Well, Microsoft has finally bowed to VMWare’s free Server product. You can finally download Virtual Server R2 Enterprise Edition for free. It’s great that VMWare has forced this upon Microsoft. However, there are still a few key differences. The free version of VMWare Server is actually a “beta” version, while Microsoft’s Virtual Server is the final build, and safe for production use (unless it’s running on XP).
This is great news for enterprise environments none-the-less, especially with the new licensing scheme for Windows 2003 products. Basically, if you have enterprise resources, you’re incredibly stupid not to be running some sort of virtualization, be it in production or not. You save too much money on the hardware (one machine now can host X number of virtual machines) and software end (one Windows 2003 license can be used on the host and up to four virtual machines, and the virtualizing software is free).
I personally can’t wait until hardware based virtualization technology becomes more main-stream, that’s when the huge performance increases will come.