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VMware to Make Server Product Free (as in beer)

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the i-do-enjoy-a-good-free-server-product dept.

Operating Systems 216

yahyamf writes "CNET News.com is reporting that in the face of increasing competition in the OS virtualization market VMWare is going to give away its GSX server product for free, in the hope that customers who try it will eventually migrate to the more powerful ESX server. The company recently released a free VMWare Player which could only run but not create virtual machines. The company faces competition from rival products such as SWsoft's Virtuozzo, Mircrosoft's Virtual Server, as well as open source software like Xen"

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In your eye. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14634183)

Chicken Thai

FREE AS IN COLT 45 (WORKS EVERY TIME) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14634186)


Great! But.. (-1, Troll)

qrwe (625937) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634199)

..didn't products like Netscape die because such a decision?

hey don't leave out qemu (3, Informative)

jomas1 (696853) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634200)

If you are going to list software that will let you run an operating system from within another don't leave out qemu ahref=http://fabrice.bellard.free.fr/qemu/rel=url2 html-2228 [slashdot.org] http://fabrice.bellard.free.fr/qemu/>

Qemu may not run as fast as vmware does now but it's here, it's free and you can change whatever you want about it. The same is not true for vmware

SECONDED (1)

hummassa (157160) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634231)

I use QEMU everyday in my day job, so now I can boot my desktop in Linux... I use Delphi7 inside QEMU and it works flawlessly (not blazingly fast, but acceptable)

Re:SECONDED (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634262)

I used to run QEMU also but now that Vmware player is free I run that instead. As I am just an "end user" who do not really need to modify the code, I only use it to run Linux on my Windows computer.

Re:SECONDED (4, Informative)

j0217995 (597878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634601)

I use a combination of them as well to run Linux on my windows box. If you use qemu to create the image file in vmware format you can then setup any vmplayer file to run any operating system. Currently I have the following image files, Ubuntu (Breezy), Ubuntu (Dapper), Windows 2003 Server, Debian, and BSD. All files were created first in qemu then I installed through VMPlayer. Runs as well as an official VM Player file available for download. See https://wiki.ubuntu.com/VMwarePlayerAndQemu [ubuntu.com] for more information.

Re:hey don't leave out qemu (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14634265)

Qemu may not run as fast as vmware does now but it's here, it's free and you can change whatever you want about it. The same is not true for vmware

If it does not run as fast, it's inferior. If it's inferior there is no reason to bring up it's use in this type of conversation. Why does everyone on /. think they need to evangelize their current solution whenever a similar (usually better) product is mentioned? Personally? I just use another f-ing machine. It's just as fast as a real server, and I have no compatibility issues.. oh yeah. it *is* a real server.

Re:hey don't leave out qemu (0, Flamebait)

base3 (539820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634329)

It'll let you assign an arbitrary MAC address. VMware won't. Thus, VMware is inferior in that regard. Why do proprietary fanatics think they need to be apologists for commercial software?

Re:hey don't leave out qemu (4, Informative)

birder (61402) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634345)

What are you talking about? VMware allows you to make the MAC address anything you want. Edit the config file and change the generatedAddress for the ethernet controller.

Re:hey don't leave out qemu (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634368)

Try changing the OUI (first three bytes) to something besides 00:50:56. It's impossible without patching the binary. So if you're trying to run a honeypot or have some other reason for not wanting users or others on the network know your VM is a VM, VMware is not the right product.

Re:hey don't leave out qemu (1)

VirtualMorrigan (523431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634499)

That must be a new restriction, then...when I was still using VMware 3 years back, I know I had set my MAC address to something like 01:01:01...don't remember the rest and haven't got the config file online. But just for the record, it was possible.

You're right (1)

birder (61402) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634702)

I've always only changed the last two digits but you're right. You can only modify the the last 3 digits in recent releases. They did it to ensure no conflicts in the network.

Reference:

Remove the three lines that begin with the following:
ethernet[n].generatedAddress
ethernet[n].addressType
ethernet[n].generatedAddressOffset
In these options, [n] is the number of the virtual Ethernet adapter -- for example ethernet0.

