VMware is a company that provides cloud computing and virtualization software and services. The term “VMware” can refer to the company itself or to their main virtualization platform.
VMware’s software allows you to run multiple virtual machines on a single physical server. This allows you to get more out of your hardware resources and provides additional flexibility and security.
Some of the key things provided by VMware’s virtualization technology include:
A virtual machine (VM) mimics a real physical computer. The VM contains its own virtual hardware like CPU, memory, storage, and network interfaces that operate like actual hardware. This allows you to install a guest operating system and applications on each VM and run them in isolation from each other.
The hypervisor, also called virtual machine monitor (VMM), is the software layer that creates and runs the virtual machines. It allows multiple VMs to share the underlying physical machine resources. VMware’s hypervisor is called ESXi.
vSphere is VMware’s virtualization platform that uses the ESXi hypervisor. It provides the foundation for building cloud environments and deploying workloads. vSphere manages VMware’s various capabilities like live migration of VMs, disaster recovery, high availability and more.
VMware also provides additional capabilities like:
- VMware vCenter for centralized management of vSphere environments
- VMware NSX for network virtualization
- VMware vSAN for software-defined storage
- VMware vRealize for hybrid cloud management
- VMware Horizon for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)
- VMware Cloud Foundation for building private clouds
So in summary, the term “VMware” refers to the company and their virtualization products that allow running multiple guest VMs on physical servers to improve utilization and flexibility. The core of their technology is the ESXi hypervisor and vSphere platform.
What are the benefits of VMware virtualization?
Using VMware to virtualize your IT infrastructure brings several key benefits:
- Run multiple VMs per physical server to maximize hardware utilization.
- Consolidate underutilized servers using VM migration.
- Allocate VM resources like CPU, RAM, storage dynamically as needed.
- Reduce capital expenditure on new server hardware.
- Cut power, cooling and data center costs through consolidation.
- Decrease IT operating costs through automation.
- Deploy VMs quickly without dependency on physical hardware.
- Move and copy VMs easily across servers with no reconfiguration.
- Scale capacity and resources up or down as required.
- Minimize downtime through features like live VM migration and high availability clusters.
- Improve disaster recovery with simple backups and restores of VMs.
- Isolate applications and data in secure VMs with built-in security controls.
- Protect against configuration drift with VM snapshots and templates.
- Limit user access and rights via role-based access controls.
- Manage on-premises and cloud VMs consistently from a unified interface.
- Monitor and control VM performance using advanced analytics.
- Enforce configurations and compliance through automated policies.
- Integrate with public clouds like AWS, Azure and Google Cloud easily.
- Move workloads between on-premises data centers and cloud flexibly.
- Create hybrid clouds for managing private and public cloud VMs.
So in summary, VMware virtualization provides optimization, cost savings, flexibility, availability, security and cloud enablement benefits.
How does VMware virtualization work?
VMware virtualization works by inserting a layer called the hypervisor between the hardware and the virtual machines. Here is an overview of how VMware virtualization works:
- Hypervisor Installation – The first step is to install the VMware ESXi hypervisor directly on the bare-metal physical server. ESXi creates a ready to use virtualization layer on the server hardware.
- Resources Allocation – The underlying physical resources like CPU, memory, storage and network are partitioned into isolated resource pools that can be allocated to VMs.
- Guest OS Installation – A guest operating system like Windows or Linux is installed inside a VM that resides on top of the hypervisor.
- Application Deployment – Applications and services can then be installed and configured inside each guest VM OS.
- Resource Scheduling – The hypervisor dynamically schedules physical resources like processor time, memory and bandwidth to each VM as needed.
- Virtual Hardware – The VM configures virtual CPU cores, RAM, disks, NICs and other hardware that appear as real hardware to the guest OS.
- Traffic Forwarding – Any network traffic generated by a VM passes through virtual switches managed by the hypervisor for routing between VMs and physical NICs.
- Management Layer – All the VMs and resources are managed and monitored centrally via VMware tools like vCenter Server and vSphere.
So in summary, the hypervisor creates virtualized hardware environments isolated from each other in which guest VMs run independently while sharing underlying server infrastructure.
What are the different types of virtualization?
There are several types of virtualization supported by VMware’s products:
This involves virtualizing physical server hardware and resources to create isolated VMs. VMware ESXi and vSphere provide robust server virtualization capabilities.
