What is VMware full form?

VMware stands for Virtual Machine Ware. It is a leading vendor of virtualization software and services. VMware pioneered the technology of hardware virtualization that enables running multiple virtual machines and workloads on the same underlying physical server hardware.


Overview of VMware

VMware provides a comprehensive suite of virtualization products for the data center and cloud infrastructure. Key aspects:

  • Founded in 1998 by Diane Greene, Mendel Rosenblum, Scott Devine, Ellen Wang and Edouard Bugnion.
  • Headquarters in Palo Alto, California. Major R&D centers in India and China.
  • Widely credited for popularizing x86 server virtualization in industry through groundbreaking products.
  • Part of Dell Technologies portfolio since acquisition in 2016. But continues to operate independently.
  • Broad software portfolio spanning data center virtualization, network virtualization, cloud management, endpoint management etc.
  • Caters to both enterprise and SMB customers with solutions tailored to their scale.
  • Over 500,000 customers globally. Rakes in $12+ billion in yearly revenue currently.
  • Major public cloud partnerships with AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud etc.

So in essence, VMware pioneered data center virtualization and remains an industry leader with a wide array of infrastructure software products.

History and Evolution of VMware

VMware was founded in 1998 under the name VMware Inc. Some key milestones in its growth journey include:

  • 1999 – Launched first product VMware Workstation for desktop virtualization.
  • 2001 – Server-grade GSX Server product introduced. Followed by ESX Server embedding hypervisor directly on hardware.
  • 2004 – Breakthrough VMotion launched enabling live migration of virtual machines across hosts.
  • 2006 – VMware Infrastructure 3 released to provide data center virtualization suite.
  • 2007 – Launched VMware Fusion for Mac users and expanded products to embedded devices.
  • 2008 – Introduced vSphere 4 for cloud computing capabilities and Hypervisor architecture rebuilt.
  • 2009 – Acquired SpringSource for application development frameworks.
  • 2012 – Launched industry-defining Software Defined Data Center architecture vision.
  • 2016 – Acquired by Dell Inc. But continues to operate as an independent subsidiary.
  • 2019 – Acquired Pivotal Software, Bitnami, AetherPal etc. to boost portfolio.
  • 2020 – Initiated strategic public cloud partnerships with AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.

VMware continues to shape virtualization landscapes through constant evolution and partnerships.

VMware Virtualization Technology Overview

VMware popularized hardware virtualization for the x86 architecture. Key concepts:

  • Hypervisor – The virtualization layer that manages and provides access to underlying physical resources for virtual machines.
  • Virtual machines – Encapsulated logical units that run their own workloads in isolation leveraging resources allocated by hypervisor.
  • Emulation – Makes underlying x86 server environment appear like a virtual PC to guest operating systems running inside VMs.
  • Hardware abstraction – Hypervisor provides consistent interfaces and masking of physical hardware specifics from VMs.
  • Para-virtualization – Hypervisor provides special APIs for optimized guest OS integration when available.

So in essence, VMware introduced robust x86 virtualization by inserting a hypervisor layer between hardware and workloads to enable virtual machines sharing resources.

VMware Suite of Products

VMware offers extensive portfolio of virtualization products:

Compute Virtualization

  • vSphere – Hypervisor, vCenter server, ESXi etc. for virtualized compute infrastructure.

Network Virtualization

  • NSX – Platform for software-defined networking and security.

Storage Virtualization

  • vSAN – Hyperconverged storage virtualization built into hypervisor.

Cloud Management

  • vRealize – Multi-cloud management across private and public environments.

Desktop Virtualization

  • Horizon – Platform for virtual desktops and apps accessible over network.

Application Modernization

  • Tanzu – Kubernetes container management and microservices platform.

The wide range caters from core virtualization needs to multi-cloud orchestration and containerization.

What Does VM Stand for in VMware?

VM in VMware stands for Virtual Machine. A Virtual Machine is a software implementation of a physical computer system.

Key features:

  • Runs a complete operating system and applications just like a physical computer.
  • Shares underlying physical hardware resources allocated through VMware hypervisor.
  • Remains functionally isolated from host and other VMs via encapsulation.
  • Portable image that can be backed up, migrated across hosts easily.
  • Can start, stop, reboot independently without affecting host.

