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VMware to Make Server Product Free (as in beer) 216

yahyamf writes "CNET is reporting that in the face of increasing competition in the OS virtualization market VMWare is going to give away its GSX server product for free, in the hope that customers who try it will eventually migrate to the more powerful ESX server. The company recently released a free VMWare Player which could only run but not create virtual machines. The company faces competition from rival products such as SWsoft's Virtuozzo, Mircrosoft's Virtual Server, as well as open source software like Xen"
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VMware to Make Server Product Free (as in beer)

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  • by jomas1 ( 696853 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @09:41AM (#14634200) Homepage
    If you are going to list software that will let you run an operating system from within another don't leave out qemu ahref= html-2228 []>

    Qemu may not run as fast as vmware does now but it's here, it's free and you can change whatever you want about it. The same is not true for vmware
    • I use QEMU everyday in my day job, so now I can boot my desktop in Linux... I use Delphi7 inside QEMU and it works flawlessly (not blazingly fast, but acceptable)
      • I used to run QEMU also but now that Vmware player is free I run that instead. As I am just an "end user" who do not really need to modify the code, I only use it to run Linux on my Windows computer.

        • Re:SECONDED (Score:4, Informative)

          by j0217995 ( 597878 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @10:47AM (#14634601)
          I use a combination of them as well to run Linux on my windows box. If you use qemu to create the image file in vmware format you can then setup any vmplayer file to run any operating system. Currently I have the following image files, Ubuntu (Breezy), Ubuntu (Dapper), Windows 2003 Server, Debian, and BSD. All files were created first in qemu then I installed through VMPlayer. Runs as well as an official VM Player file available for download. See [] for more information.
          • Re:SECONDED (Score:2, Interesting)

            Well, even though I've used QEMU quite a while (and even wrote the first version of its Wikipedia article []!), I have to say that I prefer VMware myself. For one thing it's a lot faster – very important if you need to test the next version of a Linux system right now without any delays – and I also just like the program better.

            And then there's the licensing issue – while I appreciate QEMU being free and all, I don't like how the KQEMU module's proprietary software that can't be freely distr
    • If you just want to run Linux under Windows, why not CoLinux []?
    • Blatant advert alert! I recently put together a page about running XP under Qemu []. It's a bit tricky to get working (due to a bug in XP) and dog slow but if you must have XP under Linux this is a solution that works. I use it to test websites in IE.

    • I use virtualization a lot, both at work and for for personal needs. I have got about 20 disk images, and my work typically requires me to run 2 or 3 virtual machines concurrently. Three or 4 years ago, I was using VMWare because it was basically the only product that worked well at the time. However I have switched to Qemu since then, because IMHO it is technically superior. Here is why:

      • Qemu copy-on-write disk image formats allows me to have as many different disk images of the same OS while using MU
      • I don't think you've taken a look at the new 5.x series or the GSX or ESX server, though granted ESX is outrageously expensive. I'm not that familiar with QEMU, but some of the things you mention don't apply to VMWare GSX or ESX server. For example, GSX and ESX server allow remote GUI's, so you don't need X11 on the host machine.

        Additionally, VMWare has multi-processor support, as well as virtual SMP support, so you can simulate SMP on a single processor box (handy if you're debugging SMP problems but onl
      • Does qemu offer virtualization now? Last time I looked at it, there was a lot of talk about using bochs as an engine for qemu, and someone claimed to have done it, but you couldn't GET it. Last I checked, qemu was only an emulator.
  • Mmm? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, 2006 @09:42AM (#14634202)
    So where can I find this free beer everyone keeps talking about?
    • Obviously somebody who never went to college.

    • So where can I find this free beer everyone keeps talking about?
      It's not free as in "given away to you", it's free as in "can run away from you" - which it is obviously doing well.
  • Mircrosoft (Score:3, Insightful)

    by raffe ( 28595 ) * on Friday February 03, 2006 @09:43AM (#14634206) Journal
    I bet this is more because og Mircrosoft than Xen. When Mircrosoft is moving into a field competitors usally shiver....
    • I can't speak for anyone else, but I have absolutely zero interest in Microsoft's VM products. Xen, on the other hand, does intrigue me. Nothing compares to VMware today, though.
      • Re:Mircrosoft (Score:3, Insightful)

        by oni ( 41625 )
        I can't speak for anyone else, but I have absolutely zero interest in Microsoft's VM products.

