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Microsoft Providing Virtual Server Free 401

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the right-price dept.
liliafan writes "In an effort to gain a market majority over VMware Microsoft announced it is giving Virtual Server away for free, additionally they will provide customer support for Linux. In a related move VMware have opened their partition file format to the community, aggressive and suprising moves in the virtualisation market."
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Microsoft Providing Virtual Server Free

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 03, 2006 @06:14PM (#15053819)
    And, unless I'm mistaken, this should be illegal.

    You're mistaken. That's not how anti-trust law (in the US works). The question is whether consumers are harmed, not competitors. You can make a case that killing VMWare would be bad for consumers in the long run, but that'd be difficult to show today.

  • Bah... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 03, 2006 @06:14PM (#15053828)
    Must better coverage over at this blog [hishamrana.com]. Check out VMWare President Diane Greene's blog.

    And here is direct link to the Microsoft download [microsoft.com] page that requires registration.

    Direct link to the 32bit version: here [microsoft.com]. (no reg required)

    Direct link to the 64bit version: here [microsoft.com]. (no reg required)

    Happy downloading.
  • by JDevers (83155) on Monday April 03, 2006 @06:21PM (#15053854)
    You are comparing OS level emulators to virtual machines. The competition in this space is VMWare. Using this sort of software, you actually NEED Windows. You boot up a VM and then proceed to install an OS just like a real machine. This is massively unlike Wine and is somewhat different from VPC too.

    Also, remember, VM products aren't designed to run the latest and greatest games or something. They are designed to fill two niches, extremely secure testbeds for software where you want crashes to be easy to recover and server virtualization where one machine imitates several.
  • by Malor (3658) on Monday April 03, 2006 @06:36PM (#15053926) Journal
    Note that VMWare is also giving away their Server product for free. For some reason, Slashdot hasn't been willing to run this story, even though it's important.

    It's a new product, still in beta... about equivalent to the GSX Server. They just released Beta 2 either today or yesterday. It's a _really_ good product. The current keys they're giving away expire, but they say the final version will also be free-as-in-beer.

    Basically, it'll do everything Workstation will, plus it allows you to see the consoles of virtual machines that are on another computer. It also gives you a fairly rudimentary web-based control panel, wherein you can start, stop, or restart particular VMs. You can also set up user accounts, and restrict access to particular machines appropriately. It's not ISP-class, but it'd be damn useful for QA teams or suchlike.
  • by ergo98 (9391) on Monday April 03, 2006 @06:46PM (#15053999) Homepage Journal
    As an aside, interestingly enough, I was surprised to find Microsoft's virtual server technology STILL does not offer hypervisor services... to give some perspective as to how far behind that puts them in "getting it", I worked on virtualized VM boxes on IBM 360 mainframes in school back in the mid-70s! These systems were implemented with hypervisor. Wow!

    It wouldn't be virtualization if it didn't have hypervisor services. Maybe you're talking about hardware virtualization, which was just added by Intel, so it was somewhat difficult for Microsoft to support this before.
  • by LurkerXXX (667952) on Monday April 03, 2006 @06:48PM (#15054010)
    Not just VMWare player. VMWare server is free as well (though still in beta at the moment, it is supposed to be free when finished)
  • by PCM2 (4486) on Monday April 03, 2006 @07:06PM (#15054120) Homepage
    Microsoft sees VMWare as their enemy because they are banking cash today. (Thou shalt have no other vendors other than Microsoft) However Xen is probably the bigger threat.
    Absolutely Xen is the bigger threat, but more importantly, the new Intel VT and AMD Pacifica chips are the writing on the wall for both VMware and Microsoft. The technology in these new chips makes it possible for XenSource to come out with a version of Xen that will run Windows, not just modified Xen OSes. It won't be hard for other folks to do the same. This obviates all the hard R&D work that Connectix and VMware put into doing the same thing without hardware support. In the very near future, the ability to provide virtualized systems and run virtual machines will be a non-issue. The only race left is to deliver the best support and management tools.
  • by Blackforge (8018) on Monday April 03, 2006 @07:09PM (#15054135)
    You forgot one important bit (to me anyways): VMWare supports 64-bit virtual machines on a 64-bit host. Currently Virtual Server doesn't.

  • by Cl1mh4224rd (265427) on Monday April 03, 2006 @07:19PM (#15054193)
    Unless I'm missing something here, this action on Microsoft's part is reminiscent of their "response" to Netscape when Microsoft finally recognized they had fallen way behind in an important market.

    And, unless I'm missing something again, I think Microsoft still qualifies as a legally defined "monopoly", and this looks like leveraging their monopoly to unfairly skew market forces and competition.

    And, unless I'm mistaken, this should be illegal.
    Looks like someone slept through Microsoft Hating 101...

    IE wasn't a big deal because Microsoft gave it away for free. It was a big deal because they bundled it with Windows.
  • by WoTG (610710) on Monday April 03, 2006 @07:29PM (#15054242) Homepage Journal
    True, you currently can't run Windows in Xen; however, both AMD and Intel will be offering updated processors with enhanced virtualization instructions that will allow Xen (and other VMs) to run Windows in a VM much more easily. So, IMHO, both VMWare and Virtual Server are trying to be proactive here and entrench themselves before the $0 VM from Xen becomes a real option.
  • by nolife (233813) on Monday April 03, 2006 @07:34PM (#15054270) Homepage Journal
    Others have pointed out in other threads but I will summerize.

