Home > OS News > VMware to Make Server Product Free VMware to Make Server Product Free Eugenia Loli 2006-02-03 OS News 30 Comments VMware, an EMC subsidiary whose software lets multiple operating systems run on the same computer, is expected to announce next week that it will begin giving away one of its key products for free, CNET News.com has learned. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 30 Comments 2006-02-03 8:18 am hraq If this is true, then It supports the idea which says “Software should be for Free in this very competitive world and to make money charge customers for support” Customer support must be more advanced than now. It could be divided into multiple levels: 1. Phone support 2. E-mail support 3. Chat support 4. vnc or rdp support 5. onsite support 6. consulting support 7. productivity increase support 8. install support 9. educational or training support 10 Other support types Software future will be based on support 2006-02-03 12:40 pm theTSF Well the problem is that the margins for support are much slimmer. VMWare has a decent interface and most people can use it without any of the support models. Then you have 3rd party companies that can offer that support without EMC Getting a dime, say a small IT Consulting firm comes in when there people get vmware but don’t know what to do with it. Then there is issues of maintaining a support center for 24 hours and it will be expanded if it is the primary source of revenue. So you will have people working 24 hours, and still possibly the customer will need to wait a long time on hold to fix the problem. Thus getting angry with the lack of good support and dropping the contract the first time they get the opportunity. But compared say $250,000 of development effort and selling 1,000,000 disks at $1,000 each. Which has the better profit. What VMWare is doing is selling their product so people can get use to it and hooked on it so they can sell their better ones. 2006-02-03 7:18 pm elsewhere Well the problem is that the margins for support are much slimmer. VMWare has a decent interface and most people can use it without any of the support models. Then you have 3rd party companies that can offer that support without EMC Getting a dime, say a small IT Consulting firm comes in when there people get vmware but don’t know what to do with it. Then there is issues of maintaining a support center for 24 hours and it will be expanded if it is the primary source of revenue. So you will have people working 24 hours, and still possibly the customer will need to wait a long time on hold to fix the problem. Thus getting angry with the lack of good support and dropping the contract the first time they get the opportunity. No, in the IT industry (actually, most industries) support revenue is liquid gold and profit enhancement. It’s no different that extended-warranties, and it works on the same principle. If 1,000 customers purchase a support contract, it’s not as if each of those customers is going to be calling in every day for assistance (if they are, then the company will soon be out of business anyways). But compared say $250,000 of development effort and selling 1,000,000 disks at $1,000 each. Well now that’s just overly optimistic. An app that only cost $250K to produce is not likely going to fetch $1,000 on the shelf. Enterprise software companies spend millions developing products. And aside from the development costs, you have to allow for overhead involved in actually selling it (channel margins, marketing, promotion etc.) Service revenue is far more profitable because the support infrastructure doesn’t necessarily have to scale as the product sells, and as the product ages and becomes more stable support requirements actually go down, yet the company is gaining more and more revenue. Put another way, you can only sell the product once, but you can renew contracts over and over. If the model is sound, companies can more than recoup development costs in support fees. There’s another advantage from a business point of view as well; software acquisition is a capital cost, support contracts are often treated as an annual expense. When companies freeze purchasing or cut back on capital expenditures, renewal contracts are still processed. As for other companies trying to undercut vmware with their own support, that already happens today with many vendors. It’s a free market, but companies that have mission critical infrastructures or requirements will not cheap out on support, they’ll want it straight from the vendor. What VMWare is doing is selling their product so people can get use to it and hooked on it so they can sell their better ones. Absolutely agree. 2006-02-03 8:36 am Sartoris Right now you can get VMware Player for free. But will this make the player obsolete? What exactly is the difference between GSX Server and VMware Workstation? From VMware site: “GSX Server runs as an application on a host operating system to let administrators deploy, manage, and remotely control multiple servers running in virtual machines. GSX Server provides broad hardware support by inheriting device support from the host operating system.” 2006-02-03 8:41 am DevL According to The Register ( http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/02/03/vmware_goes_free/ ) VMware Server is a new product although I expect it to be primarily based on VMware GSX Server. 2006-02-03 9:50 am simo What’s the difference between GSX and Workstation? Funny they aren’t giving away Workstation, as that’s the one us developers use for testing, and GSX is developed behind WS (still no SMP support like WS 5.5 has). Funny as I read an interview somewhere recently where some marketing woman from VMWare was given the idea of releasing a free version (more than just Player) to compete with Xen by the interviewer! 