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As the end of 2014 nears, it's time to look back at an exciting year in virtualization. There were plenty of new and intriguing products throughout the year. Here are definition explanations for six products and technologies that stood out above the rest this year.
Container based virtualization
One topic that couldn't get enough coverage was containers. It's safe to say that container-based virtualization was one of the top stories in 2014. Container-based virtualization allows hardware-isolated processes to run on a server, but unlike a virtual machine, a container does not need to run a separate operating system version. Docker was one big reason containers' popularity skyrocketed this year. In 2014, it partnered with Microsoft, IBM and VMware to bring container support for their products.
Another term that seemed to be all over the place in 2014 was hyper-convergence. A hyper-converged infrastructure combines the compute, storage, networking and virtualization resources that are supported by a single vendor. This allows customers to manage their technologies as a single system through a common tool set. The main difference between hyper-convergence and a converged system is that hyper-convergence can integrate additional software components. The popularity of hyper-convergence peaked late in August when VMware announced its family of EVO products. At VMworld 2014, VMware announced EVO:RAIL and EVO:RACK, the first of their hyper-converged infrastructure offerings.
VMware NSX is a virtual networking and security software product that is part of the vendor's concept of the software-defined data center. NSX aims to provision virtual networking environments without direct administrator intervention. It debuted in 2013, but 2014 was halfway over when VMware finally revealed prices. Enterprises have the option of buying a perpetual or a term license.
It's not a new service, but the name vCloud Air certainly drew lots of attention in 2014. VMware vCloud Air is the new name for the cloud computing service previously called vCloud Hybrid Service. VMware unveiled the name switch at VMworld 2014. VCloud Air is an infrastructure-as-a-service cloud offering and includes three cloud services: virtual private cloud, dedicated cloud and disaster recovery as a service. All three options can be managed through vCenter, vRealize Automation or vCloud Director.
VMware's vRealize Suite combines existing management software to allow customers to deploy and manage hybrid clouds and VMs on multiple hypervisors from a single console. The software includes vCloud Automation Center, IT Business Management Suite, vCenter Operations Management Suite and vCenter LogInsight.
Azure Site Recovery
Another product that has a new name is Azure Site Recovery. With Microsoft Azure becoming more well-known each year, VMware decided to rename Hyper-V Recovery Manager and call it Azure Site Recovery. The product went into preview in June 2014, and the new name also means new capabilities. Microsoft says Azure Site Recovery will enable customers to replicate VMs from their own data center directly to Azure.