    VMWare makes quite a few virtualization products and they have been on the market for quite some time. They are pretty much the standard for virtualization. Years later, MS decides to enter the market. VMWare, wanting to survive has to do something. In the past 6 months, they have released two "free" products, VMPlayer which allows any Windows/Linux machine to run certain VMWare virtual machines and more recently, VMWare server which is very similar to the existing VMWare GSX line of products. They now have a wider range of products to compete at many different levels. The top is ESX with Virtual Center, this product allows different forms of clustering, state saving, seemless and automatic moving of VMs between different physical servers for failover and load balancing and much more. The bottom is the free VM Server products with VM Desktop and GSX in the middle.

    MS, knowing that VM is opening up to a broader market and trying to gain a larger foothold, is also going to try saturation bombing with some form of free version to gain its own share of the market as well.

    So far MS entering the market has been good for IT folks overall as VMWare is adding features and cheap or free products into the mix. Do or die I guess as I'm sure MS can sustain a lot more negatives then VMWare can in the long fight.
     
  • This is just bogus. (Score:3, Informative)

    by xiphoris (839465) on Monday April 03, 2006 @07:36PM (#15054277) Homepage
    And, unless I'm missing something again, I think Microsoft still qualifies as a legally defined "monopoly", and this looks like leveraging their monopoly to unfairly skew market forces and competition.

    I know, I know, we've all heard it before, Microsoft is a convicted monopolist... but for what? Bundling a free (as in beer) web browser with their OS qualifies as taking advantage of their monopoly?

    People get upset every time Microsoft gives something away for free, always claiming it pushes other companies out of the market. Newsflash: Netscape gave away its browser; so did Microsoft. Where is the "market"?

    Mindshare != market.

    Or are you effectively saying a company can NEVER compete with an OSS project, because the OSS project will always be free while it's "unfair" for the company to give something away from free? I am unclear what standard you wish to impose. Answer me this: if a company (Microsoft) wants to make a product, which has free open-source or otherwise equivalents in the market, is it anticompetitive practice to also release a free one?
  • by popeguilty (961923) <popeguilty AT gmail DOT com> on Monday April 03, 2006 @07:47PM (#15054330)
    Actually, simply including MSIE with Windows wasn't their crime- it was their insistence that vendors include ONLY MSIE, along with other demands, else lose the right to sell MSFT products, that was MSFT's crime.
  • by TrancePhreak (576593) on Monday April 03, 2006 @07:51PM (#15054355)
    According to the info on Microsoft.com these OS's are supported for installation:
    Windows Server 2003
    Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1
    Windows XP Professional Edition
    Windows XP Service Pack 2
  • by ChrisA90278 (905188) on Monday April 03, 2006 @08:21PM (#15054520)
    VMWare started offing thier "VMWare Server" for free a few weeks ago. Microsoft is simply price matching the VMWare product.

    I'e been using QEMU which is GLP'd and does a few things neither of the above products do. However I have to admit that VMWare is slick. Good interface and easy to install.

  • I had the opportunity to conduct a month long virtualization pilot which, among other things, evaluated Virtual Server vs VMWare, and, Virtual Server surprisingly came out on top.

    a) Virtual Server is 64 on a 64 bit OS, if you want it, but VMWare was only available in 32 bit.

    b) Virtual Server, running the application as VMWare, actually ran those apps 10% faster than did VMWare. Our application pegs the CPU for several hours, and so we felt that this was as good as test as any.

    c) Virtual Server was easier to set up and use.

    d) For the price difference, you could get another few datablades.

    Your mileage may very, but the bottom line is, until you download Virtual Server and compare it to VMWare, don't believe the hype about performance, because, it may well be hype.
  • Good thing (Score:3, Informative)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Monday April 03, 2006 @08:27PM (#15054551) Homepage
    Ignoring the obvious VMWare comparison, this is really good for the Microsoft shops. Many shops use Virtual Server, but there are very few tools for working with the partition file format. On several occassions, I've wanted to copy a file to a virtual server without booting it up. In some cases, it was a server that couldn't boot up. It's really quite funny to insert a virtual Linux CD into a Microsoft Virtual Server so that you can access the hard drive. Plus, there's no good tools for building and creating virtual server images, which makes it nearly useless for enterprise testing or debugging.
  • by nachoboy (107025) on Monday April 03, 2006 @09:27PM (#15054819)
    So, on 2 CPUs, you are running four copies of MS Server and two installationf of MS SQL sevrer. How many licenses must you buy? Four for Win2k3, 2 for MS SQL.

    They're giving away [microsoft.com] the OS licenses too...

    "Better virtualization value. Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition provides better value in server virtualization. Licensing policy changes now allow customers to run up to 4 virtual instances of Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition on one licensed physical server or hardware partition."
  • by civilizedINTENSITY (45686) on Monday April 03, 2006 @11:18PM (#15055301)
    But the GPL isn't an End User License Agreement, it is rather a copyright license. The GPL doesn't tell you how to use, or not use, the software. You don't even have to agree to the GPL to use the software.
  • by Mistah Blue (519779) on Tuesday April 04, 2006 @11:56AM (#15058587)
    VMware has already been bought. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of EMC.

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