        Yeah, but the way the world works is that people who wouldn't normally even think about VMs will think about them for no other reason than the fact that it came for free with their OS. Microsoft will have a button somewhere labeled, "click here to make this a VM" and people who don't even know what a VM is will click it.

        Don't believe me? Take a look at the form that comes up after you install Win2k3 advanced ser
    • True. VMWare GSX is more similar to MS Virtual Server (based on Virtual PC acquired from Connectix), and MS already said Virtual Server is being bundled for free with Longhorn Server. Xen + Intel VT can run Windows guest OS's too, but Xensource doesn't have a comparable commercial product yet for the corporate market.
  • Intel VT (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lisaparratt ( 752068 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @09:46AM (#14634222)
    I would have thought the most scary thing facing VMware is Intel Virtualisation Technology - it makes what was previously very hard fairly simple. It also doesn't require the guest OSes to be hacked, ala Xen.

    I suspect we can expect to see a huge swathe of hypervisors being released over the next few months, if only so x86 Mac users can run Windows apps!
    • Re:Intel VT (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rfinnvik ( 16122 ) * on Friday February 03, 2006 @09:52AM (#14634252)
      VMWare's real "killer app" in my opinion is VirtualCenter/VMotion. The management tool is better than anything else I've seen for managing virtual infrastructure - and the ability to move live VMs between hardware nodes is just impressive :)
      • Re:Intel VT (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ThePhilips ( 752041 )
        It definitely sounds good. At least it removes another 'contra' from long list of IA-32/AMD64 and PowerPC differences. As many of you have known for some time people who run Linux on PPC enjoyed free ride with Mac-On-Linux project. Check []

        On side note, after seeing how easy virtualization can happen with Open Source kernels - e.g. User Mode Linux, Xen, Plex, coLinux, etc - me keeps wandering why M$ haven't done that with WinNT kernels. There are only few true obstacles in x86 "architect
      • Re:Intel VT (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jcnnghm ( 538570 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @10:37AM (#14634527)
        Xen can also move live VMs between hardware nodes (only non-responsive for tens of milliseconds). It's going to be a very powerful tool once all chips have virtualization capabilities.
        • "Xen can also move live VMs between hardware nodes"

          Given shared storage...

          So you either have something like fiber channel (vey expensive), iSCSI (doesn't look production-ready on Linux) or NFS root (pity the fool that relies on Linux NFS servers in a production environment).

          Any realistic, production-ready, Linux-based shared-storage alternatives that don't cost like a bazillion dollars?

      • Virtuozzo has vzmigrate, but in a real production environment where you're migrating customers between hardware nodes, the arp-cache is your enemy much more than the few seconds of down-time that a product's migration tool incurs.

    • Uhh. No. []
  • by tumutbound ( 549414 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @09:49AM (#14634237)
    I'd certainly be pissed off if I'd just paid $1400 for GSX only to be told this week it's free.
    I've been paying for regular updates to VMWorkstation over the years, does this mean I can stop and just use the free products?
    That said, it's still worth the money I've been paying.
    • Just imagine if you've just been done for downloading it off a p2p network and applying a cracked serial. That'd hurt. I'm not speaking from experience, just imagining...
    • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @10:25AM (#14634434)
      I'd certainly be pissed off if I'd just paid $1400 for GSX only to be told this week it's free.

      Why? If you thought $1400 was too much for the product, you wouldn't have bought it. Since you bought the product, clearly you thought that what you were getting was worth more than what you were paying for it. So you were happy with the deal you made with VMware. Surely you are not petty enough to begrudge others the better deal that they are now getting?

      Though I'm certainly not the religious sort, I'm reminded of the Christian parable of the workers in the vineyard. You made your own deal with VMware, and you were happy with it. What business is it of yours if, since then, they have changed their plans and now offer better deals to others?

      • The thing is, as the price rises, sellers often offer price protection. Think of all the consumer applicance stores, car dealerships, etc. that will give back the difference between what you paid and the current price, within a small time window.

        I believe Apple computer does this as well, if you buy a computer a few days before a price drop, they'll refund you.
        • Yes, and then I think of all the other ones that offer little caveats in the small print on these so-called "price protections". The concept is sort of good in a retail environment, but if you went one day and filled your gas at $2.959/gal, and a couple of hours later, the price was down to $2.799/gal, do you think that if you go in with your receipt that the vendor is going to give you the difference back? Bah.

