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VMware, Microsoft Still Lead Gartner 'Magic Quadrant'

The latest x86 server virtualization report also shows an uptick for Red Hat.

Gartner's latest Magic Quadrant report for x86 server virtualization infrastructure shows that the two leading companies in the space -- VMware and Microsoft -- continue to outpace the competition, but challengers are making the race more interesting.

As of July 2014, reports the analyst firm, VMware holds its commanding place in front. Microsoft is the only other company in the "Leaders" quadrant. Gartner said VMware "Continues to have dominant market share, and customers remain very satisfied with product capabilities and vendor support."

There are challenges for the leader, though. "... concern over price and vendor lock-in remains." Gartner also says that although VMware is still growing, so are the challenges of staying on top, mainly from market saturation and "competitive pricing pressure."

Much of that pressure is coming from Microsoft. Redmond is also maintaining its strong positioning, and Gartner says that on the server virtualization infrastructure front, it's getting closer to parity with the leader: "Microsoft has effectively closed most of the functionality gap with VMware in terms of the x86 server virtualization infrastructure." There are still gaps, according to the report, but Redmond "... can now meet the needs of most enterprises with respect to server virtualization."

The main challenge now for the company, Gartner says, is VMware's domination of the space. Microsoft is trying to compete on cost: "The most important factor in Microsoft's favor is price."

One company that made a jump in the Magic Quadrant was Red Hat. "Red Hat has made further progress in this year's Magic Quadrant, primarily due to a relatively strong tie between KVM adoption and OpenStack (roughly half of all OpenStack projects use KVM), and an increase in OpenStack adoption," the report states.

Gartner believes it has an insight into the company's virtualization goals: "Red Hat's strategy is to become the No. 3 virtualization vendor behind VMware and Microsoft, especially in the RHEL [Red Hat Enterprise Linux] installed base and where there is concern over VMware lock-in."

The only vendor in the "Challengers" quadrant was Oracle. Gartner listed among its strengths that it "... has a large overall software installed base and financial strength, allowing Oracle to test and tune the hypervisor for optimal application performance."

However, Gartner added that Oracle's reluctance to embrace any non-Oracle virtualization components "limits its full growth potential."

Huawei, a self-described "global information and communication technology (ICT) solutions provider," is the only company added to the Magic Quadrant for server virtualization in the latest report. Gartner says "Huawei's FusionCloud suite -- FusionSphere, FusionCube and FusionAccess -- offers a good mix of physical, virtual and private cloud hardware and software combinations, with strength in its integrated capabilities." It entered under the "Niche Players" quadrant.

No companies were dropped from the Magic Quadrant list.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization Review.

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