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Top 10 server virtualization news stories of 2011

New technologies, new products and new controversies made headlines in 2011. Find out which made our list of the top server virtualization news.

There are certain stories that make the top server virtualization news list every year: VMware’s latest product, a good Microsoft vs. VMware spat and new developments in the open source world, for example. This year is no different.

But there are also a lot of new topics on this year’s list, reflecting the constant growth and maturity of the server virtualization market. This list of the top 10 server virtualization news stories combines the articles that were most popular among readers and the issues that were most important to users:

10. Citrix releases XenServer 6.0

Citrix Systems released its new server virtualization platform, XenServer 6.0, in September. News about XenServer 6.0 began trickling out in May, and users got their first look in July, when the company released the XenServer 6.0 beta. With features such as a self-service provisioning portal, XenServer 6.0 showed Citrix’s renewed focus on cloud computing, but observers still questioned the company’s direction in the server virtualization market. Citrix also discontinued its Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V and turned to Microsoft, with its upcoming System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012, to provide virtualization management.

9. Cisco, VMware team up on VXLAN

Cisco Systems and VMware’s Virtual Extensible Local Area Network (VXLAN) generated a lot of buzz at this summer’s VMworld 2011, where attendees said it would help them move virtual machines (VMs) -- especially over long distances. But in October, when Cisco released a beta version of its Nexus 1000V virtual switch with VXLAN support, the company said its primary goal was not to improve long-distance live migration.

Instead, Cisco focused on improving network performance within the data center, and some observers said VXLAN would have limited value for all but the largest customers. VXLAN is designed to give VMs the benefits of traveling over layer 3 networks while still traveling over layer 2 networks.

8. VMware pushes into management

VMware stepped up its virtualization management game in 2011, releasing several new products. VCenter Operations, announced in March, marked VMware’s foray into operations management with a tool designed to monitor, alert and troubleshoot IT infrastructures. Still, many customers felt confused by VMware’s management strategy, especially the sheer number of products available. In response, the company tried to simplify things at October’s VMworld Europe, introducing the vFabric Application Management Suite and the IT Business Management suite, which consolidated previously disparate products and technologies.

7. Red Hat closes Windows on virtualization management

One of the virtualization market’s great ironies came to an end in May. Red Hat, the leading open source software vendor, had required proprietary software giant Microsoft’s Windows Server 2008 as a back end for its virtualization management product. But at the Red Hat Summit in May, the company announced it was giving Windows the boot and moving Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Manager to run on Linux. The company also previewed Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3 (RHEV 3) at the show and released the RHEV 3 beta in August.

6. VMware, Microsoft spar over Exchange

The debate between VMware and Microsoft over Exchange 2010 high availability came to a head in May. It all started in late 2010, when Microsoft said it wouldn’t support the use of VMware High Availability (HA) with Exchange 2010’s database availability groups. But users who ran that setup to improve Exchange availability and disaster recovery said it worked fine, and they suggested Microsoft was just trying to get customers to use Hyper-V instead of VMware. Microsoft eventually gave in, issuing a new Exchange 2010 VMware HA support statement at its TechEd conference.

Read on for news on vSphere 5, Xen and the rest of the top 10 server virtualization news stories of 2011.

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