          Some stores do it as a customer-friendly measure, but they leave themselves wiggle room, or have
  • Limitations? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Comatose51 ( 687974 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @09:49AM (#14634240) Homepage
    This is not a troll comment but can it run on a cluster? Will it detect that it's running on a Linux cluster and refuse to run? Here's what I'm thinking, a bunch of older computers clustered using one of those Live CDs that make them part a cluster just by popping the CDs in. I believe the software, can't remember the name, also does single system image or something like that where the cluster appears as a single system to the applications. Then run VMWare on top and run any OS you want! In my scenario, I'll be running Windows because our software is written for Windows but takes forever to run. I've considered building a cluster but couldn't think of an easy way to make it run on Linux. I was going to try Xen but VMWare is super easy to use, if my experience using it on Windows carries over to Linux.

    Very exciting indeed.

    • Re:Limitations? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hal2814 ( 725639 )
      I'm not so sure that shoehorning an app (and an OS for that matter) that thinks it's running on a signle node into a cluster is such a good idea. The benefits of a cluster are typically only realized when the underlying software has some idea of what's going on and can organize data sufficiently accross the nodes. At best case, I'm guessing there will be an awfully chatty system in place that may get marginally better performance or may even get worse performance than running the app on a single node.
    • Re:Limitations? (Score:3, Informative)

      by stikves ( 127823 )
      "This is not a troll comment but can it run on a cluster?"

      No it's not troll, but it's totally uniformed. Currently SMP (multiprocessor/multithreaded) VMware is only supported on ESX server as an addon []. As ESX runs on bare hardware (it's GSX who runs as a Linux application), there is currently no support for "virtual multiple CPUs in Linux". (Xen does this, but it's not the issue now).

      Additionally OpenMOSIX (which comes with ClusterKnoppix [] - I guess you meant this by "those Live CDs"), does not to "SMP like"
      • So for what I want to do, is Xen still the best way to go? I'm really uninformed about all this and want to experiment in the future. Thanks.
        • If I'm not mistaken you're trying to "combine the strengths of several old machines to run a SINGLE software".

          If so, please do not try to do this in a "generic" way. Even if somehow you achive to do it, the effect will be opposite of what you want. There is a big bottleneck in PC networking, unless you're using some specific fabric (say from Sun).

          Instead, try to rewrite you application to be "cluster aware". Windows has (in production?) a new version called "Compute Cluster Edition" [] which comes with MPI and
  • by cablepokerface ( 718716 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @09:57AM (#14634282)
    in the hope that customers who try it will eventually migrate to the more powerful ESX server

    It's not only more powerful, it's fundamentally different. It's requires a different sort of administration. Also, the usage is different. gsx wil rarely be actively used in high uptime required production environments, esx will. esx also enables functionalities such als vmotion (if you have a san [] that is) and will be used more often in blade server configs.

    I really wonder if people will view esx as an 'upgrade' to gsx.
  • To play devils advocate here, why isn't VMWare resorting to patents to muscle out the competition? Why compete when a government monopoly can take care of competition for you?

    Are all their patents pending?
    • Yeah...I'm sure that'd work out for them. Keep in mind that it is obvious that they didn't invent the idea of a virtual machine (it was one of the very first ways of doing things).
      What they have to fear is the new hardware based virtualizers.

      What would the title be?


      You don't think that'd fly, do you?
      You don't think that perhaps that AMD and Intel might have problems with that?

      I guess they could br
    • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @10:39AM (#14634541)

      VMWare is not in a good position to use patents to protect their IP.

      The reason being that they actually have a product. This means they can be countersued for things like using a drop down menu, displaying a rectangle on a screen, ingenious stuff like that.

    • To play devils advocate here, why isn't VMWare resorting to patents to muscle out the competition?

      Because IBM probably has all the patents via their VM system that has been around for 30 years ;-)

  • Seems that GSX Server does everything VMWare Workstation does, so why would anyone buy VMware Workstation, when GSX Server is free? Don't quite understand that bit...
    • Because GSX won't run on all of those XP machines? Server only (win2x and linux afaik).
    • the Workstation is a application, you need the ui running for the virtual system to be up... GSX on the other hand runs the systems as services, and gives you a neat littile control panel.
      • GSX on the other hand runs the systems as services, and gives you a neat littile control panel.

        GSX also includes a vmware-console application that you use to connect to the GSX server to view your consoles. So yes, you technically could replace VMWare workstation on a Linux box with GSX server and probably be fine.

