What Is VMware and How Does it Work?

Reading time: 14 min read
Raj Vardhman
Written by
Raj Vardhman

Updated · Aug 07, 2023

Raj Vardhman
Chief Strategist, Techjury | Project Engineer, WP-Stack | Joined January 2023 | Twitter LinkedIn
Raj Vardhman

Raj Vardhman is a tech expert and the Chief Tech Strategist at TechJury.net, where he leads the rese... | See full bio

Florence Desiata
Edited by
Florence Desiata


Florence Desiata
Joined June 2023 | LinkedIn
Florence Desiata

Florence is a dedicated wordsmith on a mission to make technology-related topics easy-to-understand.... | See full bio

Emily Isla
Reviewed by
Emily Isla


Emily Isla
Tekrevol As a Head of Software Development Production | Joined August 2023 | LinkedIn
Emily Isla

Emily Isla is an accomplished and dynamic professional, known for her exceptional leadership and exp... | See full bio

Techjury is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

VMware technologies are a collection of software and solutions that lets you run numerous operating systems(OS)—or "virtual machines"—on a single piece of hardware.

It offers cloud-based software and virtualization solutions to its 500,000 customers worldwide to facilitate digital innovation and safeguard businesses' data.

In VMware server virtualization, a hypervisor is placed on the physical server to operate many virtual machines (VMs) simultaneously. 

As each virtual machine can run its own OS, a single physical server can host numerous OSes simultaneously.

Read this article to learn more about VMware, its products and alternatives, and how it can benefit you and your business. 

Key Takeaways


Virtualization from VMWare offers software-based simulation, platform-independent development environments, and resource sharing.


VMware is divided into eight products and five applications. All have varying purposes in the system where it’s installed and applied.


Enterprises benefit from VMware's low costs, redundancy, scalability, adaptability, and multiple OS support in cloud applications.


Despite its advantages, VMware needs more efficiency in certain features, unfriendly software, compatibility, problem-solving, and dependability.


Five other softwares offer similar features for users looking for alternatives to VMware, depending on what users or an enterprise needs.

Virtual Machines – Base Unit of VMware Virtualization

A virtual machine (VM) is the fundamental building block of VMware virtualization. A visitor operating system is a software-based simulation of a physical computer running in a virtual machine.

VMware offers a variety of file management utilities, including vSphere Client. This command-line interface for virtual machine administration enables the configuration of virtual machine parameters. 

Users can choose from two types of Virtual machines—process VMs and system VMs:  

1. Process Virtual Machine

Provides a platform-independent development environment by masking the hardware or operating system details, allowing a single process to act as an application on a host machine.

Example: Java Virtual Machine allowing Java programs to run on any OS.

2. System Virtual Machine

Completely virtualizes to replace a physical machine. A system platform enables sharing of material resources of a host computer among multiple virtual machines, each of which runs its copy of the operating system.

Example: Utilizes a hypervisor, which can operate on isolated hardware, such as VMware ESXi, or on top of an operating system.  

Learn the different products of VMware and how it functions through the following details.

VMware Products - Offering a Range of Programs 

VMware provides vast software and hardware, enabling robust cloud computing and virtualization infrastructure. 

Many different products cover—depending on your requirements—apps, the cloud, networking, workspace, security, and more.  

Find out what these VMware products are and how they manage your IT infrastructure through the following details.

 Hypervisors  – Hosting Various VMs

A hypervisor, a Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM), allows a server to host numerous virtual machines and operating systems. 

A "host machine" is the server where the hypervisor runs one or more virtual computers. On the other hand,  a "guest machine" refers to each VM.

Hypervisors are responsible for isolating the virtual machine's resources from the hardware system and distributing them appropriately. 

Using hypervisors reduces hardware costs and improves cloud accessibility and scalability, enabling cloud migration.

Comparing Two Hypervisors

There are two types of Hypervisors - Bare-metal or Native Hypervisors and Hosted or Client hypervisors. Their functionality and examples are stated in the table below.


Bare-metal or Native Hypervisors

Hosted or Client hypervisors


  • It runs directly on the server
  • Manages guest operating system
  • Operates as a software layer on top of the host machine's operating system.


  • KVM
  • Proxmox
  • Hyper-V
  • VMware ESXi
  • EQEMU 
  • VirtualBox.
  • Parallels Desktop
  • VMware Fusion.

vSphere  – Administering Multiple Hypervisors

VMware vSphere is VMware's enterprise virtualization platform, which includes the ESXi hypervisor software and the vCenter Server management platform for administering multiple hypervisors. 