Add the following line to the configuration file :
ethernet0.address = 00:50:56:XX:YY:ZZ

In this line, XX must be a valid hexadecimal number between 00h and 3Fh, and YY and ZZ must be valid hexadecimal numbers between 00h and FFh.

MOD DOWN... not informative, it's incorrect (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634529)

VMWare since at least 4.0, has only let you change the MAC address to a limited subset of possible addresses. You can't change it to anything you want to.

Re:hey don't leave out qemu (2, Insightful)

kbnielsen (835429) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634417)

No, vmware lets you assign a MAC address inside the range 00:50:56:XX:YY:ZZ, which is quite reasonable, since this block is assigned to VMWare, and thereby they avoid to conflict with other MAC's on the ether... They also avoid a whole host of problems with people faking mac addresses and such, so I think it's quite reasonable to have this practice...

Re:hey don't leave out qemu (5, Insightful)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634441)

Why do proprietary fanatics think they need to be apologists for commercial software? Because VMWare produces some fantastic products. I couldn't care less if software is commercial or not as long as it fits my needs and my budget. There is simply no open source alternative to VMWare right now that even comes close to what it does at the speeds it does it. Quit being a blind open source fanatic and look around the world sometime. The vast majority of people have no problem paying for software if it fits their needs.

Re:hey don't leave out qemu (1)

Frank Palermo (846883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634370)

"Qemu may not run as fast as vmware does now but it's here, it's free and you can change whatever you want about it. The same is not true for vmware"

Well, to be entirely fair, that's because they do two different things. Qemu does CPU emulation, VMWare does virtualization. There is a module for QEMU that implements direct code execution (on x86 at least), but as per its webpage here [bellard.free.fr] , it is a "free to use, but it is a closed source proprietary product," so you can't exactly 'change whatever you want about it'.

-Frank

Re:hey don't leave out qemu (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634372)

If you just want to run Linux under Windows, why not CoLinux [colinux.org] ?

Re:hey don't leave out qemu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14634515)

has to test a product on certain distros?

Because what I want... (1)

hummassa (157160) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634531)

is the other way around (windows inside linux -- and no, Wine is not always an option)

Re:hey don't leave out qemu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14634627)

Because that's not what most people really want or need. VMWare lets you have many different virtual machines with several OS'es (Win 2003/2k/XP etc, several distros/versions of linux, BSD, etc), test machines (to try installers/deploying stuff/beta software, etc), virtual servers (for several DBs and other server soft you don't want permanently installed on your PC), etc. Nothing against CoLinux, but it's of no use to me.

Mmm? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14634202)

So where can I find this free beer everyone keeps talking about?

Re:Mmm? (-1, Offtopic)

Merle Darling (33121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634484)

Wow, whoever modded the parent Troll is a fucking moron. Mod, please promise me you won't breed.

THIS post, on the other hand, could be considered a Troll or at least Flamebait. Of course with mods like these it'll probably wind up Insightful or Funny or something equally retarded. Go figure.

Re:Mmm? (0, Troll)

jzeejunk (878194) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634568)

you won't find it since this one's virtual! :p

Mircrosoft (2, Insightful)

raffe (28595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634206)

I bet this is more because og Mircrosoft than Xen. When Mircrosoft is moving into a field competitors usally shiver....

Intel VT (4, Interesting)

lisaparratt (752068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634222)

I would have thought the most scary thing facing VMware is Intel Virtualisation Technology - it makes what was previously very hard fairly simple. It also doesn't require the guest OSes to be hacked, ala Xen.

I suspect we can expect to see a huge swathe of hypervisors being released over the next few months, if only so x86 Mac users can run Windows apps!