Virtualizing network resources and functionality is done via VMware NSX to improve automation and security. This includes load balancers, firewalls, VPNs and more.
Combining physical storage from multiple network storage systems into unified storage pools that can be allocated to VMs is enabled by VMware vSAN.
This encapsulates applications into virtual packages that can be delivered dynamically to clients on demand. VMware ThinApp provides application virtualization.
Also known as VDI, desktop virtualization provides each user with their own OS and apps in a virtual desktop environment. This is delivered by VMware Horizon.
VMware integrates with all major public clouds to support hybrid cloud deployments. This provides a consistent environment to manage VMs across on-prem and cloud.
So in summary, VMware supports all forms of virtualization from servers, network, storage, applications to desktops and cloud. The various products work together to enable a software-defined data center.
What are the different VMware products and solutions?
VMware offers a broad portfolio of virtualization products and solutions covering the software-defined data center. Here are some of the major VMware product categories:
- vSphere – The virtualization platform provides the fundamental compute virtualization capabilities with ESXi hypervisor and vCenter management.
- vRealize – Multi-cloud management tools provide visibility and control across on-prem and public clouds like AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.
- NSX – Network virtualization delivers software-defined networking, security and firewalls for VMs and containers.
- vSAN – The software-defined storage platform virtualizes and manages storage capacity across the data center.
- EUC – End-user computing products like Horizon and Workspace ONE empower desktop and mobile productivity.
- Telco Cloud – NFV infrastructure and solutions for virtualizing telecom and edge networks.
- VMware Cloud – Native VMware cloud infrastructure provides consistent hybrid and multi-cloud environments.
So in summary, VMware provides a complete virtualization software stack together with cloud management, networking, storage, and end-user computing capabilities.
What is the difference between VMware Workstation vs Player?
VMware Workstation and VMware Player are both desktop virtualization tools by VMware aimed at developers and sysadmins. The key differences are:
- Workstation is a paid version with more features while Player is a free limited version.
- Workstation allows you to create and run multiple VMs at the same time while Player runs one VM at a time.
- Workstation has more configuration options like custom networking and virtual hardware to mimic complex server environments.
- Workstation can share VMs with other VM hosts while Player cannot connect to remote VMware servers.
- Workstation offers advanced capabilities like cloning VMs, snapshotting, ISOLATED virtual networks, and disk encryption.
- Workstation integrates with other VMware products like vSphere and Fusion for importing and exporting VMs easily.
- Workstation receives priority customer support while Player support is community-driven.
In summary, Workstation is designed for developers and QA teams with more features while Player is for basic desktop virtualization needs. Workstation provides richer capability for building and testing software applications and platforms.
What is VMware ESXi and vCenter?
VMware ESXi and VMware vCenter are core platforms that make up the VMware vSphere virtualization suite:
- ESXi – This is VMware’s bare-metal hypervisor that installs directly on physical servers to partition resources into isolated VMs.
- vCenter Server – This provides unified management and monitoring of multiple ESXi hosts through a single pane of glass.
Some key capabilities provided by vSphere’s ESXi and vCenter include:
- Provision and deploy VMs and virtual appliances using templates.
- Migrate live VMs across ESXi hosts with no downtime.
- Integrate with vSAN for software-defined storage management.
- Automate VM lifecycle with policies for provisioning, backup etc.
- Monitor infrastructure health, resource usage, and performance.
- Integrate with VMware NSX for network virtualization.
- Provide a platform for building private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments.
So in summary, ESXi provides the virtualization compute layer while vCenter enables centralized monitoring, automation and resource orchestration across the VMware ecosystem.
What are the benefits of VMware NSX?
VMware NSX delivers significant benefits as a network virtualization and security platform including:
- Agile Networking – Deliver networking services like switching, routing, firewalls programmatically in software.
- Improved Security – Micro-segmentation and distributed firewalling for workloads across VMs, containers, clouds.
- Automation – Integration with automation and orchestration tools for provisioning and monitoring.
- Visibility – Centralized network monitoring, analytics, and troubleshooting.
- Disaster Recovery – Easily replicate and restore virtual networks at scale.
- Multi-Cloud Connectivity – Unified networking across on-premises, public clouds, and edge sites.
- Reduced Costs – Lower CAPEX and OPEX through automation and consolidation of hardware appliances.
In summary, NSX transforms networking into a more scalable, flexible function that integrates seamlessly with application infrastructure and security policies. This aligns networking more closely with business needs.
