Top 13 Server Virtualization platforms

Last updated: July 15, 2021

Server virtualization platforms allow to setup virtual servers with needed operation system, port and run business applications. They also allow to create virtual desktop infrastructure and software-defined storage.
Build your own cloud infrastructure in your datacenter and remote sites on VMware vSphere the world’s leading server virtualization platform. Virtualize your x86 server resources and aggregate them into logical pools for allocation of multiple workloads. Get network services optimized for the virtual environment, along with simplified administration and management. Reduce the complexity of back-end storage systems and enable the most efficient storage utilization in cloud infrastructures.
KVM (for Kernel-based Virtual Machine) is a full virtualization solution for Linux on x86 hardware containing virtualization extensions (Intel VT or AMD-V). It consists of a loadable kernel module, kvm.ko, that provides the core virtualization infrastructure and a processor specific module, kvm-intel.ko or kvm-amd.ko. KVM also requires a modified QEMU although work is underway to get the required changes upstream.
Proxmox Virtual Environment is a complete server virtualization management solution, based on KVM virtualization and containers. Powerful and easy to use - Complete server virtualization management with KVM and containers.
Microsoft Hyper-V provides enterprise-class virtualization for your datacenter and hybrid cloud. Bolster IT efficiency and flexibility with the faster application deployment and maintenance that Microsoft virtualization solutions deliver. Reduce costs by consolidating more workloads on fewer servers and increase agility using the same virtualization platform on-premises and in the cloud.
Citrix Hypervisor (formerly Citrix XenServer) is a leading virtualization management platform optimized for application, desktop and server virtualization infrastructures. Consolidation and containment of workloads on Citrix Hypervisor enables organizations of any vertical or size to transform their business IT compute infrastructures.
Xen Project is a type-1 hypervisor, providing services that allow multiple computer operating systems to execute on the same computer hardware concurrently.
The industry’s most popular hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution. Effortlessly leverage cloud-like agility and ease of use, coupled with on-premises security and control, as you leave behind the complexity and cost of legacy solutions.
Oracle VirtualBox is a powerful virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2. See "About VirtualBox" for an introduction.
Red Hat Virtualization is an open, software-defined platform that virtualizes Linux and Microsoft Windows workloads. Built on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), it features management tools that virtualize resources, processes, and applications—giving you a stable foundation for a cloud-native and containerized future.
OpenVZ is container-based virtualization for Linux. OpenVZ creates multiple secure, isolated Linux containers (otherwise known as VEs or VPSs) on a single physical server enabling better server utilization and ensuring that applications do not conflict. Each container performs and executes exactly like a stand-alone server; a container can be rebooted independently and have root access, users, IP addresses, memory, processes, files, applications, system libraries and configuration files.
  on Live Enterprise
oVirt is a free open-source virtualization solution for entire enterprise.
Virtuozzo Containers is an operating system virtualization solution that maximizes your investment in server hardware. Virtuozzo Containers is uniquely suited to Cloud server virtualization, enabling near instant provisioning and on-the-fly modification of hosting and Cloud server plans while delivering maximum density, cost efficiency and application performance.
HiveIO's Hive Fabric enables customers to deliver virtual desktops, virtual servers, and software defined storage, in a single install, within 45 minutes, and without the need for specialists.

Latest news about Server Virtualization platforms

2021. Microsoft launches Windows 365 - simple virtual desktop service

Microsoft today launched Windows 365, a service that gives businesses the option to easily let their employees access a Windows 10 desktop from the cloud (with Windows 11 coming once it’s generally available). Microsoft already offers Azure Virtual Desktop that gives businesses the option to let their employees access a Windows PC in the cloud. But the difference seems to be that Windows 365 is far easier to use and involves none of the complexity of setting up a full Azure Virtual Desktop environment in the Azure cloud. Windows 365 is a service for smaller companies. It’s available through a basic subscription service.

2020. Microsoft makes it easier to get started with Windows Virtual Desktops

Windows Virtual Desktop is Microsoft’s service for giving employees access to a virtualized desktop environment on Azure and that allows IT departments to host multiple Windows 10 sessions on the same hardware. Now Microsoft is launching a completely new management experience for this service that makes getting started significantly easier for admins. In addition to making the management experience easier, Microsoft is now also making it possible to use Microsoft Teams for video meetings in these virtual desktop environments, using a feature called ‘A/V redirection’ that allows users to connect their local audio and video hardware and virtual machines with low latency. It’ll take another month or so for this feature to roll out, though.

