Server Virtualization Software

Server Virtualization Software Overview

Server virtualization software allows multiple operating systems to run independently of each other on a single machine in a data center. Virtualization software called Hypervisors encapsulates a guest version of the operating system and emulates hardware resources. In this way, virtualization software uses hypervisors to allow multiple server instances to run on a single machine.

Virtualization software reduces the need for physical hardware systems. The resulting increase in resource utilization lowers server costs. Containerization, however, popular since the emergence of Docker, supplies an alternative to server virtualization for organizations that only require the use of one operating system. Containerization achieves greater efficiency than server virtualization software by foregoing a hypervisor and sharing a single instance of the operating system and running on the “bare metal” of the server.

Top Rated Server Virtualization Products

Videos for Server Virtualization Software

Mac Virtualization Showdown, Parallels vs VirtualBox
06:06
Parallels and VirtualBox are two popular virtual machine tools for Mac, but it can be hard to decide which one is best for your business. We go over the pros and cons of each.
VirtualBox vs Hyper-V, What's the Best Virtualization Tool?
05:54
VirtualBox and Hyper-V are both popular virtualization tools, and both have generous free options. That said, they both have specific use cases they excel at. We discuss the differences between the two so you can decide which tool is right for your business.
What is Server Virtualization? (with examples - Oracle, HC3, and Nutanix)
04:25
Server Virtualization solves for many network needs in an organization. In this video we use Nutanix, Scale Computing HC3, and Oracle VM VirtualBox.

Server Virtualization Software TrustMap

TrustMaps are two-dimensional charts that compare products based on trScore and research frequency by prospective buyers. Products must have 10 or more ratings to appear on this TrustMap.

Server Virtualization Products

(1-25 of 28) Sorted by Most Reviews

The list of products below is based purely on reviews (sorted from most to least). There is no paid placement and analyst opinions do not influence their rankings. Here is our Promise to Buyers to ensure information on our site is reliable, useful, and worthy of your trust.

Scale Computing Platform

Scale Computing offers edge computing, virtualization, and hyperconverged solutions for customers around the globe. Scale Computing HyperCore software promises to eliminate traditional virtualization software, disaster recovery software, servers, and shared storage, replacing these…

IBM Power servers
Customer Verified
Top Rated

The IBM Power product line is a family of servers.

VMware ESXi
Customer Verified
Top Rated

VMware ESXi is a popular hypervisor, from VMware.

Key Features

  • Management console (124)
    88%
    8.8
  • Virtual machine automated provisioning (112)
    86%
    8.6
  • Hypervisor-level security (113)
    86%
    8.6
Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure

Nutanix in San Jose, California offers their software-defined Enterprise Cloud as a hyper-converged infrastructure solution. The Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure solution combines the Nutanix Acropolis virtualization solution, Nutanix AHV hypervisor (though Acropolis works with other…

Oracle Linux
Customer Verified
Top Rated

Oracle Linux, which is 100% application binary compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, is free to download, use, and share. There is no license cost, no need for a contract, and no usage audits. Cost-effective, 24/7 enterprise-grade support is available for business critical…

Hyper-V
Customer Verified
Top Rated

Key Features

  • Live virtual machine migration (63)
    82%
    8.2
  • Hypervisor-level security (63)
    81%
    8.1
  • Management console (68)
    78%
    7.8
vSphere
Customer Verified
Top Rated

Key Features

  • Live virtual machine migration (62)
    94%
    9.4
  • Management console (64)
    94%
    9.4
  • Virtual machine automated provisioning (59)
    91%
    9.1
Oracle VM VirtualBox

Oracle VM VIrtualBox is Oracle's cross-platform virtualization offering, acquired with Sun Microsystems in early 2010. The software was originally developed by Innotek GmbH.

Key Features

  • Live virtual machine backup (38)
    83%
    8.3
  • Management console (45)
    72%
    7.2
  • Virtual machine automated provisioning (37)
    72%
    7.2
VMware Workstation Pro

VMware Workstation Pro is virtualization software which allows running multiple x86-based operating systems on one PC.

