VMware Releases Free Server Software

VMware on Wednesday released the final version of its VMware Server virtualization product, the successor to GSX Server. Just like the beta release that debuted in February, VMware is making the software available free of charge, much like Microsoft has done with Virtual Server 2005 R2.

The company hopes that by giving away its entry-level product, it will drive users to upgrade to its for-pay ESX Server, as well as position the company as the leader in virtualization technology. While VMware Server will require a "host" operating system in order to use its features, ESX requires no host.

VMware Server enables customers to provision a single physical server into multiple virtual machines. With computing power continuing to far surpass operating system requirements, virtualization is becoming a key way for businesses to get more bang for the buck.

"VMware Server offers unparalleled operating system support, ease of use, manageability with VMware VirtualCenter and support from the industry's most experienced support organization for virtualization," said Brian Byun, vice president of products and alliances at VMware.

VMware Server runs on any x86 based computer, and supports 64-bit guest operating systems including Linux, Windows, NetWare and Solaris. 2-way SMP is supported experimentally, enabling a virtual machine to utilize two physical CPUs.

Other features include capturing the state of a virtual machine and instantly rolling it back, along with support for Microsoft's virtual machine format and Symantec LiveState Recovery images.

The new software can be downloaded from VMware's Web site at no cost. Support for VMware server runs $350 USD for a one-year subscription per two processors for Gold level, and $450 USD for Platinum level. Businesses can also purchase VMware VirtualCenter for $600 USD per two processors.

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