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It’s been said "no one gets fired for buying IBM." These days you may want to add VMware to that vaunted list.

Solution providers have lined up in droves behind the market leader in virtualization – widely acknowledged to command about a 90-percent share. Rivals like Citrix’s Xen technology and Virtual Iron have not come close to VMware’s massive lead.

Of the half dozen solution providers contacted by Channel Insider for this story, not a single one preferred a server virtualization offering other than one from VMware.  A few gave their clients the option of alternative technologies. And some were keeping an eye on alternative technologies, in particular a much anticipated offering from Microsoft.

But no one was recommending anything other than VMware to customers for server virtualization.

"We have been a Citrix partner for a long time. They are an interesting bunch," says Rory Sanchez, president of solution provider SLPowers, who is looking to add a virtualization practice to his company. "We are not as deeply engaged with them as we would have liked to have been. We’ve seen the Xen virtualization technology that they acquired. But on my desk right now is a pile of paperwork from VMware. I love the energy from VMware."

Sanchez is in good company.  Solution providers say that VMware’s server virtualization technology is superior, it offers more features, and the technical support from the company is rock solid. Competitors just don’t measure up to that yet. And they may never catch up.