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VMware dangles Server 2 beta

$28 cheaper than Microsoft

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Virtualization types will now find a fresh beta of VMware's Server 2 software out in the wild.

VMware Server has been VMware's response to rivals who opted to give away their base server virtualization software. VMware used to sell GSX Server - a lower-end package than its flagship ESX Server - until replacing it with Server last year. VMware uses Server to protect its low-end turf and to lure customers toward paying for ESX Server. More than 3m VMware Server downloads have gone out to date with the vast majority of those reaching SMBs, according to VMware.

VMware Server 2 boasts a number of new features.

It has a revamped web-based management interface. In addition, the virtualization package now supports up to 30 guest operating systems, including Vista, Windows Server 2008 (beta), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and Ubuntu 7.10. So all the latest and greatest OSes are there, including support for 64-bit guest systems.

The new release can also handle paravirtualized OSes through the virtual machine interface (VMI), supports USB 2.0 devices and accommodates up to 8 GB of memory per virtual machine and up to 2 Virtual SMP (symmetric multi-processor) processors.

You can grab the beta here. VMware expects a production version of the software to ship sometime next year. How's that for vague?

Just yesterday, Microsoft slapped a $28 price tag on the upcoming, standalone version of its Hyper-V virtualization software. ®

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