Key Features

  • Live virtual machine migration (20)
    91%
    9.1
  • Live virtual machine backup (20)
    84%
    8.4
  • Management console (21)
    83%
    8.3
IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions

IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions is designed to make cloud adoption fast and easy, allowing the user to optimize the value of existing on-premises infrastructure, while leveraging the same tools, technologies and skills in the cloud. Gain rapid scalability, deployment in 35+ global…

Key Features

  • Hypervisor-level security (22)
    88%
    8.8
  • Virtual machine automated provisioning (22)
    85%
    8.5
  • Management console (22)
    85%
    8.5
Azure Virtual Machines

Virtual Machines (VMs) are available on Microsoft Azure, providing what is built as a low-cost, per-second compute service, available via Windows or Linux.

Key Features

  • Virtual machine automated provisioning (20)
    83%
    8.3
  • Live virtual machine backup (16)
    81%
    8.1
  • Management console (18)
    79%
    7.9
Red Hat Virtualization

Red Hat Virtualization (formerly Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, broadly known as RHEV) is an enterprise level server and desktop virtualization solution. Red Hat Virtualization also contains the functionality of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktop in later editions…

Key Features

  • Virtual machine automated provisioning (10)
    80%
    8.0
  • Management console (10)
    73%
    7.3
  • Live virtual machine migration (10)
    70%
    7.0
Citrix Hypervisor

Citrix Hypervisor (formerly XenServer) is a virtualization management platform optimized for application, desktop and server virtualization infrastructures.

Key Features

  • Live virtual machine migration (10)
    90%
    9.0
  • Management console (10)
    90%
    9.0
  • Virtual machine automated provisioning (9)
    80%
    8.0
Proxmox VE

Proxmox Virtual Environment is an open source server virtualization management solution based on QEMU/KVM and LXC. Users can manage virtual machines, containers, highly available clusters, storage and networks via a web interface or CLI. Proxmox VE code is licensed under the GNU…

Key Features

  • Live virtual machine backup (8)
    89%
    8.9
  • Management console (8)
    86%
    8.6
  • Virtual machine automated provisioning (8)
    79%
    7.9
Oracle VM Server

Oracle VM Server is Oracle's server virtualization offering for enterprises.

Key Features

  • Management console (7)
    80%
    8.0
  • Virtual machine automated provisioning (7)
    70%
    7.0
  • Live virtual machine backup (6)
    67%
    6.7
Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM)

Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) is a virtualization solution developed by small Israeli software company Qumranet and supported by Red Hat since that company's acquisition in 2008.

Key Features

  • Virtual machine automated provisioning (5)
    91%
    9.1
  • Live virtual machine migration (5)
    90%
    9.0
Nerdio

Nerdio provides streaming IT services over the Internet by virtualizing hardware and software. Companies using Nerdio no longer have to maintain servers, desktops and software, but instead plug into virtual services in the cloud.

IBM PowerVM

IBM PowerVM provides a server virtualization environment.

Linux Containers LXD

LXD is a system container and virtual machine manager. It offers a unified user experience around full Linux systems running inside containers or virtual machines. LXD is image based and provides images for a wide number of Linux distributions. It supports various use cases, with…

vSphere with Operations Management (discontinued)

VSOM from VMware was a solution that delivered vSphere server virtualization, and also added capacity management and performance monitoring features. It is discontinued as of February 2019. Users were migrated to VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus and VMware vRealize Operations Standard.…

VMware Cloud Foundation on IBM Cloud

VMware Cloud Foundation on IBM Cloud brings together VMware vSphere, vSAN, and NSX into a natively-integrated stack of virtual compute, virtual storage, and virtual networking built upon IBM Bluemix bare metal servers.

VMmanager

VMmanager automatically creates KVM / LXD based virtual machines. It provides flexible features to control and manage virtual infrastructure. The free version of VMmanager comes without any feature limits for 30 days. Modern interface. VMmanager boasts interface and smart UX…

OpenVZ

OpenVZ is container-based virtualization for Linux supported by Virtuozzo and fundamental to that company's commercial offering. It is open source and free.

