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November 6, 2014

Top 6 hypervisors for business and enterprise

Virtual machine monitoring to suit any taste and budget.

By Jimmy Nicholls

Choosing a hypervisor suitable for your business is no easy task, given the array of options available in this market. Since VMware ushered in the market at the turn of the millennium, many of the big players in tech have attempted to compete.

With that in mind, we have decided to take you through the most significant offerings on the market.

1. VMware ESXi/vSphere

VMware are the pioneers of the virtualisation industry, with their hypervisor being one of the leading products in the market.

Available as a free product and in various commercial iterations, the vSphere suite features an exhaustive array of features for optimising network services, storage and automation. It also comes with the built in security program vShield and can be tested for free in an environment hosted by the company.

2. Microsoft Hyper-V

As a recent entrant into the virtualisation market, Microsoft’s offerings bring the heft of one of the world’s biggest security companies.

Though it is available as standalone software, one of the key advantages of Hyper-V is that it can be integrated into a Windows Server package. Like some of its rivals, the software comes in a free edition without a graphical interface, as well as four commercial flavours.Features include live migration, storage migration and virtual machine replication.

3. Citrix XenServer

Based on the open source project Xen, Citrix XenServer is one of the most important hypervisors in the industry.

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Live migration, live storage migration and snapshot backups are just a few of the features available in the commercial editions of the software. The software also ties into other Citrix products such as XenDesktop, which covers virtual desktop delivery, and XenApp, which does the same for apps.

4. Oracle VirtualBox

Going one step further than its competitors in pursuing an open source policy, Oracle has made its VirtualBox software freely available under the GNU General Public License.

The performance is reasonable for those working on a budget, and it shares many features with its more costly rivals. VirtualBox is also notable for running on a wide number of operating systems, including those outside the usual triad of Mac, Linux and Windows.

5. Parallels Hypervisor

While Parallels is better known as a hypervisor for Mac, the software also works on Windows and is available as a bare metal installation.

The firm has almost a decade’s worth of experience with hypervisors, making it one of the more mature players in the market. Features include mass task automation, resource management, and live migration, among many others.

6. Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization

Best known for its enterprise version of Linux, Red Hat also has a virtualisation offering based on the Kernel-Based Virtual Machine, an open source hypervisor.

All the usual features are here, including live migration, image management and event monitoring, alongside a self service user portal providing resources to customers. Users can also access a range of reporting and analytics tools to help them make the best use of the service.

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