Re:Intel VT (5, Insightful)

rfinnvik (16122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634252)

VMWare's real "killer app" in my opinion is VirtualCenter/VMotion. The management tool is better than anything else I've seen for managing virtual infrastructure - and the ability to move live VMs between hardware nodes is just impressive :)

Re:Intel VT (2, Interesting)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634426)

It definitely sounds good. At least it removes another 'contra' from long list of IA-32/AMD64 and PowerPC differences. As many of you have known for some time people who run Linux on PPC enjoyed free ride with Mac-On-Linux project. Check http://maconlinux.org/ [maconlinux.org]

On side note, after seeing how easy virtualization can happen with Open Source kernels - e.g. User Mode Linux, Xen, Plex, coLinux, etc - me keeps wandering why M$ haven't done that with WinNT kernels. There are only few true obstacles in x86 "architecture" which prevent effective virtualization - VMware is solving all of them at very high level and of course tried in past to charge premium for that. Xen modifies kernel so that overhead of virtualization is negligible - it's not another computer emulator, it's just kernel running as a ordinary OS process. (Anyway, user tasks see computer only as it is reflected by kernel and device drivers (-: )

I know M$ likes only good cash cows (like M$ Office franchise) but as OS kernel concerned, the modifications to allow it to run in virtual machine are truly not that big. Check-out the coLinux - it's neat. http://wiki.colinux.org/cgi-bin/ConvertingDistribu tions [colinux.org]

P.S. Or is it what M$ Windows Advanced Server for?

Re:Intel VT (3, Interesting)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634527)

Xen can also move live VMs between hardware nodes (only non-responsive for tens of milliseconds). It's going to be a very powerful tool once all chips have virtualization capabilities.

Re:Intel VT (0, Flamebait)

Slashcrap (869349) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634268)

I would have thought the most scary thing facing VMware is Intel Virtualisation Technology - it makes what was previously very hard fairly simple. It also doesn't require the guest OSes to be hacked, ala Xen.

Oh wow. You actually believe that having Vanderpool means you won't need something like VMWare.

Well this will blow your mind - the latest VMWare has Vanderpool support. It doesn't make a great deal of difference by all accounts. Why would VMWare have Vanderpool support if Vanderpool makes VMWare obsolete. Doesn't make much sense does it?

I think you may be suffering from a hype overdose. I suggest you check in to your local ER for a stomach pump. Alternatively try being a little more cynical in future.

Re:Intel VT (2, Insightful)

lisaparratt (752068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634378)

The hard part of virtualising x86 is having to rewrite guest code on the fly to make sure it doesn't do anything that'd break it out of it's sand box. Vanderpool alleiviates the need to do this.

This changes writing a hypervisor like VMWare from a very, very difficult challenge to just moderately taxing.

This totally changes the landscape - VMWare won't be obsolete, it's just going to have an awful lot more competition in future. The few technical advantages it has over the competition are now handed to everyone on a plate. They've now got to focus on mindshare and administrative ease, since they can no longer rest on their technical laurels.

Re:Intel VT (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634388)

There are two parts to virtualisation:
  1. CPU virtualisation.
  2. Peripheral virtualisation
The first of these is practically impossible on x86. VMWare and VirtualPC (x86 edition) manage it using some really, really, ugly hacks that kill performance (and then some more hacks to boost performance). Xen works by ignoring the problem. An operating system on Xen must be ported to not use any of the x86 instructions that don't easily allow virtualisation.

The second is not very hard conceptually. You just need to do some kind of multiplexing and then expose your devices as if they are a fairly general device of the category. While this is conceptually simple, it is practically a lot of work. Again, Xen dodges the problem here slightly be requiring that the domain 0 OS supports the hardware, and then providing generic virtualisation routines for various categories of device (consumer VMWare and VPC do the same - not sure about the server lines).

VT / Vanderpool / whatever make the first of these much easier (about as easy as it's been on RISC machines for the past decade or so and on mainframes for the past three. Yay for x86). They do very little for the second part of the puzzle. On PowerPC or SPARC, it might be possible to implement OpenFirmware drivers for hardware that are virtualisation-aware (IBM's servers do something a bit like this). I don't know if EFI has this capability; if it does then things like VMWare might become obsolete.

Oh, the final part of the puzzle is clustering. Xen and the server-grade VM systems provide clustering support which allows virtual machines to be transparently migrated between cluster nodes. This is quite useful, since you can run N VMs on M machines, and squeeze the low-activity ones onto a small number of nodes, then have then migrated to their own node when they are under high load.