    • Workstation is probably more widely used the GSX server. They are
      different Animals. Even tho GSX server may end up being free, we may
      install it to a single production server. However, we will also
      continue buying Workstation for testing. There are several people with
      Workstation installed to the laptops so they can create/run various
      VM's. On my laptop alone, I hav about 8 VM's that I use for testing
      (various OS, VPN softwares, script design, etc). I would never install
      GSX to my laptop.
    • Recent versions of Workstation [] are more than a GSX subset. They include features that are targeted specifically at developers and desktop users, that tend to be less useful for servers. E.g., workstation offers "teams" of associated VMs that power on together, and share a virtual private network connection, for software developers. It has a richer set of lightweight-cloning operations, which makes it more tractable to deploy applications inside VMs. And so on...

      Not claiming we're always going to sell workst
  • Wait a second.... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, 2006 @10:00AM (#14634302)
    Doesn't TFA say they are "expected" to make their product free?

    expected != will
  • VMWare is going to give away its GSX server product for free, in the hope that customers who try it will eventually migrate to the more powerful ESX server...Intel Virtualization Technology--code-named Vanderpool and now emerging in server processors--accelerates some operations and makes it possible to run Windows on Xen without modifications to Windows that otherwise would be necessary.

    I'm interested how the Intel Virtualization Technology will run on the up and coming SEX server.
  • Speculation (Score:3, Funny)

    by Simon (S2) ( 600188 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @10:02AM (#14634313) Homepage
    This is all speculation. In TFA they state: "VMware may gain two advantages from the move..." blablabla "VMware didn't immediately respond to requests for comment."
    So the title "VMware to Make Server Product Free (as in beer)" is misleading at best.
  • This sounds to me like VMWare is under a lot of pressure. I'd hate to see them go away, because we use VMWare Workstation for some pretty important stuff, and the license cost isn't that bad in the grand scheme of things anyways.
  • . . . of much commercial value for long, given that the model of computing is headed for a TCPA/Palladium/Remote attestation/Client assurance/DRM lockdown. Emulating "trusted" computing would defeat the whole purpose of the "content" and computing industries' march towards that model. That, and they'll buy laws making even attempting such emulation punishable by just short of death.
  • I'm waiting for that.
    • Now that Macs are on Intel, it seems fully possible to install one as a virtual machine... if Mac OS is installable on "generic" x86 hardware. The virtualization layer fully emulates the x86 architecture, so it seems pretty doable.

      The issues would be 1) Will Mac OS be supported on non-"trusted" hardware? and 2) Is there money in it? It seems only fair that someone else should offer a VirtualPC software to compete with Microsoft's Mac OS VPC product.

      I am going to try and start an internal campaign to stir th
  • I live and die by GSX, does this mean they will stop development of new versions, Leaving just Workstaion ( wont do the job for me ) and ESX ( too expensive to justify )?
  • by gmf ( 810466 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @10:27AM (#14634447)
    What is it with this "Related Stories" thing? Is that new, or why did I never notice it before?

    And most importantly: Will it also list the dupes? :)
  • Not GSX (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The free product will be called VMware Server, not GSX. I am not sure if they will continue with GSX as a separate product, but I was under the impression that they will. I had initially heard about this here [].
  • by soboroff ( 91667 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @10:32AM (#14634492)
    "The company recently released a free VMWare Player which could only run but not create virtual machines."

    Sure you can. Take a gander at []

    What you don't get with VMware player is the nifty GUI to help you with the setup.
  • We're moving some of our development and most of our testing into VMs for the flexibility. We gave Microsoft Virtual PC a spin, but compared to VMWare it's pretty lacking in features, so we ended up going with VMWare Workstation. The advanced networking features, broad platform support, and snapshotting capability are huge wins for us. We had been planning to use Microsoft's Virtual PC Server product for collaborative development efforts because we get licenses with our MSDN subscriptions, whereas GSX was r
  • So would the Workstation also be free? My mental picture of the VMWare products was:
    • Workstation - can only administer it locally, limit on size of box, no VMotion, etc.
    • GSX - can administer it remotely, limit on size of box, no VMotion, etc.
    • ESX - everything
  • VMware's market is evaporating. Their value was virtualization of a difficult-to-virtualize architecture, the Pentium. Now that Pentium is getting hardware virtualization, virtualization is simple and it will just become a standard part of Linux, Windows, and OS X.
  • VMware is not really competing with those other technologies. Its only looking at its impending doom at the hands of hypervisor technologies. Think about it, will you really need vmware when you have hypervisor... no vmware tools install, no slow machines, no lack of peripherals, full speed (almost)? For that reason alone I think I'll buy the first athlon64 with pacifica later this year. Hope they release a 754-pin version too.

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?