If you'd dropped my company a line we'd have offered a supported trial with an allocated engineer (okay, time spent would depend partly on potential size of a deployment...) but you'd certainly have spent nothing finding out what the product could and could not do in a supported way. We'd probably both have learnt something, I love real-life tests
At last it looks like there will be a free, supported, commercial-grade virtualization solution for those of us who dont have the budget for VMware and have been disappointed with Hyper-V and its predecessors.
I can only imagine this is unhappy news for VMware who surely must now take a reality check on their pricing. I sincerely hope they do not go the same way as Netscape, having 3 strong vendors in the market stops a lot of the kind of bad behavior you see from ERP, CRM, and BI vendors (you know who you are guys!). There was a balanced 2 minute comparison of Hyper-v, XenServer, and VMware over at the 360 blog here.
For the VMware, Xen, and Hyper-V fanboys (are there any Hyper-V fanboys yet?), calm down and take a tip from that blog:
"Providers of the core hypervisor technology will continue to play a game of technical leapfrog with one another for at least a couple of years, while those with a management, enterprise framework, or suite will claim more strategic long-term positions around "liquid infrastructure" or something else suitably bendy. What is most important right now is that you have the right information processing architecture, not any one particular product within it."
Wasn't there something about a PASCAL programmer knowing the value of everything and the Wirth of nothing?