Re:Intel VT (1)

Glen Ponda (599385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634390)

I think you may be suffering from a hype overdose. I suggest you check in to your local ER for a stomach pump. Alternatively try being a little more cynical in future.

But try not to be so cynical that you come across as twisted and bitter. It's a fine line...

Mac already runs Win (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14634451)

MS sells the VM/Win2000 and VM/WinXP packages for Mac Tiger for the same price as the bare Intel packages.


Psssssst. If you promise not to tell anyone, MS Office Win runs better on a Mac under VM than does the native MS Office Mac. Same with the multifarious versions of the professional QuickBooks packages.

Re:Mac already runs Win (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634551)

How much memory do you have? I tried running Windows XP in VPC6 on a 1.33 GHz PowerBook G4 with 768 MB RAM, and it was so slow you could watch individual elements of dialog boxes repaint. I didn't even try to install Microsoft Office with that level of responsiveness.

Virtual PC (1)

addie macgruer (705252) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634710)

That would be strange. My iBook 800 G4 / 768 Mb runs the like of XP / Office entirely tolerably using virtual PC. It's sufficiently fast to get a USB wi-fi thing with "XP only" drivers running and shifting a couple of hundred K per second, and to have some retro UFO: Enemy Unknown running along in XP's DOS emulation mode.

I've found the best way to get some extra speed on the go is to set the 'guest' OS to a good whack of RAM, like 700 mb, and to switch off virtual memory in XP. XP handling paging really does slow it down.

My major complaint about VPC6 is that it gets the computer too hot to keep on your lap in minutes, and causes the battery remaining to drop from about 4 hours to 30 minutes.

Good Move! (1)

greyspk (949248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634230)

At last they started to realise that it's the support services and not the actual cost of a product which helps you grow. Now if they could only give VMWare Workstation for free, they would be able to successfully compete with the catching up competitors, especially the already open-sourced ones like Wine or Xen.

Re:Good Move! (3, Interesting)

jaseuk (217780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634249)

GSX does all you need. So why if GSX is free would you need workstation?

Jason.

Re:Good Move! (4, Interesting)

jruschme (76180) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634280)

Which leaves the even bigger question of where this all leaves Workstation?

Player makes sense... small run-only environment, embeddable, etc.

But if GSX goes free what would a pricy workstation offer?

Re:Good Move! (2, Insightful)

greyspk (949248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634297)

I haven't compared them 1 to 1, but I would expect that GSX has higher requirements for your server, both memory and CPU wise. If that is not the case, you're absolutely right - GSX is all I'm going to need. One more positive side is that open sourcing GSX may trigger few separate public projects based on it (depends on what license GSX sources will be provided under).

Re:Good Move! (2, Informative)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634349)

q[One more positive side is that open sourcing GSX may trigger few separate public projects based on it (depends on what license GSX sources will be provided under).]q

It's provided under the "here are the binaries; you may not reverse engineer them" license.

Read the topic again -- free as in beer, not free as in speech. Just because I give you the beer for free doesn't mean I have to provide you the recipe.

Re:Good Move! (2, Interesting)

StDave (13072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634392)

It is free as in beer, not as in speech. The source will not be opened from what the article says.

Re:Good Move! (5, Interesting)

jaseuk (217780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634474)

Well the only major difference between GSX and workstation is that GSX allows you to control startup / shutdown of virtual machines so that they can start at windows boot, it also supports remote administration and I believe you can manage the machines through their other tools such as VirtualCentre. I don't believe there is any great difference in system requirements for GSX over Workstation.

Ultimately GSX, Workstation and player are all essentially the same technology. ESX only differs by being a custom linux distribution making it very easy to install and a web interface to control operation and a few enterprise features such as VLANS and the VMotion addons. They've also moved some of the virtual machine I/O and handling into a kernel module rather than running in userland to gain some sort of performance advantage. Rather strangely ESX seems to be slow at supporting iSCSI. Of course there are also tools to limit bandwidth and control CPU usage on individual machines, whereas with GSX and Workstation it's a free for all.

