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VMware ESXi Available For Free Starting Today

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the free-always-sounds-better dept.

Operating Systems 241

Mierdaan writes "VMware's bare-metal hypervisor is available for free starting today. ESXi, which can either be installed or run from an embedded device available in certain servers, has a 32MB footprint and gives small businesses an easy way to get into the virtualization world, with easy upgrade paths to enterprise-level features such as (H)igh (A)vailability and (D)istributed (R)esource (S)cheduler. ESXi runs on most any hardware with a server-class disk controller, and previously retailed for $495. VMware is obviously shooting to prevent Microsoft's Hyper-V technology from gaining a foothold in the marketplace."

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more info. (5, Informative)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#24372933)

This zdnet blogger [zdnet.com] already gave it a spin on some commodity-like hardware (which it seems to me there might be a few here who will be so inclined) and has a nice write-up of the results as well as some good tips on how to avoid some trouble spots for those not fortunate enough to be putting this on enterprise level hardware.
 
Downloading the ISO does require creating an account with a ton of required fields - so there are a few minutes of typing involved. There is also the usual eula to agree too, which I need to go over before I do anything with the disc image I've downloaded.

Re:more info. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24372959)

Virtuall first post

Re:more info. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24373481)

I have no modpoints, otherwise this would be funny... slightly... virtually... But how the heck is it OT?

Re:more info. (4, Funny)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373265)

Pfft, don't lie to us, you're not going to read the EULA.

Re:more info. (4, Funny)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373415)

Well, he could have insomnia.

Re:more info. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24374179)

"3.9 Audit Rights. You will maintain accurate records as to your use of the Software as authorized by this Agreement, for at least two (2) years from the last day on which support and subscription services ("Services") expired for the applicable Software. VMware, or persons designated by VMware, will, at any time during the period when you are obliged to maintain such records, be entitled to inspect such records and your computing devices, in order to verify that the Software is used by you in accordance with the terms of this Agreement..."

No wonder no one wants to read the EULA.

They don't want the VMware SWAT team busting in on them to see if they're using free software in accordance with the license.

Re:more info. (3, Insightful)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374299)

I saw this too. The way I understand it (and I'm no lawyer, but...), I am not buying support or subscription, so I'm not obligated to keep records. This seems like a piece of boilerplate that doesn't really apply to a free eval version. Is there a different way to read that that I'm missing?

Re:more info. (3, Insightful)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374851)

That's completely ridiculous, the EULA demands are getting unreasonable

Re:more info. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24373329)

You forgot to mention the key point of the hardware compatibility list: ESXi server requires, at minimum, a storage controller which is not present in anything but enterprise level machines and costs about $250 street price to upgrade a compatible server (one with PCI-X slots.)

Cliffs: Don't plan on running this on anything you have lying around the house or office, unless you happen to have a spare Dell Poweredge 1950 (the cheapest compatible hardware, retail approx $2500 for 'barebones' config.)

Re:more info. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24373593)

ESXi server requires, at minimum, a storage controller which is not present in anything but enterprise level machines and costs about $250 street price to upgrade a compatible server (one with PCI-X slots.)

Really? It does? I never knew my little old P4 NAT machine under the desk with an Adaptec SCSI controller (aic7xxx) in it was such a power-house.

I guess the Broadcom 97xx (tg3) in the old Dell I've got here too is an enterprise class network interface controller. I'm all enterprise-y and I never knew it!

Or perhaps you just haven't read the hardware compatibility lists? Yeah, I guess that's more likely.

Re:more info. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24374695)

Maybe if YOU had read the compatibility list you would know they don't test specific controllers, they test hardware platforms from server vendors. Proceed to blow your arrogance out your ass.

Re:more info. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24374869)

If YOU knew the first thing about VMWare ESX YOU'D know that they use almost unmodified Linux drivers, and any device supported by the driver will work under ESX and ESXi just as well as it will work under Linux.

