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Virtuozzo vs. VMware, Microsoft, XenSource

A reader wanted to know more about application virtualization programs like Virtuozzo. Expert Anil Desai briefly compares it with server virtualization solutions like Xen, VMware, and Microsoft Virtual Server.

In your article titled "Choosing the right server virtualization solution," you do not mention virtual private server products such as Virtuozzo. Granted, Virtuozzo is a completely different technology, but it delivers a very similar result: multiple separate servers running different services on the same piece of hardware. As an IT architect, that's what I am looking for.

Are you familiar with Virtuozzo, and how do you suppose that it should be compared to offerings from VMware, Microsoft,...

and XenSource?

Regarding the question, I think this is referring to Andrew Kutz's series of articles.

You make a really good point regarding the fact that there are multiple approaches to solving the virtualization problem. In fact, I have just completed writing an article that evaluates the various layers at which virtualization can take place (it should be available soon). I usually refer to products such as SWSoft's Virtuozzo or solutions from Softricity as "application-level virtualization" (as opposed to "server-level virtualization" which is the approach taken by Microsoft Virtual Server, Xen, and VMware).

The major advantage of this approach is that it can be extremely scalable - hundreds of instances of a particular application can run on a single physical machine. In many cases, it can be quick and easy to setup virtualization at the application-level and to provide access to end-users. There are, however, drawbacks -- mainly, aspects such as operating system settings, patch levels, security configuration, and device drivers are all defined at the system level. If your application requires these types of changes, application-level virtualization may not be the best fit. Also, complex network and configuration requirements for multi-tier Enterprise applications may not be easy to configure. Overall, however, this approach can be economical and can be a great way to run multiple instances of a relatively simple application. Keep an eye out for my upcoming article!

This was last published in July 2006

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