So in essence, VMs are the virtualization building blocks enabling running workloads in their own optimized and secure environment abstracted from underlying infrastructure.

What is vSphere in VMware?

vSphere is VMware’s flagship data center cloud virtualization platform. Core components:

  • vSphere Hypervisor – Provides the virtualization layer that enables creation and management of VMs and allocation of host resources.
  • ESXi – The specialized hypervisor OS that installs directly on bare-metal server. Replaces older ESX version.
  • vCenter Server – Centralized management software that allows monitoring, automation and orchestration of virtual infrastructure through single dashboard.
  • vSAN – Provides software-defined storage capabilities by pooling host-level storage into shared datastores.
  • NSX – Delivers network virtualization for abstracting network into a software layer.

So vSphere delivers the full software stack for building virtualized infrastructure centered around hypervisor and management capabilities.

What Does ESXi Stand for in VMware?

ESXi stands for Elastic Sky X Integrated. It is VMware’s purpose-built bare-metal hypervisor operating system.

Key characteristics:

  • Directly installed on physical server hardware with a compact footprint.
  • Provides base virtualization layer and capability to run virtual machines and workloads.
  • Streamlined OS optimizes just for core hypervisor functionality unlike ESX.
  • Delegates management control to vCenter Server allowing centralized administration at scale.
  • Supports advanced capabilities like vMotion, High Availability, Distributed Resource Scheduler etc.
  • Available free for limited deployments. Paid Editions add advanced management capabilities.

So in essence, ESXi delivers the core robust hypervisor foundation enabling enterprise-class virtualization of compute infrastructure.

What is vMotion in VMware?

vMotion is a VMware feature that enables live migration of running virtual machines across underlying physical hosts without service interruption.

Key capabilities:

  • Seamlessly moves VMs from one host in cluster to another host.
  • Migrates memory state and CPU execution state during transfer.
  • Ensures zero downtime and continuous availability of applications running within VMs during migration.
  • Potential triggers include infrastructure maintenance, load balancing, power savings.
  • Works independent of storage details courtesy abstraction provided by vSphere.

So vMotion delivers true hardware independence for VMs allowing dynamic migration across physical hosts while maintaining continuous service availability.

What is vSAN in VMware?

vSAN or Virtual SAN is the software-defined storage framework from VMware for hyper-converged infrastructure.

Key features:

  • Enables building distributed shared storage solution using aggregated local host storage.
  • Creates virtual data store by pooling disks, flash resources across multiple hosts.
  • Implements policies for automatic storage provisioning aligned to VM needs.
  • Leverages capabilities like deduplication, compression, erasure coding etc. for efficiency.
  • Integrated seamlessly into vSphere ecosystem.

So vSAN provides a highly scalable and resilient shared storage platform to VMs leveraging existing host resources without needing dedicated SAN hardware.

What Does vRealize Stand for in VMware?

vRealize is VMware’s cloud management platform brand consisting of modular solutions for managing heterogeneous infrastructure:

  • vRealize Automation – Automate delivery of personalized infrastructure, apps and custom services.
  • vRealize Operations – Monitor, troubleshoot and optimize infrastructure and apps.
  • vRealize Log Insight – Aggregate and analyze logs for operational intelligence.
  • vRealize Suite – Consists of above solutions provided as bundled offering.

So in essence, vRealize brand represents VMware’s management and automation capabilities for simplifying multi-cloud operations.

Key Takeaways of VMware

  • VMware pioneered the x86 server virtualization market with pathbreaking proprietary hypervisor technology enabling virtual machines.
  • VMware’s core virtualization platform is vSphere which provides capabilities like ESXi hypervisor, vCenter management, vMotion and High Availability.
  • VMware has expanded over the years into complementary offerings including network virtualization, cloud management, storage virtualization etc.
  • VMware supports extensive hardware compatibility allowing virtualizing legacy physical systems as well as modern infrastructure.
  • Strategic partnerships with cloud majors like AWS, Azure and GCP have established VMware as the standard for multi-cloud hybrid deployments.