Not to mention if YOU were actually reading the thread YOU'D know that the GGP is complaining that he has to buy a $250 "Enterprise class" SAS controller and have a server with PCI-X slots in it, which is total crap. The only reason he thinks this is because the ZDNet blogger who wrote the "review" the GGP read is an idiot who has some weird fixation with SAS and totally ignores all the other available, cheaper and less troublesome storage options such as SCSI or an NFS mounted NAS.

Last but not least, you said it yourself: VMWare only support various certified platforms, but don't expect to get much support for ESXi anyway. ESXi will be fine in an enterprise setup you need a scratch server, or have a spare "supported" server lying around so you can be sure it will work. If you're expecting to throw ESXi on any old bit of whitebox crap and get enterprise quality server out of it, you're delusional. At the same time, whining that you can't setup a simple whitebox machine and run ESXi on it for your own uses because you have to buy a $250 SAS controller first is just uninformed crap.

But thanks for playing.

Re:more info. (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373635)

These issues - as well as some options are discussed in the blog post that I linked. I myself cannot discuss them at depth because I just downloaded it after seeing it here at slashdot and haven't really done anything with it yet. So I didn't forget it - I just don't have anything to say about it at this time.

Re:more info. (5, Informative)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374157)

ESX or ESXi works just fine with a bunch of plain old IDE and SATA controllers...see here [vm-help.com] for more information.

You can't put virtual machines on an IDE drive, but you can put them on SATA disks with the controllers listed at that link. You don't get RAID on any of them, though, even if they have some sort of RAID available. ESX(i) only officially supports storing VMs on RAID arrays if the disks appear to be SCSI of some sort (including SAS, or SATA on an SAS-capable controller).

You could also use Openfiler [openfiler.com] to create iSCSI targets that ESXi can use to store VMs, and Openfiler can use any storage that any modern Linux can use, including Linux software RAID. This allows you to have a VMware ESX(i) setup permanently (ESX was available as a free 90-day trial) on some pretty cheap hardware.

Re:more info. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24374219)

You don't even need to mess with iSCSI if you don't want to: ESXi can use a plain old NFS NAS. That's not exactly a stretch.

As I've already pointed out, ESXi also runs quite happily on a bunch of bog-standard SCSI controllers like the Adaptec AIC7xxx range, so you don't even need remote storage of any kind, and certainly not an enterprise class SAN.

Re:more info. (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374667)

its hardly a big deal, if you don't happen to have an 'enterprise class' storage controller available then get VMware Server which should be much more appropriate for your needs (and still free).

Re:more info. (1)

smooth123 (893548) | more than 6 years ago | (#24375049)

Cool I have a Dell Poweredge 1950. Yipee, Now only if I could gather all the other information needed to set this thing up....

Commodity hardware (2, Insightful)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374621)

ESXi and for that matter ESX will run on a variety of non qualified hardware. (Unsupported of course.) It will be interesting to see what kind of compatibility list people are able to come up with. It can't be worse than, say, the early days of Linux and 802.11 ....

Works on fairly cheap servers [Commodity hardware] (1)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374809)

A Dell SC1430 will work fine. (Well, CIM's busted but whatever.)

Another download link (5, Informative)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 6 years ago | (#24372957)

Oh, this is going to be fun, I can hardly wait! BTW the download link in TFA appears to be broken, you can get it here [vmware.com] .

Re:Another download link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24373535)

the link text is correct but the link under it has a typo (only two w's)

http://www.vmware.com/products/esxi

Re:Another download link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24374225)

I bow to your superior hacking skills.

Not FREE (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24372965)

If it's not FREE (as in GPL v3), it's not FREE.

Re:Not FREE (5, Funny)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373013)

If it's not FREE (as in GPL v3), it's not FREE.

Maybe that's why TFS said "free", rather than "FREE"?

Re:Not FREE (5, Funny)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373151)

Yes, let's get into arguments about what free is. Cause it's not like one could successfully argue (depending on one's precise definition of free) that GPL, BSD, $0, any of that, is/is not free. Come on, man, get off your high horse.

Re:Not FREE (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24373203)

Look buddy. If I don't have to pay for it, by definition of what I have learned "free" to be my whole life, it is free.