It supports the power of virtualization to transform data centers into simplified cloud computing infrastructures, allowing IT organizations to provide flexible and dependable IT services. 

VSphere is available in 

  • Standard
  • Enterprise Class
  • Platinum configurations. 

Each supports policy-driven storage of virtual machines, live workload migration, and integrated security features. 





Policy-driven storage

Live workload migration

Integrated security

VM-level encryption


Integrated container management


Load balancing


Centralized network administration


Automated security threat responses


Third-party security operations tools.


 vCenter  – Eliminating Third-party Updates

vCenter Server is an essential vSphere management component. It enables the management of virtual machine deployments across many host servers. 

Powered by VMware's Photon OS, vCenter Server eliminates the need for third-party updates or upgrades. It allocates resources to virtual devices, monitors performance, and automates workflow. This instrument can manage user privileges under an individual user's policies.

VCenter Server consists of three principal components:

  • VSphere Web Client - The platform's user interface, providing browser-based access to all platform functions for administrators.
  • VCenter Server Database - The platform's data repository. It contains the information required for server hosts to operate hypervisors and virtual machines.
  • VCenter Single Sign-On - Enables single-sign-on access to the entire vSphere infrastructure.

Tanzu  – Modernizing Software Infrastructure

VMware Tanzu offers comprehensive capabilities for modernizing your applications and infrastructure to deliver improved software for production perpetually. 

Its portfolio simplifies multi-cloud operations and gives developers simple access to the necessary resources.

The VMware Tanzu for Kubernetes Operations package enables platform operators to construct, administer, and monitor Kubernetes environments across multiple on-premises and public cloud platforms. The platform also allows developers to;

  • Utilize preconfigured cloud native pattern templates to jumpstart the development of new applications.
  • Increase developer velocity by combining services and APIs in a single management portal with a consistent user interface.
  • Accelerate the path to production with secure software supply chains that automate the deployment of out-of-the-box applications.

Operations architecture of TanzuSource: VMware

vSAN  – High Dependable Shared Storage

With VMware Virtual SAN, a single virtualized x86 server may act as a hyper-converged infrastructure node, providing the following;

  • Tightly integrated computation
  • Networking
  • Shared storage.

By aggregating server-attached flash devices and hard disk drives (HDDs), virtual SAN delivers high-performance, highly dependable shared storage.

Virtual SAN offers predictable scalability and all-flash performance at a fraction of the cost of purpose-built storage arrays. 

Like vSphere, Virtual SAN lets users choose from a wide range of hardware and deploy and manage it for different IT workloads and use cases.

Cloud Management  – Organizing Different Workloads

Cloud Management is the monitoring and optimization of the utilization of one or more private or public clouds. Typically, organizations use a cloud management platform to oversee cloud usage. 

Cloud administration enables IT administrators to distribute workloads across multiple clouds and control the cost of cloud resources. 

Division of VMware Cloud management platform

Source: VMware

Cloud management platforms may manage data, content, or applications in the cloud or all three. These are:

  • Data management: Backing up data in the cloud is often part of a disaster recovery strategy. Cloud management tools allow this process to be automated. 
  • Content management: Using different clouds to host content that has additional requirements for accessibility. This can save costs when rarely needed archived content is stored in a low-cost cloud with higher latency. 
  • Application management: Allows organizations to monitor cloud-native applications and quickly scale up processing or storage resources when necessary. 

NSX Networking  – Leveraging Network Security

The VMware NSX network virtualization platform enables the creation of secure virtual networks on top of an existing physical network and virtual server infrastructure. 

NSX utilizes Software-Defined Networking (SDN) to programmatically define virtual networks on demand, regardless of the underlying hardware in your infrastructure. 

When you need to increase the capacity of your network, you can configure a second virtual network or reconfigure an existing one instead of purchasing additional hardware. 

Furthermore, VMWare NSX provides the following features and benefits:

  1. Network automation - Automatic deployment and network infrastructure configuration using code, adaptable to specific requirements, and allowing virtual component addition as needed.
  2. Multi-cloud and on-premises support - Virtual networks appear the same regardless of where they are deployed, making them easier to support.
  3. Network segmentation - Virtual networks are divided into segments that are separate from each other. Any adverse impact from an attack against the network is contained within the affected segment.
  4. Minimal cost and resource overhead - With networking and security implemented via software, the acquisition, and maintenance of expensive network equipment are no longer needed.
  5. Switching and routing - These are all done via code and with applications and virtual machines also logically attached to the network. Virtual networks feature scale-out routing with an active-active failover system.
  6. Load balancing - These are packet-based or socket-based, with an L4 load-balancer using the former and an L7 load-balancer responsible for the latter.

