As expected, VMware Inc. announced on February 6th that it was releasing a no-cost version of its VMware Server line.
While not open-source, this entry-level virtualization server enables users to partition x86 and x86-64 Linux and Windows servers into multiple virtual machines (VMs). Server administrators can either roll their own servers or use such pre-built servers as IBM WSE (Workplace Services Express), MySQL, or Oracle 10G.
The company also claims that VMware Server can be used to host legacy OSes such as Windows NT Server 4.0 and Windows 2000 Server.
The server VMware is offering is actually a beta release of VMWare Server. This, in turn, is the successor program to the companys entry-level VM server, VMware GSX.
GSX has been listing for $1,694 for a dual-CPU license, and $3,388 for an unlimited processor license with a twelve-month support and subscription license. VMware Server, in contrast, costs nothing, but comes with no support, and can be used on systems with up to eight processors.
The final version of VMware Server is scheduled to appear in the first half of 2006. At that time, the firm will also offer paid support and subscription options.
VMware is positioning the new free release as a stepping stone to its VMware Virtual Infrastructure line of servers. These include ESX Server for data centers and VirtualCenter for centralized server management.