Personally after trialling VMWARE ESX and GSX I actually prefer GSX. The "grow on use" disk type available for GSX is certainly better for small single use servers, flexibility to grow and keeps image sizes down for backups. I also really miss the client CD-ROM and floppy support which again is absent from ESX. The control panel also seems quite flakey.

Personally I feel that VMWARE have got the pricing structure wrong somehow. The only way to truely consolidate is to use big machines (20-30GB RAM) the problem here is that the cost of 4GB RAM modules is rather prohibitive, then add in some server redundancy and all the VMWARE licensing fees and it doesn't make sense any more. I'd actually prefer to pay a reasonable cost per active virtual machine, that way we can keep redundant hardware and move machines around as we see fit for performance or DR purposes.

I'm quite keen for GSX to be free or cheap, it'll then make cost sense to consider a VMWare strategy.

Jason.

Re:Good Move! (1)

g2racer (258096) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634490)

Here's my take on why Workstation is still a viable product, it's not meant to be a server virtualization product. We use Workstation for development and testing. Development because it allows us to deliver a consistent developer image to 30+ developers across the globe, and testing because each image contains all the tools required to run unit and system tests on our code base. We also don't need to worry about what the developers are using as a host OS (they could be running Win2k, WinXP, or Linux). We use ESX for server virtualization, meaning we have ESX running on big 4 CPU boxes which run our portal 24x7. For these purposes, both products work great. I've noticed that Workstation supports newer OSs than either GSX or ESX which is good for people using Workstation to test different OSs.

Re:Good Move! (3, Informative)

jbarr (2233) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634567)

jaseuk wrote:
"GSX does all you need. So why if GSX is free would you need workstation?"

According to the Data Sheets found here:

http://www.vmware.com/pdf/gsx_specs.pdf [vmware.com]
http://www.vmware.com/pdf/ws_specs.pdf [vmware.com]

GSX requires a "server" host, while Workstation does not:

GSX:
Host Operating Systems
Runs on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server and Advanced Server; Windows Server 2003, Web, Standard, Enterprise and x64 Editions, and Linux server host OSes

Workstation:
Host Operating Systems
Windows 2000 Professional and Server, Windows XP (32- and 64-bit), Windows Server 2003 (32- and 64-bit)
Popular 32-bit Linux distributions from Red Hat, SUSE, Ubuntu and Mandrake; select RHEL and SLES 64-bit

-Jim Barr
http://jimstips.com/ [jimstips.com]

Re:Good Move! (1)

jbarr (2233) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634581)

I forgot to add...

Which means that users running Windows XP cannot use GSX, and must use Workstation.

I haven't actually tried to install GSX on Windows XP, so I can't verify if an install fails or not.

Re:Good Move! (3, Informative)

andersbergh (884714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634694)

I've successfully used GSX in XP. It doesn't even tell you that your OS is unsupported when you install it.

Re:Good Move! (4, Informative)

paradizelost (689394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634577)

Multiple Snapshots. GSX Does not have them, workstation does. and let me tell you, It's damn nice.

Re:Good Move! (2, Informative)

koadic (605888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634678)

As the parent says, Workstation lets you keep a practically unlimited tree of snapshots, which is great for testing. Server can only take a single snapshot. (Sure, it can be copied and stashed somewhere manually, but the Workstation interface is much nicer and the incremental shapshots more efficient.)

Re:Good Move! (1)

BestNicksRTaken (582194) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634606)

Workstation has always had the new features before GSX, like virtual-SMP, VT support, new OS support etc.

I see it as what Fedora is to RHEL. I wonder if it will stay that way, or if "Server" will take that role?

Thing is, The Register article says that "Server" will include those features, so I guess its either a bastardisation of WS 5.5.1 and GSX 3.2.1 or it's just a newer version of GSX than the currently 3.2.1

What about existing customers? (5, Interesting)

tumutbound (549414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634237)

I'd certainly be pissed off if I'd just paid $1400 for GSX only to be told this week it's free.
I've been paying for regular updates to VMWorkstation over the years, does this mean I can stop and just use the free products?
That said, it's still worth the money I've been paying.