2006-02-03 11:33 am essdeekay That interview will probably be the one in The Register on Monday:- NB: DG = Diane Greene – VMware’s CEO El Reg: Looking very, very, very far forward to when Microsoft plans to bundle its basic virtualization software with Vista Server, do you think a time will come when you’ll have to give away a basic version of your product as well? DG: I don’t know what we’ll do, but already if you carved out just the hypervisor functionality, there is a tone of stuff that customers want. You could argue that all the value is over and above the hypervisor today. It just depends on how it’s packaged. El Reg: We’re just saying that at some point it seems you’d have to give away a low-end version of ESX Server. DG: What’s wrong with that? El Reg: Nothing. We’re trying to understand if that’s something you plan to do. DG: I don’t know if that’s what we’ll do, but I don’t see anything bad about it. I don’t know how the software may get packaged. One thing for sure is that we’ll keep adding a lot of value. If our software doesn’t add value, then fine. We’ll do other software. I think we are adding unbelievable value right now. 2006-02-03 12:05 pm eKstreme This is ringing bells in my head of a lesson learned from Netscape’s days. The basics of the situation are the same: you have one company (Netscape or VMware) producing the leading (by far) product in a category. MS comes along, blows the bottom of the market and things go into free-fall. Who won? MS. What did Netscape do too late? It released its Communicator suite for free. Also, it didn’t “innovate” and keep up with standards as well as it could have. VMware is in a doubly-serious situation with the presence of the excellent Xen. This open-source and buzzing product will give both MS and VMware a run for their money. This is history repeating itself, but VMware is more savvy and strategic than Netscape was. On a related note: I got Ubuntu to run under windows using their free player. THAT is useful and will get shovels of brownie points chucked at VMware. 2006-02-03 7:40 pm mlb2000 I reckon a more likely outcome will be along the Citrix/Terminal Server lines. Netscape was first to market, but there was nothing functionaly in it that made it a market leader. 2006-02-03 12:06 pm halfmanhalfamazing I assume that doesn’t mean they are open sourcing it though. The article doesn’t say, that’s why I ask. Either way this is a good thing. It’ll make it easier to assimilate unsuspecting windows users to the dark side. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA 😛 2006-02-03 12:34 pm raver31 why would it need to be open sourced ? just because they are giving it away for free, does not mean they are making it free… have a look at Enemy Territory. A totally free game for Windows, Linux and Mac OSX, but it is not open sourced wither. 2006-02-03 12:45 pm Aaron1 I’m still not clear on what the difference is between this and workstation. Does it allow you to run multiple guests at once? 2006-02-03 12:51 pm Adam Scheinberg Absolutely. We use GSX at my place of business, and we have a single host running 5 guest OSes. 2006-02-03 1:44 pm Aaron1 How hard is it to back up the virutal machines? Do you have to end them first? Is it possible to script something to pause the VMs, copy the files, then resume the VMs? Edited 2006-02-03 13:44 2006-02-03 8:18 pm rolinux GSX server has the following advantages: – start and stop of virtual machines automaticaly when the host is started or stopped – access to configuration and console remotely using webinterface or VMware console – up to 64GB or RAM supported – scripting API 2006-02-03 1:06 pm SEJeff This is a pre-emptive strike against an act of desperation. First, the opened their APIs, second, vmware player, third, they release a free version of VMWare Server (their flagship product). This comes to show that OSS virtualization software like OpenVZ and Xen are putting the heat on them. VMWare is not an evil company and even do nice things like release their widget library full of very nice gtk widgets as OSS http://view.sf.net Competition is good, maybe this will encourage IBM/Sun/Xen to work harder. 2006-02-03 2:27 pm jmal Both WS and GSX can run multiple instances concurrently. However, GSX is definately the enterprise product because they offer a console for your local machine to access GSX while it runs elsewhere (on enterprise hardware with multi-processors, SAN access and UPS). As for other questions… Yes, you can move vmware images between player, WS, GSX and ESX at ease. There are some differences in the images of which all the products are aware and know how to handle them. Yes, they’re scriptable. Part of the mentioned open API for vmware includes a framework for starting, stopping, pausing, and rebooting your VMs. With that, you can back them up on your own, allow for maintenance, etc. And finally, to address the allusion to Netscape, I don’t know that this is the same situation at all. Yes, MS has Virtual PC and yes they’re building virtualization into Longhorn, but the virtualization market is opening up on a number of fronts. Intel already builds enabling features in their chips and AMD’s not far behind. But the real leaders are the OSS products (ie OpenVZ, Xen, qemu) that have all been built through community support to address community needs. MS is a factor, but it’s hardly the dominating one pushing VMWare in this direction. 2006-02-03 2:48 pm TommyD Does GSX include any means of creating OS images? Or do I still need workstation to create the images? 