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.
You should get a hold of Xen 3. On my beta SLED 10 beta 8, it can outperform all versions of VMWare on the benchmarks. Who knows what it’ll do at the final release. I’m personally tired of running the VMWare Server Beta seeing as the pre-april 3rd release had a slowly sapping memory hole in it.
Well, as we’ve been continuing up the VM path (though moving to another product at some point is always a possibility), I just cannot imagine moving backwards away from it. The VM servers that we are utilizing aren’t even being strained with multiple servers running.
Thinking back to where we were with servers and package developement just a few years ago boggles the mind.
So, Xen 3 looks fun and all, but where these two commercial products shine is support. Unfortunately, Xen doesn’t look like it has that much support, or at least nobody to talk to. There are definitely days I’m in the mood to bring up something totally foreign to me, but lately, I just want things to “work.” With virtual server, you now get linux support out of the box with a call to MS.
Support distro’s from MS’s Site.
Oh yeah, forgot to mention that VMWare Server Beta doesn’t get you support either, at least no one you can call, that’s where you have to pay.
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