What is VMware Tanzu and how does it work?
VMware Tanzu is a portfolio of products and services for building, running and managing modern cloud native applications on Kubernetes. Here is an overview of VMware Tanzu:
- Tanzu Kubernetes Grid – This is a Kubernetes runtime that can be deployed across on-prem vSphere, public clouds, edge and VMware Cloud for consistent management.
- Tanzu Mission Control – Centralized management plane to operate Kubernetes clusters and orchestrate policies across teams and clouds.
- Tanzu Application Platform – Platform with libraries, services, and APIs to accelerate building apps using Spring, Tomcat and modern microservices patterns.
- Tanzu Observability – Tools for unified logging, metrics, and tracing to monitor Kubernetes apps and infrastructure.
- Tanzu Service Mesh – Manages complex microservices communication and security across Kubernetes clusters.
- Tanzu Build Service – Automated container creation, security scanning, and compliance checking for container registries.
So in summary, Tanzu provides a full stack for organizations to develop, deploy, run and manage containerized applications across diverse environments consistently using Kubernetes.
What is VMware Cloud Foundation?
VMware Cloud Foundation is a hybrid cloud platform that provides an easy way to deploy and operate a private cloud on-premises with consistent infrastructure and operations across clouds. Key aspects include:
- Unified SDDC stack with vSphere, vSAN, NSX and management services preconfigured and pre-integrated.
- Automated lifecycle management updates, patching, and upgrades of the full SDDC stack.
- Consistent infrastructure, operations, and networking with public clouds like AWS Outposts, Azure VMware Solution, Google Cloud VMware Engine.
- Disaster recovery to public cloud and migration of workloads from data centers to cloud SDDCs.
- Kubernetes integration for running containers and managing containerized applications.
In summary, Cloud Foundation provides a simple, optimized on-prem cloud with consistent infrastructure and operations across hybrid and multi-cloud environments.
What is VMware Horizon and what does it provide?
VMware Horizon is a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution that delivers desktop operating systems, applications and data securely across hybrid cloud environments to end users on any device. Key capabilities:
- Centralized management and automation of endpoint devices and connections.
- Multiple desktop delivery options including persistent desktop VMs, pools and on-demand desktops.
- Optimization for Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) environments.
- Blast extreme protocol for adaptive performance across networks and devices.
- Automated load balancing and connection brokering of sessions to desktop VMs.
- Unified workspace experience across devices from desktops and mobiles to browsers.
So in summary, Horizon provides a complete VDI solution to stream Windows or Linux desktops, apps, and online services to end users for workforce mobility and business continuity needs.
What are the different cloud services offered by VMware?
VMware provides a comprehensive set of multi-cloud services across public clouds and on-prem data centers:
- VMware Cloud – Deploy VMware SDDC environments on demand on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and Oracle Cloud.
- Cloud Disaster Recovery – Automated disaster recovery as a service to/from VMware Cloud and public clouds.
- Cloud Migration – Assess, plan and migrate VMs into VMware Cloud and other public clouds.
- Managed Azure Services – Managed Azure services like VMs, storage, databases, load balancers operated by VMware.
- CloudHealth – Visibility into cost, security, operations across multi-cloud environments for optimization.
- Workspace ONE – Manages access to web, SaaS, and virtual apps, VDI and enabling secure BYO devices.
So in summary, VMware cloud services provide consistent infrastructure and operations from data centers to the edge and public clouds along with cost visibility and access management.
What are the main differences between VMware vSphere and VMware ESXi?
VMware vSphere is the complete virtualization platform suite while ESXi is the virtualization hypervisor that is part of vSphere. Some key differences:
- vSphere includes many components like ESXi, vCenter Server, vSAN, NSX, vRealize Suite etc. ESXi is the hypervisor piece.
- ESXi provides the core virtualization compute capability while vSphere adds automation, orchestration, networking, storage, availability and management capabilities.
- ESXi runs directly on physical server hardware while vSphere integrates ESXi hosts with many additional VMware products and services.
- vSphere provides advanced features like live migration, high availability, Distributed Resource Scheduler, High Availability and Fault Tolerance.
- vSphere licensing is required for functionality like vMotion, Distributed Virtual Switch whereas ESXi gives basic functionality.
In summary, ESXi is a component of vSphere that provides virtualization while vSphere is the complete infrastructure platform for the software-defined data center.