"Free" as in, "short for freedom" is not, and shall never be, the default value of this term in my head. When you go to the store and get a "free sample", they are talking about cost. If I were to go to McDonalds for a promotion of "Free McNugget Wednesdays", you can bet I'll have a happy little lawsuit when they actually try to charge me and claim "It is free in that you can do whatever you want with it!"

Re:Not FREE (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24373601)

Your comparison is bogus. McDonalds is a general public place, whereas this is slashdot, and is well known to be frequented by free software geeks.

It is unfortunate that the word "free" in English has such multiple meanings. Other languages have seperate words for "free as in freedom" and "free of charge"

Technically in English, "free" has no default value. If you want to avoid ambiguity, you have to say something like "free of charge"

You are right that you may be okay just saying "free" in McDonalds, but in places where freedom is likely to be discussed, you should know better than to assume. Either use the context where possible, otherwise ask for clarification.

Re:Not FREE (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24373723)

Technically in English, "free" has no default value. If you want to avoid ambiguity, you have to say something like "free of charge"

You mean as in "VMware ESXi Available For Free"?

Re:Not FREE (2, Funny)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374477)

"It is unfortunate that the word "free" in English has such multiple meanings."

Yeah, there should be like regulations and laws against that, who are we to look for alternate meanings, keep these language pirates from stealing our sources.

Re:Not FREE (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#24375421)

It's easier to just use the Latin since the terms are distinct. In this case the software is gratis but not libre.

Re:Not FREE (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24373791)

If I were to go to McDonalds for a promotion of "Free McNugget Wednesdays", you can bet I'll have a happy little lawsuit when they actually try to charge me and claim "It is free in that you can do whatever you want with it!"

Yeah, I threatened to sue when the local market wanted me to pay for their so-called "Free Range Chickens".

Re:Not FREE (5, Funny)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374193)

Range Chickens? What, are these replacing clay pigeons?

Mod parent up (1)

mccrew (62494) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374101)

Sorry I don't have mod points today, I'd mod you up.

Twenty-four years have passed since the GNU project began, and still it is extremely difficult to explain one of its fundamental tenets because of the poor choice of terminology. You have to convince someone that free doesn't mean what everyone else understands it to be.

Sometimes there is great value in standing your ground, insisting that the rest of the world change to fit your vision of things. This is not one of those instances.

What did you expect? (-1, Redundant)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373253)

As the money changers at the door to the cathedral begin to realize that you need buyers looking at your wares and not mulling around in the bazaar figuring out how stuff really works, their attempts to lure shoppers from the FREE stuff will take on all the twisted plot turns that an ad agency could ever dream of selling. Countdown to seeing real professional crippleware make a come-back in 3.. 2... 1...

I'm glad to say that short of some very twisted legislative efforts I can't see this going anywhere except closer to where RMS wanted software to go. The issue of security will shortly raise it's ugly head again, and when F/OSS starts being perceived as out-performing it's competition in this area, the dam will have burst. No little brute from Redmond will be able to put a chair in the hole either.

Sorry, no car analogy!

Re:Not FREE (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 6 years ago | (#24375305)

If it's not FREE (as in GPL v3), it's not FREE.

Please use the correct terminology.

It's not GNU/Free.

awesome... (4, Informative)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373003)

In our testing VMWare is by far the best performing VM platform out there, especially on the networking benchmarks. This is nothing but a good thing.

Re:awesome... (2, Interesting)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373159)

Agreed. VMware has Microsoft totally beat in terms of what you can do with virtualization. I was able to set up an environment of clustered machines for testing an Exchange Active-Active cluster and it worked flawlessly (though it did require some fiddling with the vmx files). I asked a Microsoft guy about doing something similar and they said that it wasn't possible. Frankly, VirtualPC is a joke (no unlimited snapshots? No private LAN segments? No thanks.) and without the flexibility of their server product, I can't believe Microsoft actually thinks its a contender in this space.

Basically, Microsoft is hoping to leverage their Windows monopoly to push a substandard product down everyone's throats (again).

