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Users Talk Virtual Tension

Spiraling costs, backup issues, and lack of third-party support are among the challenges facing VMware users as they look to reap the benefits of virtualization.

Increasingly, VMware is touting virtualization technology as a way for users to streamline their data centers by sharing compute and storage resources across their standing hardware. (See VMware Unveils New Suite and VMware Certifies Compellent.)

But some users want the vendor to take a long, hard look at its strategy. "They need to really re-evaluate their price point - they have begun to price themselves out of the market," says Chris Valentino, a member of the Washington DC Area VMware User Group.

Pricing for the vendor's basic VMware Infrastructure package, which includes the ESX Server hypervisor, starts at $1,000 on a two-way server. A full-featured version of the package, including volume management, resource scheduling, and VMware's Consolidated Backup software starts at $5,750 on a two-way device.

But Valentino tells Byte and Switch that he typically pays much more than that to run VMware on his Intel quad-core processors. "It can range anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 depending on the options you put in it," he says, adding that backup features often come at a premium.

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