VMware Inc.
Type Public
Traded as NYSEVMW
Industry Computer software
Founded Palo Alto, California, USA, 1998
Headquarters Palo Alto, California, USA
Key people Paul Maritz (President & CEO)
Diane Greene
Mendel Rosenblum
Edouard Bugnion
Products VMware vSphere
VMware ESX Server
VMware ESXi Server
VMware Workstation
VMware Fusion
VMware Player
VMware Server
VMware Service Manager
VMware ThinApp
VMware View
VMware ACE
VMware Lab Manager
VMware Infrastructure
VMware Converter
VMware Site Recovery Manager
VMware Stage Manager
VMware vCenter Orchestrator
Revenue increase US$ 2.9 Billion (2010)[1]
Employees 8,200
Parent EMC Corporation
Website VMware.com

VMware, Inc. (NYSEVMW) is a company providing virtualization software[2][3][4] founded in 1998 and based in Palo Alto, California, USA. The company was acquired by EMC Corporation in 2004, and operates as a separate software subsidiary .

VMware's desktop software runs on Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X, while VMware's enterprise software hypervisors for servers, VMware ESX and VMware ESXi, are bare-metal embedded hypervisors that run directly on server hardware without requiring an additional underlying operating system.[5]



In 1998 VMware was founded by Diane Greene, Mendel Rosenblum, Scott Devine, Edward Wang and Edouard Bugnion. Greene and Rosenblum, who are married, first met while at the University of California, Berkeley.[6] Edouard Bugnion remained the chief architect and CTO of VMware until 2005,[7] and went on to found Nuova Systems (now part of Cisco).

VMware developed a range of products, most notable of which are their hypervisors. VMware became well known for their first type 2 hypervisor known as GSX. This product has since evolved into two hypervisor products lines, VMware's type 1 hypervisors running directly on hardware, along with their hosted type 2 hypervisors.

The company has its headquarters in Palo Alto, California, United States, and established an R&D Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as one at the Time Warner Center in New York City, in 2005.

VMware operated throughout 1998 in stealth mode with roughly 20 employees by the end of that year. The company was launched officially in February 1999 at the DEMO Conference organized by Chris Shipley.[8]

VMware delivered its first product, VMware Workstation, in May 1999[9] and entered the server market in 2001 with VMware GSX Server (hosted) and VMware ESX Server (hostless).[10] In 2003 VMware launched VMware Virtual Center, the VMotion and Virtual SMP technology. 64-bit support appeared in 2004. The company was also acquired by EMC Corporation that same year for $625 million.[11]

In June 2006, VMware acquired privately-held Akimbi Systems.[12]

In August 2007, EMC Corporation released 10% of the company's shares in VMware in an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock debuted at US$29 per share and closed the day at $51.[13]

On July 8, 2008, VMware co-founder, president and CEO Diane Greene was unexpectedly fired by the VMware Board of Directors and replaced by Paul Maritz, a retired 14-year Microsoft veteran who was heading EMC's cloud computing business unit.[14] In the same news release VMware stated that 2008 revenue growth will be "modestly below the previous guidance of 50% growth over 2007." As a result, market price of VMware dropped nearly 25%. Then on September 10, 2008, Rosenblum, the company's chief scientist, resigned.

On September 16, 2008, VMware announced that they are collaborating with Cisco to provide joint data center solutions. One of the first results of this is the Cisco Nexus 1000V, a distributed virtual software switch that will be an integrated option in the VMware infrastructure.[15]

VMware acquired Tungsten Graphics, a company with core expertise in 3D graphics driver development on November 26, 2008.[16]

On August 10, 2009, VMware announced the acquisition of SpringSource, a leader in enterprise and web application development and management.[17] The acquisition is seen by the industry as a strategic move of VMware to become a leader in offering platform as a service (PaaS). The acquisition also resulted in the expansion of VMware's education services portfolio by the inclusion of SpringSource University and its authorized training partner, SpringPeople Technologies.

On January 12, 2010, VMware acquired Zimbra, an open-source collaboration software tool, from Yahoo. On May 6, 2010, VMware acquired GemStone, to be operated under VMware's SpringSource division.

