The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation. Activity driven by the growth of the market for cloud-enabled virtual machines, including the increasing demand for scalability, cost-effectiveness, and flexibility in IT infrastructure, thereby growing importance of technologies such as hypervisors, which create and manage virtual machines, and cloud orchestration tools, which automate the provisioning and management of VMs. These technologies enable efficient resource allocation, rapid scalability, and simplified infrastructure management, making virtual machines a key component of cloud computing environments. In the last three years alone, there have been over 3.6 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Cloud: Virtual machines. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 2.5 million patents to analyse innovation intensity for the technology industry, there are 300+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Virtual machines is a key innovation area in cloud

Virtual machines are software applications that replicate the hardware elements of a physical computer. These applications enable the creation of virtualised environments where users can execute operating systems and applications, facilitating resource sharing among multiple users.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of virtual machines.

Key players in virtual machines – a disruptive innovation in the technology industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to virtual machines

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Intel 213 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines (IBM) 197 Unlock Company Profile
SoftBank Group 76 Unlock Company Profile
Huawei Investment & Holding 66 Unlock Company Profile
Desktone 63 Unlock Company Profile
Qualcomm 40 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 39 Unlock Company Profile
Amazon.com 26 Unlock Company Profile
Bitdefender Ipr Management 26 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 24 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 20 Unlock Company Profile
Unisys 18 Unlock Company Profile
Advanced Micro Devices 17 Unlock Company Profile
VMware 16 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 14 Unlock Company Profile
Dell Technologies 13 Unlock Company Profile
Micron Technology 12 Unlock Company Profile
Cbfi Investment 12 Unlock Company Profile
Cisco Systems 12 Unlock Company Profile
Global Foundries 10 Unlock Company Profile
Baidu 9 Unlock Company Profile
Nutanix 9 Unlock Company Profile
Citrix Systems 8 Unlock Company Profile
Renesas Electronics 7 Unlock Company Profile
CommVault Systems 6 Unlock Company Profile
Open Invention Network 5 Unlock Company Profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 5 Unlock Company Profile
Furukawa 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Intel is a leading patent filer in virtual machines. One of the company’s patents focuses on a method that utilises a network interface controller to monitor a circular transmit ring, which stores descriptors describing data and containing virtual memory locations. The method involves detecting written descriptors in the transmit ring and attempting to retrieve translations for the corresponding guest bus addresses, followed by reading the descriptors from the transmit ring using the network interface controller. Other patent filers in the space include international Business Machines (IBM) and SoftBank Group.  

In terms of geographical reach, Bitdefender Ipr Management leads the pack, followed by Robert Bosch Stiftung and Alphabet. In terms of application diversity, VMware holds the top position, followed by Advanced Micro Devices and Micron Technology.          

Cloud innovation in virtual machines has revolutionised the way computing resources are provisioned and utilised. Virtual machines (VMs) are emulated computer systems that run on a physical machine, enabling multiple operating systems and applications to run concurrently. Cloud providers offer virtual machines as a service, allowing users to deploy and manage VMs remotely. 

To further understand how cloud is disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Cloud Computing – Thematic Intelligence.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.