What are the most common use cases for deploying VMware?
Here are some of the most popular use cases and benefits for deploying VMware:
- Server Consolidation – Increase utilization by consolidating multiple apps on fewer servers.
- Data Center Migration – Easily migrate apps between servers with no re-provisioning.
- Disaster Recovery – Replicate and restore apps instantly from any failure.
- App Development – Create reproducible dev, test and staging environments.
- Software Testing – Test apps across thousands of VM configurations for failsafe operation.
- Legacy App Support – Extend lifespan of older apps by migrating to new infra.
- OS Migration – Switch server operating systems easily.
- Desktop Virtualization – Centralize and stream desktops to distributed workforces.
- Hybrid Cloud – Extend data center capacity by bursting to public clouds.
So in summary, VMware enables server consolidation, business continuity, infrastructure flexibility, application development, multi-cloud solutions and much more.
What are the limitations of VMware virtualization?
While VMware virtualization provides valuable benefits, there are some limitations to consider:
- Hardware Support – ESXi certifies specific server, network and storage hardware models to work smoothly.
- Scalability Limits – Although large, there are some maximums like 160 nodes per cluster, 12TB RAM per host.
- No Built-in Hypervisor Live Migration – Need vSphere license for live migrating multi-host environments.
- Proprietary Technology – VMware uses proprietary software, APIs and formats like VMDK. Limited interoperability with other hypervisors.
- System Overhead – Hypervisor abstraction layer adds some performance overhead.
- Complex Licensing – Many interlocking licensing editions for different vSphere components. Can get complex.
- Upgrade Challenges – Upgrades can take significant planning, downtime and testing due to interdependencies.
So while VMware is a market leader, it pays to be aware of limitations like proprietary technology, scalability, licensing overheads and upgrade challenges.
What are some tools and products that compete with VMware?
some of the top tools and products that compete with VMware:
- Microsoft Hyper-V – Hypervisor built into Windows Server. Less features than VMware but cheaper licensing.
- Citrix XenServer – Open source hypervisor focused on desktop and app delivery.
- Oracle VirtualBox – Free hypervisor for desktop virtualization.
- Red Hat Virtualization/KVM – Open source virtualization built on Linux KVM hypervisor.
- Nutanix AHV – Integrated hypervisor in Nutanix hyperconverged solution.
- Amazon EC2 – AWS virtual compute instances compete with VMware cloud VMs.
- Microsoft Azure – Azure platform competes with VMware hybrid/multi-cloud.
- OpenStack – Open source alternative to vSphere for managing large virtual environments.
- Docker – Container platform can replace VMware where OS-level virtualization fits.
- Kubernetes – Container orchestration can be an alternative to managing app VMs.
So in summary, the top competitors and alternatives to VMware virtualization are Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer, VirtualBox, Red Hat Virtualization, Nutanix AHV, AWS, Azure, OpenStack, Docker and Kubernetes. Each has their pros and cons.
What skills are required to work with VMware products?
Here are some of the key skills required to work effectively with VMware products:
- Server virtualization – Understanding hypervisors, virtual machines, virtual networking, and storage virtualization.
- Data center operations – Expertise in data center architectures, networking, storage systems, and infrastructure monitoring.
- VMware product knowledge – In-depth experience with core VMware platforms like vSphere, vSAN, NSX, vRealize.
- Automation and scripting – Proficiency with PowerShell, CLI, APIs to automate VM operations.
- Cloud integration – Skills with hybrid clouds, multi-cloud architectures, and services like AWS, Azure and GCP.
- Application architectures – Knowledge of applications, middleware, containers, and microservices to optimize these for virtual infra.
- Performance monitoring – Monitor key metrics like CPU, memory, disk, network usage to optimize VMs.
- Troubleshooting skills – Debug and troubleshoot virtualization problems like resource bottlenecks.
So in summary, a combination of virtualization expertise, data center skills, VMware platform knowledge, automation and cloud proficiency is needed to leverage VMware effectively.
What are some useful certifications for VMware professionals?
Here are some of the popular VMware certifications suitable for different roles:
- VCP-DCV – VMware Certified Professional Data Center Virtualization for vSphere specialists.
- VCP-NV – Network Virtualization cert for NSX professionals.
- VCP-CMA – Cloud Management and Automation for vRealize experts.
- VCAP-DCV Design – Advanced vSphere infrastructure design skills.
