Feeds

VMware slashes ESXi price to zero

Eye on Redmond

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Docker kicks KVM's butt in IBM tests
Big Blue finds containers are speedy, but may not have much room to improve
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Gartner's Special Report: Should you believe the hype?
Enough hot air to carry a balloon to the Moon
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Dell The Man shrieks: 'We've got a Bitcoin order, we've got a Bitcoin order'
$50k of PowerEdge servers? That'll be 85 coins in digi-dosh
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.