2019. HiveIO Hive Fabric 7.4 allows to deploy virtualization technology without vendor complexity

HiveIO released version 7.4 of Hive Fabric, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) ready solution that enables organizations to deploy virtualization technology without vendor complexity or the need for specialists. Users can now apply an optional layer of security to the desktop broker by enabling two-factor authentication (2FA). This requires end-users to use both a password and second form of validation to access a desktop. With the new Gateway Mode, users can place a server or virtual machine (VM) running Hive Fabric in a demilitarized zone. This enhances the security of an environment through the separation of roles and responsibilities for each server. Also now, administrators can upload an update or new version, and automatically apply this to the entire cluster with a single click.

2019. Parallels RAS 17 makes it easy to deliver apps, desktops and data

With Parallels’ new RAS 17 IT teams can enable employees using just about any device to access their corporate applications and virtual desktops. A productive user experience (UX) delivered by Parallels RAS supports users of Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS, Chromebook, thin clients as well as HTML5 browsers. Those with an iPhone, iPad or Android device can even use familiar native touch gestures to easily work with virtual files and be truly productive from anywhere. Plus, with a revamped console, Parallels RAS promises to enable administrators to deploy and manage their entire infrastructure on a single pane of glass. Parallels RAS works with different types of infrastructure – on-premise, hybrid or multicloud, with Micosoft Azure or Amazon Web Services, for example. Flexibility lets the IT team and the organisation be more agile.

2019. Microsoft launched own Windows Virtual Desktop service

Virtual desktop services have been long provided by Microsoft's numerous cloud partners, and now the company has realized that it can do it alone. The new Windows Virtual Desktop service (which is now available for companies on Microsoft Azure cloud platform) allows to install Windows, Office and other software licenses on the cloud, but not on employees' computers. And employees will be able to work with their software via a virtual desktop. What is the sense of this? First, it allows even an old Win7 computer to work fast, and provide Windows 10. Second, it is more convenient for the administrator to create new workplaces, maintain them and ensure security. The service itself is free. You only pay for the additional Azure resources (memory, CPU time) that you consume.

2017. Microsoft Azure shifts its focus to Kubernetes

As far as container orchestration goes, Kubernetes is quickly becoming the de facto standard, even as Docker Swarm and Mesos/Mesosphere DC/OS continue to find their own niches. For the longest time, Microsoft argued that one of the advantages of its managed Azure Container Service (ACS) was its support for multiple orchestration tools, but that’s shifting a bit today and Microsoft is changing the acronym for the Azure Container Service to AKS where K stands for Kubernetes. AKS itself is free, but you still pay for the VMs that actually run your containers, of course. That’s unlike the Google Container Engine, which charges users a flat fee per hour and cluster on its service. It’s a small fee, but it’s not free.

2017. Docker offers native Kubernetes support

Kubernetes, the open source tool developed by Google, has won the battle of container technologies. So Docker announced native support for Kubernetes. The company hasn’t given up completely on its own orchestration tool, Docker Swarm, but by offering native Kubernetes support for the first time, it is acknowledging that people are using it in sufficient numbers that they have to build in support. To take the sting away from supporting a rival tool, they are offering an architecture that enables users to select an orchestration engine at run time. That can be Swarm or Kubernetes each time without any need to alter code.

2017. Pivotal, VMware and Google forge container partnership

Pivotal, VMware and Google have teamed up on a containerization project that the companies say should simplify creating, deploying and managing container projects at scale. Google brings Kubernetes to the table, the open-source container orchestration tool. Pivotal adds the Platform as a Service piece with Cloud Foundry and VMware adds a management layer to pull it all together. Google will sell it as part of the Google Cloud Platform. Pivotal and VMware will have their sales teams selling it, and Dell-EMC (which owns Pivotal and VMware) could be selling it with their hardware offerings in a package.

2016. Google launches a more scalable and robust Kubernetes

Google released the next version of Kubernetes, its open source orchestration service for deploying, scaling and managing software containers. The focus of version 1.3 is on providing Kubernetes users with a more scalable and robust system for managing their containers in production. In addition, Kubernetes now also supports more emerging standards including CoreOS’s rkt, and those put forward by the Open Container Initiative (OCI) and Container Network Interface (CNI) initiatives. With this update the users will be able to set up services that span multiple clusters that can even be hosted across multiple clouds, too. Google notes that this enables new hybrid and multi-cloud scenarios and will allow for creating high-availability clusters that are more resistant to outages.

