It's hard to believe that server virtualization on the x86 platform has been around for 12 years already. For some of us, server virtualization is becoming old hat. But keep in mind, a new generation of virtualization administrators has only recently joined the club. If you're among the new recruits, don't worry -- it's far from boring! And if you thought the fun ended in 2011, you're wrong: 2012 was another wild ride, with no shortage of drama, intrigue, fighting, change, technology advancement, or acquisitions.
To spotlight a few events taking place in 2012, here is a list of seven server virtualization news stories that rose to the top.
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1. VMware shakes things up with a CEO position change -- again
In July, VMware put rumors to rest by announcing that Paul Maritz, CEO of the company since 2008, would be replaced by EMC chief operating officer Pat Gelsinger effective Sept. 1, and Maritz would move back to EMC as that company's chief strategist.
Unlike the previous management bombshell that went off when VMware CEO and co-founder Diane Greene was removed from office and replaced with Maritz, the decision-making process behind this announcement seemed far more amicable. But the news raised a number of questions and gave VMware enthusiasts and customers pause just before VMworld, VMware's largest virtualization event.
When discussing the move, EMC chairman and CEO Joe Tucci said VMware was moving to the next phase of cloud computing with the software-defined data center and solving the problems of the post-PC era. While Maritz and team had done a "stellar job" in positioning VMware as a leader of that transformation, EMC and VMware needed to make adjustments that would allow them "to become the leaders in building out the complete, software-defined data center."
2. VMware releases a powerful server virtualization platform update, vSphere 5.1
For the past 12 years, VMware has proven itself to be the server virtualization market leader. It is the 800-pound gorilla that other virtualization companies are striving to match with their own hypervisor technologies. In 2012, that was still true; because of the technology it has created, VMware remained synonymous with server virtualization, much like Kleenex with tissues and Xerox with photocopies. In 2012 the company was far from resting on its laurels, especially with so many companies gunning for the top spot as the must-have hypervisor in the virtual data center.
In the case with many major dot-zero software releases, companies like to wait until all the bugs and issues are resolved before upgrading, and that robably held true with vSphere 5.0.
In September, InfoWorld's Paul Venezia got his hands on the latest VMware release, vSphere 5.1, and set it up in the InfoWorld test lab. Venezia said that despite the fact that VMware's latest edition was a point release, "there's much more to this version than minor updates and bug fixes. In fact, this is a release that would have been comfortable wearing the number 6."
Beyond bug fixes, vSphere 5.1 contributed to additional scalability and performance improvements. It extended support to more modern processors and operating systems. It also added a new Web management interface to replace the product's previous fat client. Other significant improvements included updates to Auto Deploy, a bundling of vShield Endpoint, enhanced vMotion support that removed the shared storage requirement, and the addition of VM replication previously found in Site Recovery Manager.