Re:awesome... (2, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373499)

Uhm, HyperV is not VirtualPC - its completely different (although it can use VirtualPC and VirtualServer images if you really want it to).

HyperV does have multiple LAN segments (with the ability to setup routing between as required) and unlimited snapshots are available as standard, to respond to both your issues.

Re:awesome... (4, Interesting)

mitgib (1156957) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373951)

HyperV is also Xen aware. I played with it for a short period when RC1 was released, but was totally dissatisfied with it. I don't think VMWare has much to worry about as HyperV was not ready for production in my opinion at the time.

I was able to install Xen kernels in Fedora and CentOS without a problem in HyperV, but could not for the life of me get w2k3 or w2k8 to install, while both install without issue in my Xen cluster. Virtual Server 2005 was a far better product from Microsoft, but still way lacking as it required windows as the base OS.

Another lacking part I found with HyperV was poor ethernet support for *nix, limited to a realtech driver at 100Mbit. I really don't think enterprise clients will adopt HyperV for the one main reason of support though, it only officially supports SUSE, and if big enterprise clients can not purchase support for other linux distro's, they are not going to waste their time on Microsofts product.

Re:awesome... (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374049)

I currently have HyperV running on a Dell Vostro 200 (Core 2 Duo E8300, 4GB ram), with 3 Windows 2008 and one Windows 2003 VM running full time (and under load).

I will agree that the RCs were pigs, and Windows 2008 RTM did not include the final version of HyperV - if you grabbed the right update, it worked peachly however.

HyperV RTM was released a few weeks back, and was a simple update through Windows Update - it works a *lot* better than the RCs, and has sped things up as well.

Re:awesome... (1)

nko321 (788903) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374285)

Microsoft essentially doesn't support their own OS if it's on a non-Microsoft virtual server:

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=897615 [microsoft.com]

Re:awesome... (1)

Haileri$ (672536) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374923)

So you don't sound somewhat bias right?! Virtual PC mirrors the workstation product - a poorer relation but the workstation products aren't targetted at HA server configurations really.

Consider this - Hyper-V just made ESX3i free, just the same as Virtual Server made VMWare Server (formerly GSX) free. I don't think Hyper-V is great (the lack of support for previous version service packs is appaling for example) but substandard - not for a second, it mirrored my quick 10 VM test for speed against ESX (apart from setting the bloody VM's up!)

Re:awesome... (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374761)

What platforms did you test, and with what virtualized OS's? I've run some fairly comprehensive tests, but comparing ESX with paravirtualized Xen, Xen tends to perform as well on most benchmarks and significantly better on some (as expected, IO, system related and SMP scaling).

On fully virtual systems ESX is without a doubt the way to go tho.

what did you test? (1)

dgym (584252) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374827)

There are so many options out there, and so few up-to-date benchmarks, can you let us know what else you tested?

I haven't seen a good (recent) Xen vs Linux KVM study (on hardware with NPT). Adding this free VMWare offering into the mix should be interesting.

advertising (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373009)

slashdot apparently is a guerrilla marketing site. Who knew?

How about some objective analysis, or a couple of links to blogs like in the first comment?

Re:advertising (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373111)

slashdot apparently is a guerrilla marketing site. Who knew?

*raises hand*

Re:advertising (1)

grajzor (1307967) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373239)

Talking to yourself again, Steve? *ducks for chair*

wrong name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24373059)

The ad got the product name wrong, it's suppose to be iESX.

Re:wrong name (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373139)

The ad got the product name wrong, it's suppose to be iESX.

They should've just called it VMware SEXi. "I need to go fiddle with the SEXi server."

Re:wrong name (2, Funny)

74nova (737399) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373387)

I thought it was iSEX, maybe a new...Apple ummm...nevermind

Re:wrong name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24375373)

vibrator? the ideal present from him to her.

Re:wrong name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24374727)

Actually no, it's ESX 3i. You lose.

Take Billy to see the D-O-C-T-O-R. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24373109)

(H)igh (A)vailability and (D)istributed (R)esource (S)cheduler.

And just in case you couldn't tell that we're spelling out an abbreviation, not only have we capitalized the letters, we've added parentheses around each one as well!