Re:What about existing customers? (2, Interesting)

ds_job (896062) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634286)

Just imagine if you've just been done for downloading it off a p2p network and applying a cracked serial. That'd hurt. I'm not speaking from experience, just imagining...

Re:What about existing customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14634443)

It would seem as thought that you have looked into it.. although it is easier to find esx then gsx ;)

Re:What about existing customers? (1)

paradizelost (689394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634564)

But you can just get the VMWare GSX trial, as it is fully functional, and use a keygen... COUGH COUGH

Re:What about existing customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14634643)

Why would you download it off p2p? Download it directly from VMware and then use the serial generator.

Geesh hasn't anyone told you p2p is *illegal*.

</humor>

Re:What about existing customers? (3, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634434)

I'd certainly be pissed off if I'd just paid $1400 for GSX only to be told this week it's free.

Why? If you thought $1400 was too much for the product, you wouldn't have bought it. Since you bought the product, clearly you thought that what you were getting was worth more than what you were paying for it. So you were happy with the deal you made with VMware. Surely you are not petty enough to begrudge others the better deal that they are now getting?

Though I'm certainly not the religious sort, I'm reminded of the Christian parable of the workers in the vineyard. You made your own deal with VMware, and you were happy with it. What business is it of yours if, since then, they have changed their plans and now offer better deals to others?

Limitations? (5, Interesting)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634240)

This is not a troll comment but can it run on a cluster? Will it detect that it's running on a Linux cluster and refuse to run? Here's what I'm thinking, a bunch of older computers clustered using one of those Live CDs that make them part a cluster just by popping the CDs in. I believe the software, can't remember the name, also does single system image or something like that where the cluster appears as a single system to the applications. Then run VMWare on top and run any OS you want! In my scenario, I'll be running Windows because our software is written for Windows but takes forever to run. I've considered building a cluster but couldn't think of an easy way to make it run on Linux. I was going to try Xen but VMWare is super easy to use, if my experience using it on Windows carries over to Linux.

Very exciting indeed.

Re:Limitations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14634289)

Will it detect that it's running on a Linux cluster and refuse to run? Here's what I'm thinking, a bunch of older computers clustered using one of those Live CDs that make them part a cluster just by popping the CDs in.

I've never heard of that and I doubt it would work well. Just buy a nice big Linux box and host your virtual machines on that. I easily had 15 virtual lightly-loaded Windows 2000 servers on a single dual AMD Athlon MP 2800+ system with 4 gigs of RAM running GSX server. We use it in a lab environment for testing interoperability and new beta stuff.

Re:Limitations? (1)

TheGreatDonkey (779189) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634340)

"VMware GSX Server makes high availability affordable and scalable by protecting critical applications and data in up to 64 secure, isolated virtual machines on a single hardware system. It supports standard network load balancing, standby, replication, and clustering of virtual machines." The new ESX v3 on its way out the door supports iSCSI clustering. I am not sure at what level you would want to run your cluster data at. VMWare stores a disk as a file, and I am not aware of a way to have multiple virtual machines accessing that file at the same time and writing to it. However, if, within your virtual machine, you have your cluster pointing to the shared data on an NFS or shared volume somewhere on the network, I don't see that being a problem.

Re:Limitations? (1)

PowerKe (641836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634425)

VMWare stores a disk as a file, and I am not aware of a way to have multiple virtual machines accessing that file at the same time and writing to it.

You can share a virtual disk, see Enabling SCSI Reservation [vmware.com] for more information

Re:Limitations? (2, Insightful)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634401)

I'm not so sure that shoehorning an app (and an OS for that matter) that thinks it's running on a signle node into a cluster is such a good idea. The benefits of a cluster are typically only realized when the underlying software has some idea of what's going on and can organize data sufficiently accross the nodes. At best case, I'm guessing there will be an awfully chatty system in place that may get marginally better performance or may even get worse performance than running the app on a single node.