On 12 April 2011, they released an open source platform-as-a-service system called Cloud Foundry, and a hosted version of the service. This supports application deployment for Java, Ruby on Rails, Sinatra, Node.js and support for MySQL, MongoDB and Redis.[18]

On 26 April 2011, VMware acquired SlideRocket a startup which developed a SaaS application for building business presentations that are stored online. Through a Web-based interface, users can handle all parts of the process, from designing slides and compiling content, to reviewing documents and publishing and delivering them

On 31 May 2011, VMware acquired Socialcast, a group workstream service.

Core product design

VMware software provides a completely virtualized set of hardware to the guest operating system.[19] VMware software virtualizes the hardware for a video adapter, a network adapter, and hard disk adapters. The host provides pass-through drivers for guest USB, serial, and parallel devices. In this way, VMware virtual machines become highly portable between computers, because every host looks nearly identical to the guest. In practice, a system administrator can pause operations on a virtual machine guest, move or copy that guest to another physical computer, and there resume execution exactly at the point of suspension. Alternatively, for enterprise servers, a feature called VMotion allows the migration of operational guest virtual machines between similar but separate hardware hosts sharing the same storage. Each of these transitions is completely transparent to any users on the virtual machine at the time it is being migrated.

VMware Workstation, Server, and ESX take a more optimized path to running target operating systems on the host than emulators (such as Bochs) which simulate the function of each CPU instruction on the target machine one-by-one, or dynamic recompilation which compiles blocks of machine-instructions the first time they execute, and then uses the translated code directly when the code runs subsequently (Microsoft Virtual PC for Mac OS X takes this approach.) VMware software does not emulate an instruction set for different hardware not physically present. This significantly boosts performance,[20] but can cause problems when moving virtual machine guests between hardware hosts using different instruction-sets (such as found in 64-bit Intel and AMD CPUs), or between hardware hosts with a differing number of CPUs. Stopping the virtual-machine guest before moving it to a different CPU type generally causes no issues.

VMware's products predate the virtualization extensions to the x86 instruction set, and do not require virtualization-enabled processors. On such older processors, they use the CPU to run code directly whenever possible (as, for example, when running user-mode and virtual 8086 mode code on x86). When direct execution cannot operate, such as with kernel-level and real-mode code, VMware products re-write the code dynamically, a process VMware calls "binary translation" or BT. The translated code gets stored in spare memory, typically at the end of the address space, which segmentation mechanisms can protect and make invisible. For these reasons, VMware operates dramatically faster than emulators, running at more than 80% of the speed that the virtual guest operating-system would run directly on the same hardware. In one study VMware claims a slowdown over native ranging from 0–6 percent for the VMware ESX Server.[21]

VMware's approach avoids some of the difficulties of virtualization on x86-based platforms. Virtual machines may deal with offending instructions by replacing them, or by simply running kernel-code in user-mode. Replacing instructions runs the risk that the code may fail to find the expected content if it reads itself; one cannot protect code against reading while allowing normal execution, and replacing in-place becomes complicated. Running the code unmodified in user-mode will also fail, as most instructions which just read the machine-state do not cause an exception and will betray the real state of the program, and certain instructions silently change behavior in user-mode. One must always rewrite; performing a simulation of the current program counter in the original location when necessary and (notably) remapping hardware code breakpoints.

Although VMware virtual machines run in user-mode, VMware Workstation itself requires the installation of various drivers in the host operating-system, notably to dynamically switch the Global Descriptor Table (GDT) and the Interrupt Descriptor Table (IDT).

The VMware product line can also run different operating systems on a dual-boot system simultaneously by booting one partition natively while using the other as a guest within VMware Workstation.

Technology Architecture


[VMware vSphere, a holistic view]

vCenter Server ($)

(license manager)



ESX ($)

(vMotion, DRS, HA, Storage vMotion)

Guest OS

Guest OS

Guest OS...

ESXi (freeware)
(ESXi freeware is managed by the Virtual Infrastructure (or vSphere) Client)
ESXi ($)
(vMotion, DRS, HA, Storage vMotion)

Guest OS

Guest OS

Guest OS...



Windows or

Linux OS

VMware Server (freeware)

Guest OS

Guest OS

Guest OS...



VMware Workstation ($)

VMware Player (freeware)

vSphere Client for managing ESX(i) hosts (freeware)

Desktop software

  • VMware Workstation (first product launched by VMware in 1999). This software suite allows users to run multiple instances of x86 or x86-64 -compatible operating systems on a single physical PC.
  • VMware Fusion provides similar functionality for users of the Intel Mac platform, along with full compatibility with virtual machines created by other VMware products.
  • VMware Player is for users without a license to use VMware Workstation or VMware Fusion. VMware offers this software as a freeware product for personal use. While initially not able to create virtual machines, this limitation was removed in version 3.0.1.

