VMware is software that provides a completely virtualized set of hardware to a guest operating system. It acts as a sort of quick-change artist that enables the user to create different testing environments. David Gerlenter put it very well, back in 1997, when he explained virtual machines more than a decade ago: 'An executing program is a machine that has been embodied by a computer in roughly the sense that a hand puppet is embodied when you slip your hand in. A nonexecuting program is the limp puppet without a hand, an empty shell. Slip a computer inside and it becomes a working software machine: an electric-powered information-transforming machine.' VMware was the long-time leader in virtualization software since its' company's founding in 1998. In fact, VMware owned 85 percent of the market share just a few years ago. Now, however, Microsoft is a direct competitor since it launched its Hyper-V virtualization system in 2008. Now, a bit of a battle has been unfolding between the two virtual machine providers, as even more are being created and offered to the public. It is widely debated which virtual machine is 'best,' but the most important thing for you, when choosing a virtualization system, is to consider your needs and to ask yourself what you'll be using the product for. Once you understand your needs, you can do a better job of selecting your best option from the various vendors.
About the Author: Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx (http://pr.journyx.com), a provider of web-based time tracking, project accounting and resource management software designed to guide customers to per-person, per-project profitability. Curt earned a B.S. in Computer Science from Virginia Tech in 1987 and he has been creating software or managing software teams ever since. An avid speaker and author, Finch's book, 'All Your Money Won't Another Minute Buy: Valuing Time as a Business Resource' is available in most online bookstores. He is also a blogger for Inc. (http://www.inc.com/tech-blog), and you can follow him on Twitter @clf99. Curt can be contacted at email@example.com.