Palo Alto (CA) – VMware is releasing a beta version of its VMware Server for free. The company’s successor to its existing commercial VMware GSX Server, the new VMware Server for Linux and Windows will enable multiple operating systems to run concurrently, while enabling network administrators to test new operating systems and configurations with significantly reduced fear.
Operating system virtualization lets users run additional operating systems within self-contained “guest” environments within their native OS. Several Guest systems can be run at the same time, on processors with enough resources and horsepower. Since each Guest OS has its own memory and hard drive space, any changes a user makes do not affect the main operating system, so the user can try out configurations that would normally destroy a network or regular operating system. Many “pilot sites” use virtualization, for example, to test network recovery procedures triggered by pre-programmed “catastrophic” events – catastrophes that only exist virtually.
Prospective users may register on the VMware Web site for a free serial number, and then download the 140 Mb installer (Windows version). After installing, users can save hours of time by downloading several pre-built virtual operating system insallations ranging in size from 200 Mb to 2 Gb, such as Novell, Redhat Linux, or Ubuntu Linux, and integrated database managers such as MySQL and Oracle.
VMware has faced increasing competition from Microsoft’s Virtual PC software. Virtual PC 2004 – formerly a Connectix product acquired by Microsoft in 2003 – also allows users to virtualize operating systems. There are rumors that Microsoft may be planning to offer Virtual PC for free, and that VMware’s move today is a pre-emptive strike..
VMware officials told TG Daily this afternoon that the full version will be available later in first half of the year, and the product will remain free of charge.