Gartner's Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure is a head scratcher

VMware and Microsoft make the Leader quadrant, obviously. But Gartner chose to place all other contenders into the Niche Players quadrant. What about Visionaries and Challengers?
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor on

Gartner's Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure 2015 is a bit of an enigma. To see VMware and Microsoft in the Leader quadrant is no surprise. VMware has been there from day one. Microsoft lands right in the middle of that quadrant because of its all Windows Hyper-V solution. It is a surprise that Microsoft lands in such a high spot in the quadrant because of its past disdain for all things Linux, but much of that disdain has subsided with the demise of Steve Ballmer as CEO. However, the big news isn't who is in the Leader quadrant, but who isn't in the Visionaries or in the Challengers quadrants. I won't leave you hanging. There's no one in those two quadrants.

Gartner chose to place all other contenders -- the contenders that its researchers bothered to read about -- into the Nice Players quadrant.


Yes, Gartner placed the likes of Red Hat and Citrix into the Niche Players quadrant along with Oracle, Odin, and Huawei.

Gartner Magic Quadrant x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure 2015
Gartner (July 2015)

I think Gartner needs my phone number and perhaps a few visionaries of its own.

The most egregious problem with this study is that Odin (formerly Parallels Virtuozzo containers for Windows and Linux) isn't in the Visionaries quadrant. Odin/Parallels is a true visionary in this space and should be noted as such. To label Odin as a Niche Player is not only incorrect, but it's also an injustice to this very mature offering. Most of the world's service providers use Parallels/Odin virtual private server software for their customers. So do many small school systems. Virtuozzo containers, as you know from all the recent news about containers, are the most efficient method of delivering secure apps to users.

Odin/Parallels has known this for years. And not only has the company known it for Linux users, Parallels developed the containerized Windows system as well. That is vision.

As for Challengers, Red Hat and Citrix both certainly fit into that quadrant. Red Hat's Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) is not only one of the best x86 server virtualization solutions, it also include containers. If that doesn't at least put RHEV into the Challenger quadrant or into the Leaders quadrant, someone is terribly misinformed.

Citrix XenServer is also a Challenger in the x86 server virtualization space. It's absolutely unthinkable that any analyst, or group of analysts, would place Citrix into the Niche Players quadrant. Citrix is a major contender in the virtualization market, although compared to VMware, it runs at a distance, but it still runs.

The Gartner Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure has me scratching my head thinking that either the graphic melted and refroze somehow or that possibly the analyst(s) working this beat skipped some required medication during the research phase.

Regardless of the reason for this faux pas, I offer my own revised Magic Quadrant graphic for your consideration.

Ken Hess' Revised Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure 2015

Anyone who follows virtualization will likely agree, at least partially, with my revisions. Surely the folks at Gartner should at least take a look and rethink their assessment.

I've followed x86 server virtualization since it really began in 1999 and I'm surprised by Gartner's Magic Quadrant viewpoint. I'd be happy to entertain any offered interviews about this topic from any or all the companies listed in the study or from Gartner directly.

I'm especially interested in what Odin would have to say on the topic.

What do you think about Gartner's assessment of the x86 server virtualization contenders? Which companies deserve recognition and in which quadrants would you place them? Talk back and let me know.

Editorial standards