VMware slashes ESXi price to zero
Eye on Redmond
With rivals clambering at the gate, VMware has opted to offer its bare-bones ESXi hypervisor for free.
The price change is the first major tactical play under VMware's new CEO, Paul Martiz. It's also a pretty logical one considering where the company is at.
Turning ESXi into a freebie was alluded to in VMware's quarterly earnings report last week, but today marks the official launch. Previously ESXi set back customers about $500 (though it was available for free when embedded on various name-brand servers).
It has much to do with Microsoft's recent release of Server 2008 and accompanying Hyper-V hypervisor. VMware has complained Redmond's entry into the x86 virtualization market is making customers pause to weigh their options more thoroughly and less likely to commit to lengthy (and lucrative) contracts.
Martiz — a former Microsoft exec himself — is all too aware of the imminent danger. Microsoft often moves like a glacier, but it's equally difficult to beat back once it covers ground.
"I know Microsoft is a formidable, but not invincible competitor," said Maritz during its earnings report. "It can play a long waiting game. But if a competitor has a lead and invests to stay ahead, they can be very hard to catch — even for Microsoft."
Hyper-V currently comes gratis with Windows Server 2008 (which starts at $999) and will later be offered as the standalone Hyper-V Server for $28. Over in open source land, Citrix has Xen available for free.
By turning its hypervisor into a commodity, VMware hopes to better appeal to the products maturity when compared to its rivals, particularly Hyper-V, which is still in its early days. The trick will be to stay flashy. Dangling an up-front cost of nada always helps.
Of course, before a customer can actually get virtualized, there's management software and services to buy. And that's where VMware will be making its real money.
But still, free is better than $500. Not much to complain about on that front. It's available for download here. ®
"Is perfectly fine if you're doing development and testing with short lived environments. Only a monkey would use it on a critical/production system."
Then we serve hordes of monkeys (would be our customers). The 3i/ESXi is only a cut down version from the long-time production safe ESX 2.x/3.x of which the latest version 3.5 is now in the racks.
Our companies entire infrastructure runs off two clustered ESX servers. Yes, we have Virtual Center to it and the full blown ESX version, but I trust the 3i/ESXi version as much as I trust the full ESX 3.5 version.
"But then I'm still not sold on virtualisation of critical production systems anyway."
I am. I have been using a paid for virtual server for a production system for a few years now and more recently have a few more. They have been rock solid and the technology brings root servers to the price point where many new networked applications become possible that previously wouldn't have been affordable. The production systems use user-mode Linux and I recently started using VirtualBox for development and experimental purposes.
@ Chris (@ amanfromMars)
It appears to me that the user is adopting the speaking style of a science fiction charachter found in the book called 'A Stranger Among Us'. Its about a man from Mars coming to planet earth after having been raised by Martians, or something like that, its been a while since i read it.