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What is VMware anyways??

November 27, 2012

Uh, VMware?? Something to do with server consortiation… ?

Being that this past week was a holiday week, I spent a lot of time with my family and extended family. Somehow the conversation always turns to “So what do you do for a living?” I usually try to let them down easy and simply reply, “I work on computers.” For most, that is an acceptable answer and we move on to the weather or kids or sports (Please come back soon Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers are hurting). However, there are a select few that just have to push and ask, “Ok, but what do you really do with computers…?” I attempt to explain to them server virtualization and how VMware works, which quickly prompts them to begin yawning through their noses, their eyes glaze over and some even quickly try to change the subject. I don’t think I’ve ever once been able to successfully explain VMware to someone who doesn’t understand anything about computers, so I’m turning to my readers for help.

Help Me Explain VMware and Win!
I have a copy of Train Signals awesome VMware Design course by Scott Lowe and I want to give it to the person who can come up with the best explanation of VMware. We all understand it and can explain it to ourselves or to other computer geeks, that’s not what I’m looking for. I want you to pretend you are speaking to Uncle Buck or Aunt Jenny and trying to explain to them how VMware works and what it’s all about. Try to keep it within 150 words or less (I’m just not going to read super long ones to be honest), and make it funny if you want, but make it understandable to the lay reader. I’m going to have an undisclosed family member read them and pick which one they understand the best and that will be the winner. I’ll also throw in one of Train Signal’s trendy vNerd 2012 t-shirts.

The contest is open now and open to anyone, anywhere on planet earth. The contest will close today, November 27th at 10pm EST and the winner will be announced via twitter tomorrow morning the 28th of November. Please make sure you leave your twitter handle so I have a good way to contact you should you win (if you don’t twitter, leave your email address in a creative way to avoid spammers). Good luck and use your creativity to come up with a winning explanation.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Jason permalink
    November 27, 2012 11:32 am

    Cool idea for a contest.

    I explain it like watching television:

    • You have only 1 television, but you can watch countless different channels on that 1 TV. If you’re super fancy, you have PIP (Picture In Picture).

    •With virtualization 1 computer is your “TV”. And instead of different channels, it plays different computers (sometimes at the same time like PIP).


  2. Mark Latham permalink
    November 27, 2012 2:50 pm

    VMware is a program is owned by EMC Corporation. It allows you to create and use virtual operating systems. So if I am a developer – developing on 8 and I need to test something on a Windows 7 machine – what do i do?
    Do you want me to fire up that thing you call a door stop that used to be a Windows XP machine? Heck No! I launch a file I have created and play it using VMPlayer. It will then open a window and “Boot” up a version of XP on my Windows 7 machine. Sweet huh?
    It gets better. When I am dealing with viruses, spyware or malware I love to fire up a copy of my OS in VMWare and let lose the program in question and see the damage it does. I can then shut it down and start it back up without it affecting my normal OS. Double Sweet!
    And it gets even better than that. I use VMWare to run my browsing sessions. I run browser within vmware and then nothing on the internet can harm my machine!
    They are improving on VMware all the time and there are so many uses for it.

  3. Jeremy Cheney permalink
    November 27, 2012 3:01 pm

    Here is how I explain it to people in layman terms. Think of a server as the car you drive to work. More often then not you drive by yourself. This is a waste of the cars power and gas. Now if you could add 3 or 4 other people in that car going to the exact same place and at the exact same time for 25% of the cost would you without any inconvenience to you? “Carpooling without inconveniences” is what VMware does for the IT world.

  4. Mark Latham permalink
    November 27, 2012 3:08 pm

    Arrgh – Forgot to leave my Twitter Handle for the above – @McFarky

  5. egrigson permalink
    November 27, 2012 5:29 pm

    I’ve explained it to my mum like this. Remember when you used to buy records/CDs (adjust as appropriate) and you ended up with shelves full of them? Then some bright spark (I sometimes let Apple take credit for simplicity) ‘digitised’ music and hey presto you can now fit thousands of songs on your iPod, download new songs in minutes rather than going to a shop, and back them up just by copying a folder to somewhere else. VMware does that for ‘corporate stuff’ like email, databases, accounting packages etc rather than music. They still glaze over but I think they at least appreciate it’s useful to someone! @egrigson

  6. Anthony Chow permalink
    November 27, 2012 6:52 pm

    Vmware is a company that sell software packages to hide the physical compute, storage and network resource from the application software. It allows users to better utilize the various compute, storage and network resources as well as providing a way for users to automate and setup computer environment on demand base on needs easily anywhere and anytime.


  7. Guy permalink
    November 27, 2012 7:28 pm

    VMware turns one computer into a lot of computers.


  8. kasia permalink
    November 28, 2012 12:50 pm

    Guy — I like your explanation, short & to the point. I usually use the inception angle: VMware allows you to have a computer inside of a computer… but this usually only confuses people more ;-)

  9. Austin permalink
    November 28, 2012 2:39 pm

    I always explain it as: Before virtualization if you needed to grow like add an email server or website server, you had to buy a big computer or each. With VMware you can have 1 really big computer, and run many virtual computers on that one server. So really VMware was invented because of IT staffs were so upset that they could not get any money to buy things someone invented VMware so IT staffs wouldn’t have to grovel as much. Allowing me to accomplish more at my job so I can always take your calls to help you update Java, Itunes, or look over your next computer purchase that you will not buy. @aus1010

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