The First One is Free, Kid (5, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373149)

Don't mind the $2500 per-physical-machine-maximum-2-cpus price tag on the version which actually lets you do stuff, like manage the machines, migrate them, share storage, etc.

Re:The First One is Free, Kid (2, Interesting)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373359)

This isn't a smart-assed comment, but what does this version do?

I've got an enclosure of 10 PowerEdge 1955s that I have ~ 6months to play with until I need to make them production servers. I'm sorely tempted to use this, but I'm unfamiliar with the ESX product line. What does this ESXi do for me?

Re:The First One is Free, Kid (1)

Vrtigo1 (1303147) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373411)

Google is your friend. [wikipedia.org]

Re:The First One is Free, Kid (3, Funny)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374991)

it was until it stole my girlfriend and put those photos we took up on Google Images..oh man i shoulda seen that coming

Replying to myself (3, Interesting)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373417)

I checked out the datasheet here [vmware.com] (PDF), and ESXi is just the small-footprint operating system on-top of which you can run multiple virtual machines.

So instead of having a fullblown Windows/Linux installation, you install this, and the smaller footprint leaves more resources for the guest OSes.

Am I right? And what is the software that you need to manage ESXi?

Re:Replying to myself (3, Informative)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373563)

You are right. The management software you want is Virtual Center (included as part of ESXi). The only thing you lack is the advanced management features such as automated high availability.

Re:Replying to myself (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373947)

Am I right? And what is the software that you need to manage ESXi?

Basicly, and it's called Virtual Infrastructure.

Re:Replying to myself (3, Informative)

Feyr (449684) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374021)

their ESX software is an hypervisor that you must install directly on the hardware to start with. if you want to run linux/win under it, you need to get vmware server.

ESXi seems to be ESX without the "service console" (a linux console that runs virtually that lets you manage stuff on the esx server)

to manage it you need the VI client which you can download on their site. it's the same client for all of their software (except vmware server, because it sucks)

VI client is, sadly, windows only

small footprint (1)

dgym (584252) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374983)

Does it really have a smaller footprint? Linux can be stripped down for embedded systems, as can the user space. You can even boot it from just a couple of floppies.

Considering you also have a huge library of drivers available for all sorts of hardware, I think Linux makes sense as a hypervisor.

I know many people think of Linux KVM as something you run from a full blown installation, but it doesn't have to be that way, and I think Redhat's new lineup might change that.

Re:The First One is Free, Kid (3, Informative)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373611)

You can find a FAQ [vmware.com] .

I haven't looked at ESXi in depth. The biggest missing component I see is the lack of a service console--no command line. I have a few Dell 2550(?) that for some reason have CDrom issues that I need console access for.

It looks like you have plenty of time to install ESXi and play with it. As long as your virtual servers aren't resource hogs, you can save bundles in hardware. If you step up to ESX and Virtual Ifrastructure, you can manage all your VM's through a single server. You can move, with VMotion VM's from one hypervisor to another (running, if they are using the same SAN), take snapshots (and restore!) of running machines live. virtualizaiton makes your life so much easier.

Guess I am a bit of a fan-boi.

Re:The First One is Free, Kid (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373655)

This isn't a smart-assed comment, but what does this version do?

I've got an enclosure of 10 PowerEdge 1955s that I have ~ 6months to play with until I need to make them production servers. I'm sorely tempted to use this, but I'm unfamiliar with the ESX product line. What does this ESXi do for me?

Not sure I follow you.

Virtualisation is very well covered in Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] and I won't waste time explaining it again now.

This offers a few features which are absent from VMWare Server:

1. Runs directly on bare metal. So you have to dedicate less disk space to a full-blown OS.
2. Should perform better.
3. Easy upgrade path to the paid version. The paid version is where things get really interesting - for instance, you can set up high-availability on a per-VM basis, effectively bringing HA to applications which don't natively have any sort of HA support.