VMware has become synonymous with virtualization given the rich capabilities it introduced for encapsulating entire workloads within virtual machines detached from underlying physical servers. This allowed unprecedented flexibility in how compute infrastructure could be built, managed and optimized. VMware made virtualization truly mainstream. Its technology underpins the modern software-defined data center vision and multi-cloud architectures. The extensive platform around its hypervisor provides integrated solutions touching all aspects of infrastructure including interoperability with major public cloud environments. As data centers continue their march towards being fully virtualized, VMware with its robust stack and relentless innovation continues to lead the way.


  1. Does VMware stand for Virtual Machine?
    VMware stands for Virtual Machine Ware indicating they are makers of virtual machine software, not to be confused with just ‘Virtual Machine’ itself.
  2. Is VMware a virtual machine?
    No, VMware is a company providing virtualization software products and services. The virtual machines are components created and run using VMware’s virtualization technology.
  3. What is VMware vs virtual machine?
    VMware is a virtualization software suite. Virtual machine refers to emulated compute environments powered by VMware hypervisor technology allowing workloads to run in isolation from physical hosts.
  4. Is VMware a hypervisor?
    The VMware suite includes hypervisor capabilities but also has broader infrastructure management and orchestration functions beyond just hypervisors.
  5. What VMware stands for in cloud computing?
    In cloud computing context, VMware is widely used for virtualization of on-prem and cloud infrastructure as well as multi-cloud management leveraging products like vSphere, vRealize Suite etc.
  6. Is VMware a cloud?
    No, VMware is not a cloud platform itself. But it provides software solutions that enable implementing cloud-style on-demand and self-service provisioning of IT infrastructure.
  7. Is VMware SaaS?
    Mostly not. VMware provides on-premises software solutions for virtualized infrastructure management. But it does have some SaaS-based offerings as well like Workspace ONE for device management.
  8. Is VMware IaaS, PaaS or SaaS?
    VMware capabilities span across enabling deployment models. vSphere suits IaaS needs while vRealize caters to PaaS. Certain SaaS solutions also exist like Workspace ONE.
  9. Is VMware OSI Layer 1 or 2?
    Neither. VMware operates at Layer 7 i.e. Application Layer of OSI model. The VMware virtualization software manages compute, storage and network resources for running applications and workloads.
  10. Is VMware TCP or UDP?
    VMware does not operate directly over TCP or UDP. UDP is sometimes used for live migration of VMs over LAN using vMotion to provide real-time visibility into transferred memory state.
  11. Why is VMware important for cloud computing?
    VMware enables IaaS-style on-demand provisioning of compute infrastructure and supports hybrid deployments spanning private data centers and public clouds like AWS making it indispensable.
  12. Is VMware SAN or NAS?
    VMware vSAN provides software-defined storage capabilities by pooling local disks across hosts. VM-centric policies deliver similar benefits of dedicated SAN hardware through software virtualization.
  13. Does VMware support Mac hardware?
    Yes, VMware Fusion allows using Mac machines as host system for running virtual machines with other operating systems like Windows.
  14. Is VMware type 1 or type 2 hypervisor?
    VMware ESXi installs directly on host hardware providing bare-metal access making it a type-1 native hypervisor unlike hosted hypervisors that run atop an operating system.
  15. Can VMware virtualize GPU?
    Yes, through VMware vGPU technology, it is possible to assign dedicated graphics card hardware to guest VMs and enable GPU offloading for demanding applications.
  16. Does VMware support Linux?
    Yes, VMware offers excellent Linux support. Linux guest VMs can run smoothly on VMware hypervisor and Linux can act as host OS as well.
  17. Is VMware the best for virtualization?
    Yes, VMware continues to be the industry leader and most widely deployed virtualization platform in data centers given its advanced capabilities and ecosystem support.
  18. Does VMware support Kubernetes?
    Yes, VMware Tanzu provides Kubernetes-as-a-Service solutions that integrate management of containers and VMs under a unified control plane.
  19. Is VMware a programming language?
    No, VMware is not a programming language. It is a virtual infrastructure management and automation software platform.
  20. What hardware supports VMware?
    VMware has extensive compatibility spanning servers, desktops, laptops and embedded solutions from vendors like Dell, HPE, Cisco etc. certified as VMware Ready for guaranteed support.

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