"The concept of virtual machines -- sometimes called
virtualization, virtual environments or virtual servers -- isn't
particularly new, with IBM's VM operating system debuting 20-plus
years ago. (The term "virtual machine" is also used to describe a
VMware product that allows Linux and Windows to run side by side on
a single machine.) But it's gaining popularity as companies seek to
rein in hardware and management costs, and in some cases, reduce
rent paid for the space to house huge server farms.
VMware, SWsoft and Ensim -- are pitching Linux VM-like
technology for companies that can't afford a $1 million-plus IBM
zSeries mainframe. There's even a Linux kernel-related project
announced this fall that allows "virtual private servers" in Linux.
Other companies pitch technology such as virtual databases.
ConsultingTimes.com has an mpeg download of the Heist
commercial, plus a recent cost comparison of IBM's setup vs.
Microsoft Exchange. The article suggests the IBM solution may not
be more cost-effective than Microsoft Exchange for server functions
at companies with fewer than 5,000 users. However, when you're
talking about a company with more than 25,000 users, the IBM
mainframe's power quickly drives down the cost per seat to far
below the Microsoft cost."