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VMware's Virtual Appetizer

VMware today took a leaf from the open-source book in an attempt to boost user takeup of virtualization by offering new free server software. (See VMware Adds Free VMware Server.)

VMware Server, a virtualization engine that installs on either Microsoft Windows or Linux servers, will replace the vendors existing GSX Server product. Whereas VMware Server can be downloaded for free from the VMware Website, GSX Server cost as much as $2,800, depending on whether users run the software on two or more CPUs.

Just to be clear, though, there will still be some costs associated with VMware Server. Users running the software in a production environment will have to pay VMware for support, although the vendor will not reveal exactly how much this is until the product is generally available later this year.

Despite such coyness on pricing, Neal Tisdale, vice president of software development at energy consulting firm New Energy Associates, anticipates shaving up to $12,000 off annual software licensing costs by using VMware Server for testing.

Tisdale, whose team of software developers uses GSX Server, says there is already plenty of interest in shifting to the new product. “My developers have already sent me emails about this,” he says. “They like this because they can use it to build several virtual machines to simulate a customer’s environment."

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