Server software

VMware markets two virtualization products for servers:

  • VMware ESX (formerly called "ESX Server"), an enterprise-level product, can deliver greater performance than the freeware VMware Server, due to lower system overhead. VMware ESX is a "bare-metal" product, running directly on the server hardware, allowing virtual servers to also use hardware more or less directly. In addition, VMware ESX integrates into VMware vCenter, which offers extra services to enhance the reliability and manageability of a server deployment, such as
    • VMotion - the capability to move a running virtual machine from one ESX host to another and faster than some other editions
    • Storage VMotion - the capability to move a running virtual machine from one storage device to another
    • DRS - Distributed Resource Scheduler - automatic load balancing of a ESX cluster using VMotion
    • HA - High Availability - In case of hardware failure in a cluster, the virtual servers will automatically restart on another host in the cluster
  • VMware ESXi (formerly called "VMware ESX 3i"), is quite similar to ESX, but differentiates in that the Service Console is removed, and replaced with a minimal BusyBox installation. Disk space requirements are much lower than for ESX and the memory footprint is reduced. ESXi is intended to be run from flash disks in servers but can be run from normal disks. VMware ESXi hosts can't be managed directly from the console, all management is performed through a VirtualCenter Server.[26] In July 2008, VMware decided to give away ESXi for free.
  • VMware Server (formerly called "GSX Server", now both obsolete[27]) is also provided as freeware for non-commercial use, like VMware Player, and it is also possible to create virtual machines with it. It is a "hosted" application, which runs within an existing Linux or Windows operating system.

Other products

VMware ThinApp, one of the most recent products from the company

VMware vCenter Converter (VMware Converter) comes in both Enterprise ($, bundling and entitlement with vCenter Server) and Standalone (free) versions and is designed primarily for the following tasks:[28]

  • Convert a physical machine into a virtual machine; referred to as Physical-to-Virtual or P2V.
  • Convert a virtual machine of one type into another (V2V)
  • Run automated configuration tasks on VMware ESX/ESXi servers.

Converted VMs are compatible with VMware ESX/ESXi, VMware Server and VMware Workstation. A P2V conversion can be done from any physical machine running Microsoft Windows (XP or later) or Linux based (Linux only works on Standalone version). Conversions can be managed from a centralized console allowing for multiple conversions at the same time (using the Enterprise version). VMware vCenter Converter replaces the older VMware products "P2V Assistant" and "Importer". P2V Assistant allowed users to convert physical machines into virtual machines; and Importer allowed the import of virtual machines from other products into VMware Workstation.

VMware Capacity Planner, an information technology (IT) capacity planning tool, collects utilization-data in heterogeneous computing environments and compares it to industry-standard reference-data to provide analysis and decision-support modeling.

VMware ACE provides a means of distributing secured virtual desktops to networked client PCs.

VMware ThinApp, formerly Thinstall, is a virtualization suite capable of creating portable software ("portable apps"). This software enables applications to execute without being previously installed.

VMware Infrastructure is a collection of VMware products used to manage a VMware ESX/ESXi server environment.

VMware vSphere is a "cloud OS". VMware vSphere 4 was originally named VMware Virtual Infrastructure (VI) 4 and is capable of managing large pools of infrastructure, including software and hardware[29] both from internal and external networks.

The VMware Tools package adds drivers and utilities to improve the graphical performance for different guest operating systems, including mouse tracking. The package also enables some integration between the guest and host systems, including shared folders, plug-and-play devices, clock synchronisation, and cutting-and-pasting across environments. VMware Inc makes VMware Tools available for Microsoft Windows, Linux, Sun Solaris, FreeBSD, and Novell NetWare guest systems.[30]

On September 11 at VMworld 2007, VMware announced that large portions of VMware Tools for Linux, Solaris, and FreeBSD guests were released under GPL and GPL-compatible licenses. They also announced the creation of the Open Virtual Machine Tools ("open-vm-tools") project on Sourceforge.net.[31]

VMware's promontory headquarters at 3401 Hillview Avenue in Palo Alto, California