- VCAP-DCV Deploy – Validation of deeper deployment and administration expertise.
- VCIX – Top-level certification for VMware architects.
- VTSP – VMware Technical Sales Professional for pre-sales teams.
- VCDX – Highest level certification for VMware infrastructure professionals.
So in summary, VMware certifications help validate critical VMware infrastructure, design, implementation, automation, troubleshooting and optimization skills for different roles.
What are some trends influencing the future of VMware?
Some major trends that are shaping the future technology strategy and innovation at VMware include:
- Cloud native apps and Kubernetes containers
- The edge and Internet of Things (IoT)
- 5G and telco network virtualization
- Hybrid cloud and multi-cloud management
- Hyperconverged infrastructure
- Networking advances like NSX and SD-WAN
- Security integration across infra and apps
- Automation, AI, and machine learning
- Desktop and app virtualization
- VR, graphics rendering, and VDI
- The distributed workforce and BYOD
So in summary, VMware is focused on integrating virtualization across the multi-cloud universe while enabling technologies like IoT, AI, VR and securing the distributed edge.
- VMware provides virtualization software to abstract and partition physical infrastructure resources to efficiently utilize hardware.
- VMware’s core technologies include ESXi hypervisor, vSphere, vCenter, vSAN, NSX, and tools to manage, monitor and automate the software-defined data center.
- Benefits include increased efficiency, agility, availability, scalability and security along with reduced hardware and management costs.
- VMware offers comprehensive platforms and solutions for hybrid and multi-cloud deployments from data centers to edge and public cloud environments.
- Organizations use VMware for server consolidation, cloud migrations, disaster recovery, infrastructure flexibility, application development, VDI and more.
VMware has been transforming enterprise IT for over 20 years with its innovative virtualization technologies. By abstracting compute, storage and network resources into software-defined services, VMware provides the agility, scalability and automation needed for modern app development and delivery across the multi-cloud world. With comprehensive solutions that bridge data centers, public clouds, endpoints and edge, VMware technologies form the foundation for the software-defined data center and digital business acceleration.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions about VMware:
Q: What is the difference between VMware and virtualization?
A: VMware is a company that provides industry-leading virtualization software and services. Virtualization refers to technology that abstracts physical infrastructure resources into software-defined, simulated environments. VMware offers the top platforms for virtualizing IT environments.
Q: Is VMware free?
A: VMware offers both paid licensed products like vSphere and free products like VMware player for desktop virtualization. Some VMware technologies are available as open source or free editions with limited capabilities.
Q: Can you run VMware on Mac?
A: Yes, VMware Fusion allows you to create and run virtual machines on Mac hardware and OS. VMware also supports Macs as client devices for technologies like VDI desktop virtualization.
Q: Is VMware owned by Dell?
A: Dell currently owns about 81% of VMware shares after acquiring EMC, which had originally purchased VMware in 2004. VMware still operates independently as a separate publicly traded company.
Q: What hypervisor does VMware use?
A: ESXi is VMware’s native proprietary hypervisor that installs directly on server hardware to enable virtualization by splitting resources into VMs.
Q: How do I learn VMware for free?
A: You can sign up for free hands-on labs and learning tools on VMware’s website. VMware also offers trial versions of most products and free learning editions of vSphere, ESXi, and Fusion.
Q: Which is better, VMware or VirtualBox?
A: VirtualBox is an open source free solution ideal for basic desktop virtualization. VMware’s platforms like Workstation and vSphere provide much more advanced enterprise-grade capabilities for infrastructure virtualization.
Q: Can you convert a physical machine to a VM?
A: Yes, VMware vCenter Converter can perform a Physical to Virtual (P2V) conversion to migrate an existing physical server into a virtual machine.
Q: How do I upgrade ESXi?
A: Upgrading ESXi involves putting the physical host into maintenance mode, backing up VMs, and using tools like vSphere Update Manager to orchestrate and automate the upgrade process across a cluster.
Q: Is NSX free?
A: The NSX-T Data Center base version is available for free. The full NSX-T Data Center with advanced features requires a paid VMware license.
Q: Does VMware offer certifications?
A: Yes, VMware offers popular certifications like VCP, VCAP, and VCDX that validate skills with VMware technologies for different roles.
Q: What is the latest version of vSphere?
A: vSphere 7 is the most current release with features like simplified lifecycle management, new REST APIs, enhanced security, VM template management, and guest customization.