Firecracker

Firecracker is an open source virtualization technology that is purpose-built for creating and managing secure, multi-tenant container and function-based services. Firecracker enables users to deploy workloads in lightweight virtual machines, called microVMs that may provide security…

UDS Enterprise

UDS Enterprise is a multiplatform VDI connection broker for open systems. It manages virtual desktop lifecycle and user access for virtual desktop platforms and physical resources in the Data Center or Cloud. Users of the connection broker can automatically manage the full life cycle…

Learn More About Server Virtualization Software

What is Server Virtualization Software?

Server virtualization software allows multiple operating systems to run independently of each other on a single machine in a data center. Virtualization software called Hypervisors encapsulates a guest version of the operating system and emulates hardware resources. In this way, virtualization software uses hypervisors to allow multiple server instances to run on a single machine.

Virtualization software reduces the need for physical hardware systems. The resulting increase in resource utilization lowers server costs. Containerization, however, popular since the emergence of Docker, supplies an alternative to server virtualization for organizations that only require the use of one operating system. Containerization achieves greater efficiency than server virtualization software by foregoing a hypervisor and sharing a single instance of the operating system and running on the “bare metal” of the server.

Server Virtualization Software Features & Capabilities

Server virtualization software provides these common features:

  • Type 1 or type 2 hypervisor
  • Run multiple virtual machines using different OS on same server
  • Automated virtual machine provisioning
  • Manage remote physical locations, branch locations with rapid provisioning
  • Server health monitoring, performance bottleneck, workload rebalancing
  • Centrally control and optimize virtual machine environment
  • Patch or backup virtual machines without interrupting service
  • Migrate live virtual machines between hosts during scheduled maintenance
  • Hypervisor-level security, including antivirus and anti-malware
  • Secure apps and infrastructure with guest operating system lockdown
  • Auditable activity, performance log

Types of Virtualization Software

Virtualization software can be distinguished by the type of hypervisor they utilize. Hypervisors are an important part of virtualization software as they allow a host machine to manage multiple virtual machines.

Type 1 hypervisors are installed directly onto the server. As a result, type 1 hypervisors provide high efficiency and stability. Server virtualization software that uses a type 1 hypervisor is ideal for larger operations that use many server instances.

Type 2 hypervisors are installed on top of a server’s operating system. Virtualization software using a type 2 hypervisor is easier to install and manage for smaller projects but can become more difficult to manage as projects grow.

Pricing Information

Server virtualization inherently reduces data center costs by improving resource utilization. Virtualization software subscriptions are available at a monthly or (more common) annual cost, with reduction in cost for up-front multi-year commitments. Subscriptions are priced according to managed hypervisor socket pairs, or per number of physical processors featuring virtualization. Free trials ranging from 30 to 60 days are available from some vendors. Server virtualization is also sometimes offered with on-demand pricing (e.g. compute capacity per hour).

Server Virtualization Software Best Of Awards

The following Server Virtualization Software offer award-winning customer relationships, feature sets, and value for price. Learn more about our Summer Best Of Awards methodology here.

Best Of Summer 2022 Awards Winners for the Server Virtualization category. For Best Relationship, first place is VMware ESXi. Second place is vSphere. Third place is VMware Workstation Pro. For Best Feature Set, first place is Azure Virtual Machines. Second place is vSphere. Third place is VMware Workstation Pro. For Best Value for Price, first place is Hyper-V. Second place is vSphere. Third place is Azure Virtual Machines.

Related Categories

Frequently Asked Questions

What businesses benefit most from server virtualization tools?

The most obvious use case for server virtualization is for utilizing multiple operating systems. This is often useful for businesses that do software development. Virtual machines allow them to set up workstations that can provide different environments depending on what the developer needs. Businesses that use software that requires different environments to operate can also benefit from server virtualization.

When should I use a type 2 vs type 1 hypervisor?

A type 2 hypervisor is generally preferable for smaller, less experienced teams. They are easy to implement and enable businesses to get up and running quickly. For larger businesses with many virtual machines., type 1 hypervisors add efficiency and speed. If you have a need for a lot of virtual machines, or plan on scaling quickly, consider a type 1 hypervisor.

Are there free or open source server virtualization options?

There are some open source server virtualization options, though support for them is usually very limited, or priced separately. These can be good choices for businesses with experienced teams with less need for support.