See also


  1. ^ "VMware Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2010 Results". VMware, Inc. January 24, 2011. http://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/vmw-earnings-q410.html. Retrieved 2011-10-12. 
  2. ^ "VMware leader in virtualization market". http://www.hostreview.com/icontent/the-blog/vmware-leader-virtualization-market. 
  3. ^ Lohr, Steve (2009-08-31). "VMware market share more than 80%". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/31/technology/business-computing/31virtual.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  4. ^ "VMware, Hyper-V virtualization leave others in the dust". http://searchservervirtualization.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid94_gci1369150,00.html. 
  5. ^ "ESX Server Architecture". Vmware.com. http://www.vmware.com/support/esx21/doc/esx21_admin_system_architecture.html. Retrieved 2009-10-22. [dead link]
  6. ^ Adam Lashinksky (2007-10-02). "50 Most Powerful Women in Business - Full speed ahead". CNN. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/10/15/100536853/index.htm. "In 1988 she picked up a second master's, in computer science, at the University of California at Berkeley, where she met Rosenblum" 
  7. ^ "Edouard Bugnion lives in the virtual world". http://www.infoworld.com/article/04/01/23/04FEctoedouard_1.html?s=feature. 
  8. ^ "VMware Milestones". http://www.vmware.com/company/mediaresource/milestones.html. 
  9. ^ "VMware company history". http://www.vmware.com/company/mediaresource/milestones.html. 
  10. ^ "VMware ready to capitalize on hot server market". June 30, 2000. http://news.cnet.com/2100-1001-242656.html. 
  11. ^ http://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/emc2.html
  12. ^ "VMware Advances Software Lifecycle Management". http://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/software_lifecycle.html. 
  13. ^ Mullins, Robert (2007-08-14). "Update: VMware the bright spot on a gray Wall Street day". IDG News Service. http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/08/14/VMware-the-bright-spot-on-a-gray-Wall-Street-day_1.html. Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  14. ^ Savitz, Eric (2008-07-08). "VMware ousts CEO Diane Greene; cuts '08 guidance". Barron’s. http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderdaily/2008/07/08/vmware-ousts-ceo-diane-greene-cuts-08-guidance/. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  15. ^ "Virtual Networking Features of the VMware vNetwork Distributed Switch and Cisco Nexus 1000V Series Switches". http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/technology/cisco_vmware_virtualizing_the_datacenter.pdf. 
  16. ^ David Marshall (2008-12-16), VMware's year end acquisition of Tungsten Graphics, InfoWorld, http://www.infoworld.com/d/virtualization/vmwares-year-end-acquisition-tungsten-graphics-196 
  17. ^ "VMware to Acquire SpringSource". http://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/springsource.html. 
  18. ^ Cloud Foundry Frequently Asked Questions, http://cloudfoundry.com/faq 
  19. ^ "How does VMWare Work?". Extremetech.com. 2009-06-22. http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,1624080,00.asp. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  20. ^ "Benchmarking VMware ESX Server 2.5 vs Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 Enterprise Edition". Virtualization Benchmark Review. 2006-04-19. http://capitalhead.com/articles/benchmarking-vmware-esx-server-25-vs-microsoft-virtual-server-2005-enterprise-edition.aspx. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  21. ^ "A Performance Comparison of Hypervisors". http://www.vmware.com/pdf/hypervisor_performance.pdf. 
  22. ^ "Diagram: VMware ESX Memory Management and Monitoring"
  23. ^ "Diagram: VMware Fault Tolerance"
  24. ^ "Diagram: VMware High Availability"
  25. ^ "Diagram: VMware vNetwork Distributed Switch"
  26. ^ "The Architecture of VMware ESXi". VMware. http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vmware_esxi_architecture_wp.pdf. 
  27. ^ "VMware Products Life Cycle Policies". VMware. http://www.vmware.com/support/policies/lifecycle/general/index.html. 
  28. ^ VMware Converter. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  29. ^ "VMware vSphere". VMware. http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/. 
  30. ^ "Installing and Upgrading VMware Tools". Workstation User’s Manual. VMware, Inc.. 2007-09-20. http://www.vmware.com/pdf/ws6_manual.pdf. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  31. ^ "VMware Unveils VMware Tools as Open Source Software". LXer. http://lxer.com/module/newswire/view/92570/index.html. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 

External links

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