Re:The First One is Free, Kid (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24373409)

And well worth it, I might add. It is a proven enterprise level technology and it really will save you money right out of the gate. I'm running 20 Windows Server 2003 boxen on a single HP DL385 G3 with 2 AMD 2218's and 16GB RAM, and I'm still only running at about 60-70% utilization.

For the standard version of Virtual Infrastructure you're going to spend around $2500-$6000, plus around $5000-$10000 for 1 or 2 servers to run it.

Again, worth it.

Re:The First One is Free, Kid (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374327)

I'm running 20 Windows Server 2003 boxen on a single HP DL385 G3 with 2 AMD 2218's and 16GB RAM, and I'm still only running at about 60-70% utilization.

For the standard version of Virtual Infrastructure you're going to spend around $2500-$6000, plus around $5000-$10000 for 1 or 2 servers to run it.

Although there is no getting around the cost of VI from VMware, the only thing that's really expensive is storage for all the VMs you need to run, and the outrageous markup on the servers on the VMware HCL.

If you "white box" with all VMware-certified hardware, you can build a very nice server (two quad-core 2GHz AMD, 16GB ECC RAM, 6 1-Gbit NICs, PCIe SAS RAID) for less than $3000. But once you start talking SAN, then you start to have very few choices but to pay the outrageous prices.

Re:The First One is Free, Kid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24373445)

> like manage the machines

From what I have seen, it does come with a remote client (which can be downloaded from the machine itself) to manage the machine.

Re:The First One is Free, Kid (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373493)

As a VMware stock holder, that sounds fine with me.

Re:The First One is Free, Kid (5, Informative)

JayGuerette (457133) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373609)

Don't mind the $2500 per-physical-machine-maximum-2-cpus price tag on the version which actually lets you do stuff, like manage the machines, migrate them, share storage, etc.

When you're running 10-20 virtual servers on a single ESX host and look at the hardware cost, space & resource consumption, and management costs of 10-20 physical servers.... this suddenly looks cheap. We're running 100+ ESX hosts... this is an *extremely* cost-effective solution.

Then you don't need it (1)

74nova (737399) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373895)

If the software doesn't suit you as a solution, don't complain about it, use something else.

This new free solution is perfect for me, as I've got enterprise level stuff running virtualization with Workstation. Nobody is debating whether this is a tool to getting you stuck with VMware, because it most certainly is.

Re:The First One is Free, Kid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24374207)

The $2500 is a one time charge, not per-physical-machine.

No, no, no, you can do a bunch with what's free (1)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374497)

If you don't mind rolling your own you can do a whole bunch of management via the VI API using, for example, Perl Toolkit. It's not necessarily simple but, hey, once you've written it, share it with other folks.

The enterprise-level management tools are necessary for complex setups but for smaller applications you are able to do a lot on your own. A whole lot! In addition to the obvious stuff like VM operations, you could probably do a clone, perhaps in a limited way, by copying and moving files in the datastores.

Someone who's industrious could get quite a bit out of embedded ESX.

Mostany (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24373235)

ESXi runs on most any hardware

"Almost any"? "Most -> Any"?

Business Model? (0)

BarneyRubble (180091) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373431)

As a user this great (at least short term), but what exactly is there business model? I want them to be around in few years time.

Re:Business Model? (2, Informative)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373551)

To sell you the features that extend it, such as management, hot migration to other machines, etc. The ESXi is cool, but a very, very base product. If you start playing with it, you will want to pay for all the features that go along with ESX to manage, deploy, etc..

Thoroughly suitable for DIY management (3, Interesting)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374563)

Embedded ESX supports a large subset of the VI API (basically, everything that a standalone host can give you). You can write Perl or Java to your heart's content and get ESXi to jump through hoops. Virtual Center uses the VI API and it's quite possible you can write something you enjoy better. Go check out the Virtual Infrastructure SDK.

Re:Business Model? (3, Insightful)

cduffy (652) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373571)

You mean "their" business model, not "there" business model; the latter word refers to location, while the former refers to possession.

They're VMware. They have plenty of products they charge (lots and lots of) money for; giving away low-end freebies isn't going to hurt their bottom line much, as anyone running a QA department will want to have the management tools &c. that come with the full releases, without needing a developer to write local toolage (which can be even more expensive, after opportunity cost for the staff involved is taken into account).