2006-02-03 4:02 pm jmal You can create images in GSX. These images are portable to workstation and player. 2006-02-03 3:18 pm JustThinkIt Without having tested either VMWare server virtualization product it seems that the real thing going on here is that VMWare is giving away a lesser product because enterprises mainly want ESX (in order to save host OS RAM usage and related performance reasons). Anyone know if this is the case? 2006-02-03 4:17 pm jmal I have no experience with ESX server. This question sparks several questions of my own. First, if ESX provides a minimized OS environment so that maximal resources can be given to VMs, then kudos, but I don’t think this is the case. If it were, they’d have to provide a lot of hardware drivers that I’m sure they’d rather not be interested in (tape drivers, SAN HBAs, etc). So, I don’t think ESX does anything to minimize host OS resource usage. ESX is definitely the data center class product with its VMotion and Virtual SMP technologies, but there’s still a niche and there’s still demand for GSX. 2006-02-03 4:33 pm HeLfReZ Yes ESX is a minimalized OS, I wanna say its RHEL2.1 or 3, it escapes me at the moment. Max resources are dedicated to the machines as previously eluded. ESX is definately what coorperations are looking for in a datacenter environment because of the lower overhead and finer grained control. Where GSX will shine is in smaller consilidation projects where a company could say consolidate say a 30 server environment into a 10 big metal environment. GSX has a higher cpu and memory overhead than ESX, so your gonna get fewer machines at a higher resource cost than ESX. ESX installs vai the old anaconda, plug in your serials, tell it what drives you want to be dedicate to VM, and thats pretty much it…no drivers or compiling, or configuring the OS. I think as a previous poster eluded to, releasing GSX will be a move to get more peopel into virtualization, that would have never really considered it a affordable solution. Making it more mainstream for even small offices and businesses. They need to entrench themselve deeper into the market before Xen and Vista server show up for the party. I would guesstimate cpu overhead for ESX to be about 10-15%, GSX maybe 20-25%, whereas soemthing like Xen is clocked at about 3-5%…Xen is not a threat to their existing customer so much as it is a threat to their growth…They are no longer the only player on the field so they need to step up their game to maintain…I personally use both GSX and Xen, and I have experience with ESX…and I would say that Xen is lightning when compared to GSX and its noticably faster than ESX…however that all comes at a cost of needing to do alot of tweaking a modifications to get everything to run properly, and you wont be stickign a cd in the drive and booting into the installation either like with VMWare, until the new chips with VT/Pacifica are more mainstrean, vmware will continue to dominate the market, and this is a very smart move on their part as a followup to VMWare player. AFTER Xen chips are available mainstream…the game is goign to get real ugly for them.. 2006-02-03 7:57 pm akro Actually from what I know ESX is from the bottom up a new totally different OS with a LINUX kernel running for management only… 2006-02-03 6:40 pm Larz To me it seems that GSX and Workstation each occupies their own niche (enterprise class virtualization vs. test/development setups), whereas ESX is caught somewhere in the middle. ESX is meant for “departmental virtualization”, which probably translates too server consolidation in smaller environments. I wonder how much virtualization has actually caught on in these environments, as ESX is still a fairly complex and pricey product for a SMB. Add Xen and Microsoft to the mix, and they probably had to do someting. It will be interesting to follow the virtualization battle…. 2006-02-03 7:45 pm mlb2000 No. ESX is the big boy at the VMware product line up party, not GSX. ESX provides mainframe class partioning on commodity Intel kit. 2006-02-04 12:49 am Larz Yup – I mixed up on product names. 2006-02-03 4:25 pm powerdroid VMWare is a great product. I hope they choose to create a port for Intel based Macs. It would be a fantastic means for running Linux and Windows concurrently with OSX on one machine. 2006-02-03 4:27 pm polaris20 I have no experience with ESX server. This question sparks several questions of my own. First, if ESX provides a minimized OS environment so that maximal resources can be given to VMs, then kudos, but I don’t think this is the case. If it were, they’d have to provide a lot of hardware drivers that I’m sure they’d rather not be interested in (tape drivers, SAN HBAs, etc). So, I don’t think ESX does anything to minimize host OS resource usage. Actually, it is its own OS, basically. It does not require a host operating system to run, therefore eliminating CPU/RAM drain and freeing up more for the VM’s. What’s more, you can load balance VM’s across a SAN, as well as provide redundancy. If any given piece of hardware dies, the software moves the VM over to other hardware. Very cool. 2006-02-03 6:52 pm HeLfReZ I assmue the wording is from the website, but i think its a bit misunderstood. ESX is meant for large datacenter scale stuff, we’re talkin consolidating the whole company. Whereas GSX is target more development/test/smb solutions. ESX is severe overkill if all you need to do is consolidate 5 server into one. ESX is the enterprise class solution, hence the enterprise classed pricing lol…but yes battle is really going to be heated and fun to watch this year in general. 2006-02-04 4:57 am Obram I wonder which VMware product will be ported to MacOS first: VMware Player or VMware Workstation? And when?