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How emerging virtualization companies fared in 2014

As the year comes to a close, here's a look back at five virtualization companies that made our top 10 list of emerging companies at the beginning of the year.

At the beginning of the year, SearchServerVirtualization picked 10 companies that could have breakout years in 2014. Now that the year has come and gone, here's a look at where some of those companies are now and how they fared in 2014.

CloudPhysics

One big reason CloudPhysics made last year's list was because ofits big data approach to infrastructure analytics. In 2014, it continued to create more buzz. In June, it picked up $15 million in Series C funding to expand its analytical approach. At VMworld 2014, the company's approach expanded, as it launched a new Global Insights tool. Global Insights lets users benchmark how their environment is performing against global metrics that the company collects and anonymizes from customers. It gives users a massive range of data samples to allow them to identify areas they can improve in their own environments. Another big release from CloudPhysics this year was Storage Analytics, which gives customers a more granular benchmark and performance information about storage.

HotLink

With more businesses adopting multiple hypervisors, the search for a tool to manage those heterogeneous environments grew in 2014. HotLink was one of the companies that answered the call with HotLink SuperVISOR. The company stayed hot in 2014 with Hybrid Express 4.0, the winner for our Best of VMWorld 2014 Public and Hybrid Cloud Computing Technology. Hybrid Express 4.0 impressed because of its "whole picture" migration approach. It doesn't just focus on networking or security; it looks at the whole environment when migrating.

Proximal Data

Proximal Data made the list of emerging companies because of its AutoCache software. AutoCache is designed to eliminate I/O bottlenecks by increasing virtual machine density and was seen as a serious competitor to VMware's vSphere Flash Reach Cache. Early in November, Samsung acquired Proximal Data to boost its solid-state drive (SSD) products. Samsung has shown a dedication to SSD caching software, previously purchasing NVELO in 2012, but it remains to be seen exactly how it will integrate AutoCache.

Infinio

Infinio Accelerator garnered lots of attention after its release in 2013, so it's no surprise there were a lot of people paying attention when Infinio released v2.0 this year at VMworld. The 2.0 version of Accelerator added support for iSCSI, FCoE, Fibre Channel and environments that have multiple protocols. As good of a year as 2014 might have been for Infinio, 2015 could be even more telling when Accelerator 2.0 is made generally available. Infinio made a big splash halfway through the year by bringing on Scott Davis as its new CTO. Davis, who worked at VMware for seven years, had previously been the CTO of VMware's storage and end-user computing divisions. Infinio also expanded its global reach in the past year, as it announced at VMworld 2014 in Europe that it had signed distribution agreements in Japan, the United Kingdom and the Nordic countries.

Nutanix

Nutanix's fifth year anniversary was another strong year for the company known for its "cloud-in-a-box" approach. Although the company had its three-year Best of VMworld streak snapped, the company had a busy 2014. Nutanix, which makes hyper-converged infrastructure, released nine product models in the past 12 months and raised $246 million in Series D funding. On top of the funding news, Nutanix got a big boost this year when it partnered with Dell. Although the company raised a lot of money, It will now also have financial support from Dell. That's key, because VMware launched its first hyper-converged infrastructure offering this year in EVO:RAIL.

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Which company do you think had the best 2014? Why?
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The giant from Cupertino, Apple, had the best 2014 due to the success of its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ and the increased sales of its Retina Screen MacBook Pro series of laptops. Apple did not rest on its laurels in 2014, giving us iOS8 and Yosemite, bringing the two types of OS closer together with Handoff and Continuity. Sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ were above projections, leaving Apple well off.
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