Re:Business Model? (1)

BarneyRubble (180091) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373797)

Thank you, I was completely unaware of the distinction before you pointed it out.

There does seem to be a trend in giving away their core products. They seem to have been forced into giving away vmware player as a reaction to ms giving away virtual pc. A great innovative company which I hope doesn't go under in an overzealous bid to gain market share.

Re:Business Model? (1)

George Beech (870844) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373709)

The business model is to get you hooked on the free ESXi version, then sell you the expensive Virtual Infrastructure package with all the really cool features, such as HA (VMotion) and DRS(automatic - if you want - resource balancing) etc.

ESXi and Virtual Center (1)

moogoogaipan (970221) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373587)

I've heard that ESXi cannot talk to Virtual Center. Is that true?

Re:ESXi and Virtual Center (5, Informative)

moogoogaipan (970221) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373703)

Just found this out: To use ESXi with VC you would need to purchase ESX Foundation Oh well, still, I'll try it w/o Virtual Center.

Re:ESXi and Virtual Center (2, Informative)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374757)

Also you can surf the web for other management applications written using the VI API. There are some out there already and I think that the release of ESXi will really accelerate this. Which is a good thing because VC could use a kick in the pants (would be good for VMware too).

BTW there is a limited built-in web management interface.

Re:ESXi and Virtual Center (1)

ganhawk (703420) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374907)

ESXi does come with a client. You need to buy VC if you want to manage multiple ESXi boxes together (and/or need additional features like HA/DRS)

Re:ESXi and Virtual Center (1)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374963)

I think (as is often the case) one person is talking about Virtual Center and another is talking about VI Client ....

Still no Firewire support? (3, Interesting)

PingXao (153057) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373795)

That's been a showstopper standing between us and vmware forever. Maybe it is finally supported, but I RTFA, then I even went and RTFWS and I couldn't find any mention of Firewire or IEEE 1394 (a or b).

Re:Still no Firewire support? (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373925)

I am curious, what would you need firewire support for? Are you talking firewire for servers or workstations?

Re:Still no Firewire support? (3, Informative)

mccabem (44513) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374229)

There is no Firewire for servers or workstations.

There's just Firewire like there's just USB. He's talking about Firewire support in VMware like there's USB support in VMware.

-Matt

Re:Still no Firewire support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24374603)

So they want firewire support so that they can hack into machines? I thought we had covered the design of firewire and how it was peer-2-peer and allows any peer to read/write any memory on other peers (and allows you to logon as administrator or change anything in RAM). That's the last piece of crap I'd want on my server.

Re:Still no Firewire support? (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374459)

What do you need Firewire support for?

VMware ESX is really designed for virtualization of server operating systems. Although it can run quite a few "desktop" OS versions, there is no good console system...the built-in remote console view is OK for installs, tweaks that must be done from the console, etc., but not really good enough for extensive use.

ESX does support USB connected to the ESX server, but only for use with the "ESX console VM", and you can't store other VMs on USB. Since ESXi doesn't have a console VM, even that isn't supported.

Uh, X? Remote Desktop? Ssh? (1)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374683)

Aside from the occasional maintenance task (like if you have misconfigured your network) there's no reason you want *want* to use the VMware console. Just like any other server that's not right under your desk, you'll be using X or RDC. Or a command line via ssh.

Re:Still no Firewire support? (0)

rtechie (244489) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374673)

Your solution is to migrate off Firewire. It's being discontinued. If you're using Firewire for storage, stop. It's not scalable and slower that other, cheaper, solutions.

I've been able to come up with exactly one good remaining reason to use Firewire: external sound cards/video processors. They tend to be much better at handling he I/O than USB. Such devices are only intended for LAPTOPS though, so I'm not sure how that would affect VMWare (unless you want to run VMWare on the laptops, which is almost certainly a bad idea).

Re:Still no Firewire support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24374981)

Really? I'm honestly curious; what firewire peripherals do you need to interface with a VM? Even the USB support, while nice, is mostly useless in production, as it just means your VM is now stuck on one particular host and you're sacrificing HA.

