Gartner: VMware maintains dominance of server virtualization market

Oracle moves up to challengers' quadrant with improved capabilities, strategy

Orlando, Fla.-- VMware (NYSE: VMW) maintained its lead over Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS) in Gartner's 2012 Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure report, posting high scores in both the completeness of its vision and its ability to execute in this market.

VMware led its two rivals in the same categories in the 2011 magic quadrant report, while Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) moved up into the challengers' quadrant from the niche players' group in the 2012 report, reflecting its improved product capabilities and more focused strategy, explained Gartner Vice President and Distinguished Analyst Thomas Bittman.

VMware's large installed base and product functionality give it a market advantage, particularly among large enterprises. Microsoft has closed the functionality gap somewhat, but not the pricing gap, Bittman told an audience at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo.

About three-quarters of installed virtual machines are made by VMware as of mid-2012, with an even larger percentage among global 500 enterprises, the analyst said, adding that Microsoft is making gains in the small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) who are newcomers to virtualization.

Citrix is a major player in the service virtualization market, but its real strength is in hosting desktop virtualization workloads, he related.

Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) and Parallels maintained their positions in the niche players' quadrant. Because of the maturity of the market, no firms were named as visionaries, the Gartner analyst explained.

Bittman added that the x86 server virtualization infrastructure market is the foundation for two important market trends: infrastructure modernization and cloud computing,

Server virtualization is being used to improve resource utilization, increase the speed of resource delivery and encapsulate workload images in order to enable automation. Virtualization is a horizontal trend in this sense, with the vast majority of enterprises and workloads eventually becoming virtualized, he said.

In addition, virtualization is a fundamental enabler to cloud-based infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and is being used to establish private cloud services, public cloud services and interoperable hybrid cloud services. IaaS relies on either virtual machines or container technology. In the last year, the installed base of server virtual containers and virtual machines continued to grow significantly, Bittman observed.

There appears to be an opportunity for the smaller players in the virtualization market to secure business in the SMB market by offering a better price point and customer service than the established players VMware, Microsoft and Citrix.

For more:
- see Gartner's 2012 x86 server virtualization report

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