Workspace ONE – Transmits Application to Devices

VMware Workspace ONE is a platform that transmits and manages any application on any device by integrating the following,

  •  access control
  •  application management
  • unified endpoint management

Using code, network infrastructure may be deployed and configured automatically, and it can be expanded to include virtual components.

For the following section, learn and investigate various products' platform implementation and networking across multiple systems.

VMware Application – Cross-Cloud Services

A virtual machine is a computer file, also known as an image, that mimics the behavior of physical hardware. 

It's common for people to utilize virtual machines at work, where each user has an isolated computing environment to accomplish things like running a different OS or even just conducting all of their jobs.

Cross-cloud services and the platforms that use them

Source: VMware.

Read the following to learn more about the cross-cloud services of VMware and its applications.

Virtual Networking - Connecting Devices

Using the software, a virtual network connects machines and devices regardless of location. Physical switches and routers perform OSI model functions in physical networks, including network interface devices (NIC).

Virtual networking simplifies network management by centralizing and streamlining access to dispersed components, making it more affordable and efficient.

Multi-Cloud Environment- Accelerating Services

Multi-cloud architectures improve service delivery, reduce costs and business risk. This enables innovation and freedom for business and IT lines to utilize diverse cloud providers without lock-in.

Across all industries, organizations are embracing multi-cloud to:

  • Transform customer experience and growth
  • Scale the business while enabling product and service innovation
  • Ensure employees can do their best work wherever they are

Raghu Raghuram, VMware CEO, with quoted words about VMware

App Platform - Ensuring Cloud-Native App Development

VMware covers you if you need to develop and manage many applications. Thanks to VMware's multi-cloud Kubernetes platform, you can construct, secure, and instantaneously modernize apps and run them across any cloud. 

This platform is characterized by its consistency and stability. It ensures cloud-native app development, modern protocol adherence, and straightforward app updates.

Anywhere Workspace - Providing Solutions 

VMware Anywhere Workspace provides solutions to facilitate today's mobile workforce. A platform that prioritizes employees provides secure, frictionless experiences for all work styles.

Anywhere Workspace combines market-leading end-user computing technologies to provide 

  • Visibility and context
  • Increased employee engagement
  • Coordinated security.

It combines market-leading Unified Endpoint Management, Virtual Apps & Desktops, Workspace Security, and Digital Employee Experience technologies to provide IT and employees with a single, seamless, and secure experience.

VMware Anywhere Workspace consequently empowers highly engaged employees and reduces silos, disparate tools, and operational overhead.

Security - Enhancing defense through Malware

VMware aids in ransomware defense by strengthening systems. It finds and evicts threats with strong lateral security in private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments. 

Additionally, VMware provides network security, regardless of the complexity of your environment.

Vmware secures data through the following:

  1. Extended Detection and Response (XDR) -  Proactively hunt for unusual network and user activity with threat intelligence and customizable detections. 
  2. Secure Modern Applications - Secures the entire application lifecycle at the speed of DevOps by providing continuous visibility, security, and compliance, from code to production.
  3. Secure the Hybrid Workforce  - A solution that combines endpoint security, management, and network edge security. This optimizes the experience and reduces risk across connected control points through automation and orchestration.

For the next part, discover some of the benefits of using VMware.

Advantages of VMware

VMware has numerous advantages, as evidenced by its many products that aid in security, networking, storage, and other areas. 

Here are the benefits of using VMware.

1. Cost

The low costs of WMware enable an affordable, software-based virtualization platform for cloud computing solutions, making it accessible to large businesses and all users.

2. Redundancy

Adding and removing virtual machines is easy on VMware. It offers quick rollback data recovery methods for restoring modified or deleted files in case of data loss or corruption.

3. Scalability

VMware is ideal for businesses requiring multiple virtual machines, as it simplifies adding and implementing them efficiently through straightforward steps.

4. Adaptability

Secure testing of applications is possible on VMware. This allows users to test updates and patches before installing them on a tangible computer. It also helps prevent malware and unreliable software usage.

5. Multiple OS Support

In VMware, a single server can administer multiple operating systems. This configuration ensures superior resource management. Moreover, users may access each of the operating systems simultaneously.

Now that you know VMware's benefits, knowing any disadvantages is crucial. You can read it in the following section.

Drawbacks of VMware

There's no denying the benefits that VMware offers in the workplace. But it doesn't mean there aren't any problems with this program. 

