.
  2. Is VMware only for server virtualization?
    No, while VMware is renowned for data center virtualization, it also provides extensive desktop and mobile virtualization solutions like Workstation, Fusion, Horizon and Workspace ONE.
  3. What is the most popular VMware server product?
    VMware vSphere suite is the industry-leading and most widely deployed VMware product used for data center server consolidation, cloud computing and enabling the software-defined data center architecture.
  4. What are the core components of the VMware vSphere suite?
    The core components of vSphere are ESXi hypervisor, vCenter server, vMotion, High Availability and Distributed Resource Scheduler for computation, management and availability.
  5. What is the difference between VMware Horizon and Workspace ONE?
    Horizon provides virtual desktop infrastructure while Workspace ONE is focused on managing and securing endpoint devices like desktops, mobiles etc. in workplace environments.
  6. Is VMware Workstation the same as VMware Player?
    VMware Workstation is a paid hypervisor for creating new VMs locally. VMware Player is free but allows only running existing VMs, unlike full Workstation.
  7. What does vSAN stand for in VMware?
    vSAN stands for Virtual Storage Area Network. It provides software-defined hyper-converged storage for VMs leveraging direct attached capacity from vSphere hosts.
  8. What does NSX stand for in VMware?
    NSX stands for Network Virtualization and Security. It delivers network virtualization allowing programmable virtual networks decoupled from physical hardware.
  9. Can VMware Player create new virtual machines?
    No, VMware Player only runs pre-created VMs. For features like creating new VMs, snapshots etc. upgrade to paid VMware Workstation Pro license.
  10. Does VMware Fusion provide an isolated environment?
    Yes, Fusion provides excellent isolation between host macOS and guest VMs using hypervisor-derived encapsulation preventing data leakage across virtual machine boundaries.
  11. Can I run VMware ESXi on a laptop?
    No, ESXi is meant for robust enterprise server hardware given the high performance and reliability requirements. Only Workstation/Fusion hypervisors are designed for laptop usage.
  12. Is VMware vSphere free for commercial use?
    No vSphere and ESXi license restricts its free usage for only non-commercial environments. Production setups require paid licensing of VMware suites based on capabilities needed.
  13. What IT challenges does VMware Workspace ONE solve?
    It tackles challenges like securing corporate data on BYOD endpoints, delivering apps/updates seamlessly across heterogenous devices, and managing devices remotely through unified control plane.
  14. Which hypervisor does VMware Fusion use on Mac?
    Fusion leverages Apple Hypervisor framework which builds on top of core OS kernel hypervisor capabilities to efficiently share resources between Fusion and macOS.
  15. What are the alternatives to VMware Workstation?
    Major alternatives to VMware Workstation for desktop virtualization include Oracle VirtualBox, Parallels Desktop, Microsoft Hyper-V, QEMU, KVM etc.
  16. Is VMware vSphere a Type 1 or Type 2 hypervisor?
    VMware ESXi is a Type 1 bare-metal hypervisor that installs directly on host server hardware unlike Type 2 hosted hypervisors that run on top of traditional OS like Windows.
  17. How is VMware vMotion different from vSphere HA?
    vMotion enables live migration of VMs between hosts during planned maintenance. vSphere HA provides automated failover and restart in case of unplanned hardware failure or downtime.
  18. Is VMware NSX free?
    No, VMware NSX software-defined networking and security capabilities require paid licences on top of core vSphere capabilities. A trial version is available.
  19. Can VMware Workstation VMs be migrated to vSphere?
    Yes, VMware provides tools like VMware Converter for migrating VMs created on workstation over to enterprise vSphere environments and hypervisors.
  20. Which Azure VMware solution provides hybrid capabilities?
    VMware Azure solution enables seamless bi-directional migration of workloads between on-premises vSphere and Azure VMware Solution cloud allowing easy hybrid deployments.

Leave a Comment