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Gartner Discovers Potential IT Biggies

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As companies try to deal with the increasing complexity of technology, Gartner, Inc. has highlighted seven technology providers it calls "cool vendors" that are developing emerging technologies to address these challenges.

Gartner analysts said XenSource, a new software company formed to promote the Xen hypervisor, is possibly Microsoft's greatest challenge. The hypervisor is a thin layer of software that runs at the hardware level of a system. This thin layer of Open Source software allows for operating systems to run on top of it, thus fully emulating the system platform and thereby allowing multiple operating environments to run in parallel on a single system.

"XenSource's technology threatens to loosen Microsoft's grip on the PC market, and open up the PC for non-MS software that runs in conjunction with Windows. It's like an operating system for operating systems, and it can run multiple environments simultaneously, said Martin Reynolds, group vice president and Gartner Fellow.

Hypervisors provide the necessary security and partitioning to run multiple operating environments in parallel on a single system. "Hypervisors will pervade all computing environments during the next five years, improving security, flexibility, and manageability," added Reynolds.

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