(Nice for retarded software that still uses USB dongles though

Damnit... (1)

JShadow21 (871404) | more than 6 years ago | (#24373847)

Well I just bought this a few months ago... oh well

Why do they even try? (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374147)

I know the VMware product is going to be 100X better than the MS-MESS that is going to get crammed down our throats. I mean can Virtual PC use your PC's USB ports, NO, can VMWARE, Yes.

Can VMware work on a small footprint, yes it can.

Can MS's product work, no it can't.

I'll bet that the MS demons will end up winning the Market share with this and VMware virtualization will end up like Novell, Kaput!

Sad, but true.

Re:Why do they even try? (1)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374717)

Yeah and you can also port VMs between ESX, Workstation, Fusion, Server, Player ....

Converter is helpful although not always necessary. (There's a version you can download for free.)

Re:Why do they even try? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 6 years ago | (#24375339)

I don't know about that. One thing the MS Markleting Machine knows is that installed base is difficult to replace (otherwise.. well, you know the rest). VMWare is the "industry leader" in virtualisation, even the place I work which is seriously pro-MS dumped Virtual PC/Server for VMware ESX back when they had to pay for it and bought a load fo licences.

I think MS will keep on fighting, will keep on giving stuff away for 'free' (all you have to do is buy a copy of Windows Server 2008 :) ) and VMware will keep on taking their lunch and giving us more stuff for free which works better, performs better, is easier to manage, and runs all OSes equally.

Does this mean... (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374423)

I can finally run my firewall/antivirus in a hypervisor so viruses won't detect that it's there? This could be a whole new level of security.

Re:Does this mean... (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374931)

Er... if the virus is detecting your scanner, you've already lost the battle. Sure, the hypervisor would prevent the virus from having a sexy time with the scanner/firewall, but it will still infect everything else in the system.

Far better to just run a dedicated box with the firewall and virus scanner, to properly isolate your workstations from the idiotnet.

I've spent the last two weeks researching VM tech (2, Informative)

J-F Mammet (769) | more than 6 years ago | (#24374823)

For my work we wanted to setup a HA cluster with 2 (or at worse 3) servers running both a Linux and Windows environment for some DRM stuff. So after years of just toying with VMWare server and simple VMs like that, I finally jumped into the wonderful world of hypervisors.
I of course first tried the open source solutions, and boy was that a nightmare. First Xen, on a DRBD+OCFS2+Heartbeat environment. Never managed to get it to be stable, got either kernel panic from OCFS after some time, or the servers would hang when doing live migrations. Also tried the iSCSI way, and still no way to stabilize the thing.
Then since I though the issue was with the only officially supported Xen kernel (2.6.18) I tried KVM since it's integrated into the mainline kernel. Well surprise, I got more or less the exact same result. Kernel panic when trying the migrate a VM...
So I gave ESX a try, not really believing it would be any better. Well, it actually works, but while it was easier to set up than KVM/Xen for HA and stuff like that, it sure wasn't trivial either. I spent a lot of time on google researching the various issues I was having (who would think that you HAVE to use the names of the machines and not their IPs when setting up the HA stuff?), but at least I got it to work. The accounting people sure aren't happy with it though...

Babblefish translation please (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 6 years ago | (#24375335)

OK, I've RTFA. I've read the current comments here as far as they go when I start to write this. I'm still lacking understanding of what this is.

I've been using the free VMware player on-and-off for personal use. It works pretty well for what I've done with it (although sometimes the virtual machines get in a state where they refuse to start and I have to revert to a backup copy). I'm not able to find from the article or discussion here just what this brings to the table (or doesn't bring to the table) that the VMWare player doesn't (or does). Can anyone give a simple feature oriented breakdown of the various VMWare products (in particular the free ones)? A contrast to Microsoft and other offerings would also be interesting, although I expect I'll stick with some form of VMWare unless I learn something really amazing there.

If it matters I run VMware on dual core AMD2 processors that have the hardware visualization support.

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