The following details show the drawbacks of using VMware:

1. Efficiency

VMware can only deliver optimal performance on systems with premium devices. Therefore, attaining the desired performance with lower configuration systems is impossible. 

Also, the software is wholly dependent on your system's resources. Predicting how your design will perform with the current resources takes a lot of work. 

2. User Friendliness

VMware needs to be more user-friendly. Operating the software requires technical expertise and time to study, but numerous online tutorials are available for further learning.

3. Reliability

VMware's dependability is a concern due to its tangible devices, which must provide equivalent performance to avoid additional issues and make it impossible to predict its dependability.

4. Device Compatibility

VMware requires specific hardware requirements for optimal deployment, including a 64-bit x86 processor, 4GB RAM, and 1GB Ethernet controller. Please meet these requirements to ensure sufficient system efficacy.

5. Problem-Solving

Virtualized systems differ from conventional workstations, making troubleshooting challenging and requiring additional effort compared to physical systems. This makes determining root issues difficult.

If you have problems utilizing the VMware software, here are alternatives that you can use.

VMware Alternatives

These VMware alternatives are the most frequently mentioned by users and reviewers. Before selecting a Virtual workstation, one should consider the following fundamental and essential features.

  • Operational Flexibility to operate on numerous OS
  • Reduce costs to manage VM
  • Accelerated performance scaling
  • Restoration of Data using Backup Service
  • Easy administration for consolidating information on a single server.

The table below showcases different VMware alternatives and their advantages when used.

VMware Alternative


1. V2 Cloud

V2 Cloud
  • Reliable infrastructure to keep scalability
  • Easy to control administrative features
  • Provide substantial technical support

2. Azure VM

Azure VM

  • Quick security updates
  • Easy API integration and monitoring
  • On-demand scalability
  • Easy configuration
  • Cost-effective

3. Virtual Box

Virtual Box
  • Free open-source software
  • Allows multiple VM on a single desktop
  • Offers compatibility with the host platform
  • User-friendly for desktop use.

4. IBM PowerVM

  • Maximum storage capacity to enhance workload performance
  • Easy to manage remotely on different OS
  • Simple tools to integrate data

5. Virtuozzo

  • Direct boot
  • Instant operation
  • Add natural resources to the system
  • Use less storage
  • Easy control access


VMware for novices is a straightforward method for creating and running virtual machines on desktops and laptops. 

Despite being simple to use, VMware products require expertise in servers, networking, cloud, and applications for enterprise environments.

VMware's cloud computing and computer system virtualization solutions are cutting-edge and versatile. They provide the infrastructure and management tools for your next-generation applications while rapidly bringing the older ones up to date.      

The platform's performance, efficacy, and security are commendable when aggregating and virtualizing physical servers for limitless applications. It is the optimal foundation for any size cloud environment.


What is VMware Virtualization?

VMware server virtualization is a method used for turning a single physical server into a group of virtual servers that operate as their own. Each functions as a VMware virtual machine but essentially shares the resources of the main machine.

Moreover, each virtual machine can run its own VMware operating system. VMware virtualization uses a hypervisor to create a virtual environment—efficiently distributing RAM and other resources across various virtual machines. 

VMware supports a hypervisor to run containerized workloads in a Kubernetes cluster. The solution is ideal for users who want to separate each VMware virtual platform for different projects and other purposes.

What is VMware used for?

So what is VMware used for? Although the VMware platform creates virtual machines and cloud computing solutions, it can be used for several applications. Key benefits include enabling seamless scalability, network flexibility, automated operations, remote workforces, and better security—all of which businesses can use to cut costs.

How does VMware Work?

What does VMware do? In simple terms, it takes a single computer and creates multiple virtual computers that share the original’s resources.

Imagine that your desktop Windows PC uses VMware on a single home-user basis. You could operate two or three other Windows environments, which function like two or three separate PCs. The only difference is that they’re reliant on the underlying hardware of the original physical system.

Is VMware an Operating System?

No. VMware is not commonly considered an operating system. But with virtualization, VMware hypervisor users can install multiple operating systems—one for each virtual server. These include various OS options—from Windows Vista to Windows 10, alongside Windows Server editions 2007 SP2. There are also options for CentOS, Linux, and Ubuntu for those who shun Microsoft. 

And vSphere (formerly VMware ESXi)—based on the VMkernel operating system—is a hypervisor that functions on the machine without requiring any other standard or VMware operating systems.


Facebook LinkedIn Twitter
Leave your comment

Your email address will not be published.