2016. Microsoft expands its support for Docker containers

Microsoft announced that it is great expanding its support for Docker containers by more deeply integrating it into a number of its enterprise and DevOps tools. Microsoft’s interest in Docker is no secret. It’s even building Docker support right into the next release of Windows Server, after all (even as it’s also building its own Hyper-V container solutions). The company even showed how the upcoming Linux version of SQL Server can run in containers on Ubuntu. As far as these new integrations go, Microsoft today announced that Docker Datacenter, Docker’s subscription-based commercial platform, is now available in the Azure marketplace, so anybody who wants to get a supported version of Docker up and running on Azure can now do so pretty quickly.

2016. Docker acquired cloud infrastructure startup Unikernel Systems

Containers management startup Docker announced the acquisition of Unikernel Systems, a startup that aims to bring unikernels to the masses of developers. Docker plans to integrate support for unikernels into its own tools and services as it’s starting to look at technologies beyond containers to help developers build even more efficient microservices architectures. The price of the acquisition was not disclosed. The basic idea behind unikernels is to strip down the operating system to the absolute minimum so it can run a very specific application. Nothing more, nothing less. This means you would compile the necessary libraries to run an application right into the kernel of the operating system, for example.

2015. Docker adds new security tools for containers

Docker announced three new security tools and features for containers. These tools are meant to make using containers safer without interrupting the usual developer workflow. They include support for hardware signing with a Yubico hardware key, and user namespaces support so Docker containers don’t need to have root access anymore. These two new features are now available in Docker’s experimental release channel. Now, developers who own a YubiKey 4, can automatically sign their containers to ensure the integrity of their apps throughout the pipeline. Docker worked with Yubico to build this touch-to-sign code signing system right into the Docker command line tools. The company also announced that it will now regularly scan all the roughly 90 official repos in the Docker Hub to look for potential vulnerabilities and publish its findings.

2015. Google Container Engine now supports the latest version of Kubernetes

Google is launching updates to its Container Engine, the service for automatically managing clusters to run and orchestrate container deployments. From now it supports the latest version of Kubernetes (version 1.1). This new version introduces a number of performance improvements and those are now also available to Container Engine users. This means Container Engine now also features horizontal pod autoscaling (which basically adds more servers to your cluster when needed), as well as an HTTP load balancer that lets developers route traffic to different Kubernetes services based on traffic. The team also re-architected the networking system with an eye on speed. Google says this work (which introduced native iptables to Container Engine) “virtually eliminates CPU overhead and improves reliability.”

2015. Parallels Desktop 11 brings Cortana to Mac

Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac brings Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant to the OS X desktop. You can run the virtual Windows10 in Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac and Cortana can pop up from the OS X dock when you say “Hey, Cortana.” You can use it in all the ways you normally use Cortana (news, weather, Web search) and to launch Mac apps. It also adds the new Windows Notification center to the Mac desktop — it sweeps in from the side of the screen, just like on Windows 10. Parallels Desktop 11 also brings Mac features to the virtualized Windows system, like Quick Look, which you access via the space bar. And if your MacBook has a Force Touch-supporting touchpad, you can use that to quickly access word definitions in Microsoft Word for Windows.

2015. Virtual desktop service Workspot raised $5 million

Workspot, the virtual desktop startup, is planning to improve its tech and expand its enterprise sales team after raising $5 million in new funding. Workspot also plans to add more users at its existing clients, which include mid-sized and Fortune 500 companies. While other SaaS companies also make virtual desktop software, which allow workers to access their employers’ apps and documents from their personal computers, Workspot says it differentiates by allowing clients to run its platform without having to install new servers or cloud infrastructure. On the other hand, Amazon WorkSpaces, one of its largest competitors, runs on Amazon Web Services and requires IT departments to move their software and data into the AWS cloud.

2015. Docker makes containers more portable, wants to develop Common Container Standard

Docker is rolling out quite a few updates to its software container solution. The biggest announcement of the day is the launch of the Open Container Project — an attempt to create a standard container format and runtime under the Linux Foundation that’s supported by the likes of Docker, CoreOS (which had been working on its own competing format), Microsoft, Google, Amazon, RedHat and VMware. Another new element is Docker networking stack that =allows developers to take their networked Docker containers from one platform to another without having to recreate the network. To a large degree, this new feature is the result of Docker’s acquisition of SocketPlane earlier this year and the feedback Docker has been getting from its networking partners. SocketPlane allowed developers to essentially create a software-defined networking layer to connect their containers. This ensures that Docker-based applications can communicate across networks and that they are portable across different network infrastructures.

