Source: Ken Hess - Serverwatch Any discussion of virtualisation typically ends in clicking glasses and high fives or heated discussions, but it almost always begins with VMware, as does this list. These top 10 Virtualisation vendors deliver the best Virtualisation software solutions on the market today. You might not require every bit and byte of programming they're composed of, but you'll rejoice at the components of their feature sets when you need them. These solutions scale from a few virtual machines that host a handful of Web sites, virtual desktops or intranet services all the way up to tens of thousands of virtual machines serving millions of Internet users. Virtualisation and related cloud services account for an estimated 40 percent of all hosted services. If you don't know all the names on this list, it's time for an introduction. 1. VMware Find a major data center anywhere in the world that doesn't use VMware, and then pat yourself on the back because you've found one of the few. VMware dominates the server Virtualisation market. Its domination doesn't stop with its commercial product, vSphere. VMware also dominates the desktop-level Virtualisation market and perhaps even the free server Virtualisation market with its VMware Server product. VMware remains in the dominant spot due to its innovations, strategic partnerships and rock-solid products. 2. Citrix Citrix was once the lone wolf of application Virtualisation, but now it also owns the world's most-used cloud vendor software: Xen (the basis for its commercial XenServer). Amazon uses Xen for its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) services. So do Rackspace, Carpathia, SoftLayer and 1and1 for their cloud offerings. 3. Oracle If Oracle's world domination of the enterprise database server market doesn't impress you, its acquisition of Sun Microsystems now makes it an impressive Virtualisation player. Additionally, Oracle owns an operating system (Solaris), multiple Virtualisation software solutions (Solaris Zones, LDoms and xVM) and server hardware (SPARC). What happens when you pit an unstoppable force (Oracle) against an immovable object (the Data Center)? You get the Oracle-centered Data Center. 4. Microsoft Microsoft came up with the only non-Linux hypervisor, Hyper-V, to compete in a tight server Virtualisation market that VMware currently dominates. Not easily outdone in the data center space, Microsoft offers attractive licensing for its Hyper-V product and the operating systems that live on it. For all Microsoft shops, Hyper-V is a competitive solution. And, for those who have used Microsoft's Virtual PC product, virtual machines migrate to Hyper-V quite nicely. 5. Red Hat For the past 15 years, everyone has recognized Red Hat as an industry leader and open source champion. Hailed as the most successful open source company, Red Hat entered the world of Virtualisation in 2008 when it purchased Qumranet and with it, its own virtual solution: KVM and SPICE (Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environment). Red Hat released the SPICE protocol as open source in December 2009. 6. Amazon Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is the industry standard Virtualisation platform. Ubuntu's Cloud Server supports seamless integration with Amazon's EC2 services. EngineYard's Ruby application services leverage Amazon's cloud as well. 7. Google When you think of Google, Virtualisation might not make the top of the list of things that come to mind, but its Google Apps, AppEngine and extensive Business Services list demonstrates how it has embraced cloud-oriented services. 8. Virtual Bridges Virtual Bridges is the company that invented what's now known as virtual desktop infrastructure or VDI. Its VERDE product allows companies to deploy Windows and Linux Desktops from any 32-bit or 64-bit Linux server infrastructure running kernel 2.6 or above. To learn more about this Desktop-as-a-Managed Service, download the VERDE whitepaper. 9. Proxmox Proxmox is a free, open source server Virtualisation product with a unique twist: It provides two Virtualisation solutions. It provides a full Virtualisation solution with Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) and a container-based solution, OpenVZ. 10. Parallels Parallels uses its open source OpenVZ project, mentioned above, for its commercial hosting product for Linux virtual private servers. High density and low cost are the two keywords you'll hear when experiencing a Parallels-based hosting solution. These are the two main reasons why the world's largest hosting companies choose Parallels. But, the innovation doesn't stop at Linux containerised virtual hosting. Parallels has also developed a containerised Windows platform to maximise the number of Windows hosts for a given amount of hardware. Ken Hess is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of open source topics including Linux, databases, and Virtualisation. We've included links to theabove vendorsrange of training courses to help you gain the skills you need. If you would like to know more aboutany ofthe training courses listed on CourseMonster , contactus on0800 40 848 40, email us on training@CourseMonster.com or book or enquire online.