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VMware Ships Free Virtualization Server

VMware announced this week that it is now shipping the free version of its virtualization server platform.

VMware Server is the successor to the company's GSX Server and is designed to let users quickly provision new server capacity by partitioning a physical server into multiple virtual machines, the Palo Alto, Calif. company said in a statement.

Although it might seem a little coincidental that EMC-owned VMware would make the announcement the same week that its chief rival, Microsoft, announced modifications to its own Virtual Server licensing at its partner show, Velocity 2006, in Boston, VMware Server has been in the works for a while.

The product, which has been in beta testing since February, is meant to provide users with a free, entry-level hosted virtualization environment for Windows and Linux servers.

Microsoft officials said this week the company will loosen licensing constraints on Windows Vista, Virtual PC and Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition in order to promote the use of its virtualization technologies among customers.

As much as it is a countermove to Microsoft, VMware's strategy is meant to provide a smooth migration path for customers, which starts with the free server virtualization product and moves up to the company's recently released Infrastructure 3 suite, the company's statement said.

VMware Server is available here. While the server is free, enterprise-class support costs $350 for a one-year subscription per two processors for Gold level and $450 for Platinum level.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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