2015. Docker raised $95M to fuel its cloud container platform

Docker, the company that pushed the recent enthusiasm for containers two years ago, has raised another $95 million. Docker decided to raise this round to make sure it can address enterprise demand going forward. He cited a recent Enterprise Technology Report that surveyed 685 enterprise CIOs. Among the respondents, Docker recorded the strongest buying intention score the researchers recorded in the six years they’ve run this survey. Messina also noted that about 50 percent of the companies in the current Docker Hub beta are Fortune 100 companies. Currently, Docker is investing heavily in its go-to-market strategy, but also in the technology stack where it plans to expand the platform’s capabilities with a focus on networking, security and storage tools around its service.

2015. CoreOS launches Tectonic to bring Kubernetes to the Enterprise

CoreOS, a Docker-centric Linux distribution for large-scale server deployments, announced that it has raised a $12 million funding round led by Google Ventures. In addition, CoreOS is also launching Tectonic - the new commercial distribution combines CoreOS with Google’s open source Kubernetes container management and orchestration tools. This makes CoreOS the first company to launch a fully supported enterprise version of Kubernetes. Overall, the new distribution, which for now is only available to a select group of beta users, aims to make it easier for enterprises to move to a distributed and container-based infrastructure. Google, it’s worth noting, has supported CoreOS on its Compute Engine service for about a year now. Given Google’s recent focus on containers on its cloud platform, a collaboration with (and investment in) CoreOS makes a lot of sense for the search giant as it competes with the likes of Amazon and Microsoft to get startups and forward-looking enterprises to adopt its platform.

2015. Citrix acquired data storage virtualization startup Sanbolic

Virtualization giant Citrix purchased Sanbolic, a company that provides virtual storage optimization services, filling in a missing piece in its virtualization product portfolio with the acquisition. Sanbolic plays nicely with Citrix desktop virtualization technology and considered Citrix a strong partner before the agreement, so the deal makes sense in that context. Sanbolic brings a unique set of capabilities to Citrix including the ability to create software-defined pools of storage and distribute the storage in the most efficient manner across a network, even in cases where the nodes are widely geographically disbursed.

2014. Docker launches its first commercial product

Container technology provider Docker has announced its very first commercial product called Docker Hub Enterprise, which is described as a turn-key solution companies can install behind their firewall.  It’s designed to meet the needs of more security-conscious companies like financial services and give them a starting point for using Docker in the enterprise. Partners include industry heavyweights Amazon Web Services, IBM and Microsoft. Besides, Docker announced three new orchestration tools: Docker Machine, Docker Swarm and Docker Composer. All of these tools simplify container management by providing a set of built-in tools to do a number of jobs that required manual handling before this. Finally, Docker announced a deal with IBM where IBM will be acting as a reseller of Docker products.

2014. CoreOS invented the new container technology to fight Docker

For the past several months container technology Docker was on its way to becoming the de-facto standard for container technology. Now CoreOS, the Linux operating system specialist, is unveiling is own competitive technology - Rocket, kicking off what could become a container-standardization war between the two entities. CoreOS states, that Docker’s effort to develop its enterprise-oriented lineup of features has caused the company to lose sight of its goal of making sure that its core container technology is lightweight and portable. And that now Docker is competing with container-management-and-orchestration services like Google’s Kubernetes or the new Amazon EC2 Container service. Rocket is basically a container engine, like Docker, but without all the extras Docker’s been working on to make itself more enterprise friendly. These features include tools for spinning up cloud servers, the ability to have clustered systems and even networking capabilities.

2014. Microsoft puts Docker on Windows desktops

Microsoft users can now run Docker inside a Windows machine and manage Linux-based containers with the new Docker Command Line Interface for Windows. Previously, there wasn’t a standard way to get Docker running on Windows, and developers had to either use a Linux-based client CLI or the boot2docker application that sets up a customized virtual machine on a Windows machine that contains the Docker daemon. Microsoft also created a Docker image for ASP.NET that’s now available on the Docker Hub. The news follows up on Microsoft and Docker’s recent partnership to ensure that Docker can run nicely on the Azure cloud and Windows Server.

2014. Docker acquires testing-centric startup Koality

Cloud container platform Docker bought a small startup Koality, that the company feels fits in nicely with its focus on making application development easier with containers. Koality  specializes in a development practice known as continuous integration (CI), which calls for consistent testing to a codebase to ensure stable software that doesn’t fall apart when it goes live. The acquisition makes sense for Docker as Koality’s CI tool can help developers create consistent and error-prone code across multiple cloud servers.

