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VMware Dives Into Freeware

The rapid expansion of x86 virtualization solutions during the past year raises an interesting question: How, and at what point, does an IT solution become ubiquitous?

Of the notable products one can consider related to this, the IBM-compatible personal computer offers a good example. A host of readily available, industry-standard technologies and practices allowed Microsoft and other vendors to successfully free computing from cloistered data centers.

Then, as demand blossomed, competition increased, and prices fell, PCs became common in businesses and homes across the globe. In retrospect, the launch of VMware in 1998 hardly shadowed similar events. At that point, virtualization was confined to enterprise data centers which had the infrastructure resources
and skilled personnel required to leverage the technology.

By developing virtualization solutions robust enough to exploit x86 system resources, yet light enough not to overwhelm them, VMwares both enhanced the value of customers’ IT investments and enabled them to evolve along with x86-based server and desktop products.

But even then, virtualization remained largely in technophile realms inhabited by IT professionals and hardcore enthusiasts. That situation is changing, as a raft of new, more easily deployable and manageable virtualization solutions come to market. As a result, opportunities are expanding for VMware, which clearly leads the x86 virtualization market in both share and revenues.

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