What is VMware and its role?

VMware is a company that provides cloud computing and virtualization software and services. Its core products enable businesses to consolidate and manage IT resources by creating virtual machines that abstract computing workloads from the underlying physical hardware.

What is VMware and its role?

VMware was founded in 1998 and launched its first product, VMware Workstation, in 1999. This allowed software developers and IT administrators to install, run, monitor and manage multiple operating systems and applications locally on an x86 computer.

The company then expanded into the enterprise market with products that delivered the VMware platform for server consolidation. VMware’s server virtualization technology abstracted x86 physical servers to create logical pools of compute, storage and networking resources that could be dynamically provisioned into virtual machines.

This form of platform virtualization enabled data center operators to increase server utilization, enhance availability, improve workload portability and reduce costs. VMware became an early leader in what was to become a significant trend in enterprise IT – virtualization.

Key VMware Products

Over the years, VMware has expanded its product portfolio to enable virtualization for networks, storage, desktops and cloud environments. Some key products and solutions include:

  • vSphere: VMware’s virtualization platform for transforming data centers into aggregated computing infrastructures that enable IT organizations to meet SLAs for application availability at lower operating costs.
  • NSX: Provides network virtualization capabilities to abstract physical networks and greatly simplifies data center operations. This includes delivery of networking and security services to virtual machines.
  • vSAN: Provides hyper-converged infrastructure capabilities by leveraging direct-attached storage devices in a VMware cluster to create a distributed shared vSAN datastore. Offers simplified storage provisioning and management.
  • Horizon: Enables desktop and application virtualization to provide end users access to their desktops, applications and data from any device or location.
  • vRealize Suite: Supports building and management of hybrid clouds. Automates delivery of infrastructure, applications and custom services across multi-vendor hypervisors, physical servers and public clouds.

Role of VMware in the Data Center

VMware is a foundational technology in today’s software-defined data center (SDDC), where compute, storage and network services are delivered to applications using logical abstractions decoupled from physical constraints.

By providing server virtualization capabilities with vSphere to consolidate server hardware and compute resources, VMware enabled organizations to increase asset utilization, reduce costs, and increase operational efficiency in the data center.

With storage virtualization via vSAN, network virtualization with NSX, and infrastructure automation and orchestration via vRealize, VMware has broadened its data center virtualization capabilities to form the basis of the modern SDDC.

VMware continues to be a leader in enabling a virtualized, automated, self-service infrastructure from which clouds can be readily built. From private clouds in corporate data centers to public clouds offered by various providers, clouds depend heavily on the virtualization layer enabled by technologies pioneered and productized by VMware.

Impact on Cloud Computing

In addition to underpinning most private cloud implementations with its SDDC portfolio, VMware also plays an important role in public cloud computing via partnerships and acquisitions.

In 2019, VMware acquired Bitfusion which provides virtualization acceleration technologies to offload compute-intensive workloads from CPUs to compatible GPUs or FPGAs. This supports high-performance computing applications leveraging hardware accelerators in VMware environments including VMware Cloud on AWS.

VMware Cloud on AWS brings VMware’s enterprise-class SDDC stack to AWS infrastructure and enables VMware customers to run production workloads across vSphere-based private, public and hybrid cloud environments. The partnership with AWS and acquisition of Bitfusion illustrates VMware’s focus on cloud computing and supporting next-generation applications using accelerated computing.

Key Takeaways

  • VMware provides virtualization software that abstracts compute, storage and network resources into logical pools that can be dynamically allocated to applications using virtual machines.
  • Key products include vSphere, NSX, vSAN, Horizon and vRealize which together enable the software-defined data center and private cloud construction.
  • VMware software defined infrastructure is the foundation for most private cloud builds and powers many public clouds due to partnerships.
  • By enabling data center consolidation and cloud computing, VMware delivers flexibility, automation and high availability for modern application requirements.


VMware pioneered data center virtualization to transform static physical infrastructure into programmable compute, storage and network pools leveraged by virtual machines. This form of virtualization enabled cloud computing by abstracting infrastructure constraints thus allowing flexible and automated service delivery leveraging shared resources.

VMware technologies continue to serve as the standard for data center modernization and cloud builds. With its expanding portfolio VMware supports organizations on their multi-cloud journeys inclusive of private, public and hybrid cloud environments.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are some key benefits provided by VMware virtualization technology?
    Some key benefits include increased hardware utilization, improved business continuity, faster deployment of workloads, enhanced test/dev agility, and reduced overall IT costs.

  2. What is server virtualization?
    Server virtualization refers to abstraction of logical servers from the underlying physical server infrastructure to improve utilization of compute, memory and I/O resources in data centers.

  3. How does VMware virtualization compare with containers?
    Containers and VMs serve different purposes. VMs provide full process isolation for entire application stacks. Containers package apps with dependencies but share host OS kernel so are more lightweight.

  4. What infrastructure makes up the VMware SDDC software stack?
    The VMware SDDC stack comprises vSphere (compute virtualization), vSAN (storage virtualization), NSX (network virtualization) and vRealize Suite (cloud management).

  5. Can VMware vSphere virtual machines run on AWS cloud servers?
    Yes, VMware Cloud on AWS allows vSphere VMs from on-premises environments to run on dedicated capacity on AWS hardware in the public cloud.

  6. How does Horizon help with desktop and app delivery?
    Horizon enables delivery of persistent or non-persistent virtual desktops and shared application sessions to devices while securing access and data.

  7. What is network virtualization as enabled by NSX?
    NSX network virtualization abstracts physical network and provides programmatic control of entire network that supports VMs using logical network overlays and virtual L2/L3 infrastructure.

  8. What hardware acceleration technologies were added via VMware’s acquisition of Bitfusion?
    Bitfusion brings GPU and FPGA virtualization to accelerate machine learning, big data analytics, etc. on VMware platforms including on-premises data centers and VMware cloud deployments.

  9. How does vSAN differ from traditional physical storage infrastructure?
    vSAN pools locally attached SSDs and HDDs to create shared virtual storage with policy-based provisioning. This reduces reliance on external storage hardware.

  10. Which hardware vendors offer servers, laptops and desktops with VMware software preloaded?
    Major OEM partners that sell devices with integrated VMware platform include Dell, HPE, Cisco, Fujitsu, Lenovo and Huawei. VMware also collaborates with NVIDIA, Intel and AMD.

  11. Which VMware technology is most beneficial for disaster recovery implementations?
    Site Recovery Manager automates orchestration of disaster recovery plans and provides non-disruptive testing, automated failover and failback of workloads in a DR scenario.

  12. Is VMware limited only to the data center or can it help manage workspace endpoints?
    In addition to data center virtualization, VMware also provides Unified Endpoint Management via Workspace ONE which helps IT teams manage and secure devices and apps across various endpoints.

  13. Which VMware certification tracks are available for IT professionals to demonstrate expertise?
    VMware offers Data Center Virtualization, Network Virtualization, Cloud Management and Automation, Desktop And Mobility and Digital Workspace professional certification tracks.

  14. Where does VMware Cloud Foundation fit in relation to other SDDC products?
    VMware Cloud Foundation is an integrated SDDC platform that bundles vSphere, vSAN and NSX along with management capabilities to provide simplified deployment and operations.

  15. Can Oracle databases run on VMware vSphere virtual machines?
    Yes, Oracle and VMware have jointly certified combinations that support Oracle database applications including Oracle E-Business Suite running on VMware vSphere virtual infrastructure with high performance and availability.

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