2014. Cloud container technology provider Docker gets $40M in funding

Docker, the company that backs the open source Docker container platform, has raised $40 million in Series C funding. This current round of funding highlights just how important Docker’s take on container technology is perceived to be among investors and the tech community. The container-management startup has captured the attention of the cloud world this summer with numerous big tech companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon and VMware showing support for the startup by ensuring that their own platforms are compatible with Docker’s container technology. Docker’s platform makes it easier for developers to deploy their applications across many different environments without having to worry that one particular component of an application — like a database — will impact another component.

2014. Cloud marketplace provider OnApp buys VPS virtualization solution SolusVM

London-based Cloud automation company OnApp has bought SolusVM, the virtual private server management system, in order to boost demand for the capacity on offer in OnApp’s federation. OnApp provides a marketplace of content delivery network (CDN), storage and compute capacity. And SolusVM is used by thousands of small service providers to manage their virtual private servers (VPS). OnApp wants those outfits to boost the demand side on its marketplace. The idea is for SolusVM users to see, alongside the option of adding another hypervisor, the option of “simply buying resources you need from the OnApp suppliers, then supplying to your customers a mix of your own infrastructure and excess infrastructure.

2014. Citrix Receiver for Chrome becomes more business-ready

Google and Citrix released a new version the Citrix Receiver for Chrome that both hope will bring more businesses to Google’s Chrome OS platform. Receiver gives users access to their virtual apps and desktops through XenDesktop and XenApp from their smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs. Because Receiver for Chrome can now access more of Chrome OS’s native features directly, users are able to easily use Google Cloud Print, for example. Features like audio and video playback should now also work better. Other features include integration with Chrome OS’s clipboard across remote and local applications, as well as monitoring with HDX Insight and support for direct SSL connections.

2014. VMware buys CloudVolumes to deliver apps in real time

VMware is buying CloudVolumes - the system for real-time application delivery in virtualized environments. It's a nice fit for the VMware Horizon desktop virtualization product. According to VMware: Delivering desktop applications to users, especially in Windows environments, can be challenging and cumbersome.  The installation paradigm for adding and removing applications from a system is heavyweight and fragile.  Problems at runtime can easily crop up – such as incompatibilities or conflicts with existing apps – that can interfere with successful application delivery.  Preventing these problems often results in complex workarounds, either through scripting or manual intervention.  We need a better way, and CloudVolumes provides it.

2014. VMware's virtual desktops and cartoons for dummies are better than Amazon's

Last November Amazon launched the virtual desktop service Amazon WorkSpaces and created cartoon video for dummies about why companies need virtual desktops. Today the virtualization giant VMware has delivered its response - VMware Horizon Desktop-as-a-Service with cartoon video for dummies about the benefits of virtual desktops. After reviewing both videos - it's easy to notice that VMware's cartoon is more nice. But VMware also claims that their service is much more powerful and safer, while costs the same money (from $35/month for one virtual computer). Besides they say, that four months after launch, AWS WorkSpaces is still in limited preview while VMware's service is already working. VMware Horizon is available either directly from VMware or via its partners - service providers.

2014. VMware brings Windows apps to ChromeOS

In April Microsoft will stop supporting of Windows XP and companies need to make a decision about the upgrade of their computers to ensure their security. And if the new CEO of Microsoft won't decide to reduce Windows 8 price, large companies will have to spend quite big money for the update. And Google is going to use this opportunity and push its ChromeOS. Together with VMWare Google is now offering the solution - VMware Horizon DaaS (Desktop as a Service) which allows large companies and service providers to make Windows software work on Chromebooks and Chromboxes. It is a cloud service, which allows you to run Windows applications from within the Chrome browser. Remote access to a Windows machine on Chrome OS is not new. Google even offers its own Remote Desktop app for this, and there are a number of third-party options. But these solutions don’t offer the kind of security features that enterprises look for and VMWare's solution can provide.

2011. Microsoft Hyper-V vs VMware: video

Recently, Microsoft marketing people use to create funny videos about the competitors. Recently the movie about GMail appeared and now - about the Microsoft's main competitor on the virtualization market - VMWare. The video shows Tad, the salesman at VMLimited, the company that stuck in the IT past. He goes to business meetings with clients in his cool minivan and tries to sell them his "limited" virtualization system (when the normal companies are already selling private clouds). That's the modern IT-humor: "While he says that he selling a cloud, he is actually selling nothing more than virtualization" - probably if Larry Ellison would hear it, his hair would stand on end.