Re:Limitations? (2, Informative)

stikves (127823) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634464)

"This is not a troll comment but can it run on a cluster?"

No it's not troll, but it's totally uniformed. Currently SMP (multiprocessor/multithreaded) VMware is only supported on ESX server as an addon [vmware.com] . As ESX runs on bare hardware (it's GSX who runs as a Linux application), there is currently no support for "virtual multiple CPUs in Linux". (Xen does this, but it's not the issue now).

Additionally OpenMOSIX (which comes with ClusterKnoppix [bofh.be] - I guess you meant this by "those Live CDs"), does not to "SMP like" processing. Instead it combines the processes in a "global system view" state. (Too much technical details here, but a multiple threads are not migrated -- see HOWTO [faqs.org] ).

Moreover, it would be slow because of obvious issues -- as in network based access to disk and shared memory!

Finally multiple GSX servers managed from a single point is already possible with VMWare virtual center (google this yourselves is left for an exercise).

Sorry, but your suggestion will not work (at least under current circumstances).

Re:Limitations? (1)

M1FCJ (586251) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634657)

Unfortunately OpenMosix (my favourite clustering kernel btw) is still stuck on Kernel 2.4. 2.6 is still on beta and userland tools don't exist yet. 2.6 has been around for ages so that's a shame.

Re:Limitations? (1)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634701)

So for what I want to do, is Xen still the best way to go? I'm really uninformed about all this and want to experiment in the future. Thanks.

Strange thing to say ... (4, Interesting)

cablepokerface (718716) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634282)

in the hope that customers who try it will eventually migrate to the more powerful ESX server

It's not only more powerful, it's fundamentally different. It's requires a different sort of administration. Also, the usage is different. gsx wil rarely be actively used in high uptime required production environments, esx will. esx also enables functionalities such als vmotion (if you have a san [wikipedia.org] that is) and will be used more often in blade server configs.

I really wonder if people will view esx as an 'upgrade' to gsx.

Why Not Use Patents? (3, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634283)

To play devils advocate here, why isn't VMWare resorting to patents to muscle out the competition? Why compete when a government monopoly can take care of competition for you?

Are all their patents pending?

Re:Why Not Use Patents? (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634494)

Yeah...I'm sure that'd work out for them. Keep in mind that it is obvious that they didn't invent the idea of a virtual machine (it was one of the very first ways of doing things).
What they have to fear is the new hardware based virtualizers.

What would the title be?

"PATENT FOR USING AN ARCHITECTURE THAT WE DIDN'T WRITE IN A WAY THAT IT WAS INTENDED TO BE USED" comes to mind.

You don't think that'd fly, do you?
You don't think that perhaps that AMD and Intel might have problems with that?

I guess they could brag about the clever things they did to make an all hardware based virtualizer. That doesn't really help, though, does it? After all, Xen (and whatever else comes along) don't handle those cases anyway; it's not where they are competing.

Re:Why Not Use Patents? (3, Funny)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634541)

VMWare is not in a good position to use patents to protect their IP.

The reason being that they actually have a product. This means they can be countersued for things like using a drop down menu, displaying a rectangle on a screen, ingenious stuff like that.

Why no free VMware Workstation? (2, Interesting)

Mark Gillespie (866733) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634292)

Seems that GSX Server does everything VMWare Workstation does, so why would anyone buy VMware Workstation, when GSX Server is free? Don't quite understand that bit...

Re:Why no free VMware Workstation? (2, Informative)

Real_Handy (946066) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634312)

Because GSX won't run on all of those XP machines? Server only (win2x and linux afaik).

Re:Why no free VMware Workstation? (1)

JeffTL (667728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634332)

It'll definitely run on Linux -- so if you can cope with a quick reboot to get at your virtualization software, VMware GSX can certainly run on an XP box.

Re:Why no free VMware Workstation? (1)

birder (61402) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634359)

GSX runs on Windows XP although I won't say it's perfect. I never got it to use the networking properly for multiple NICs and it had a few quirks but it did run.

Re:Why no free VMware Workstation? (1)

j-cloth (862412) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634376)

I'm currently running GSX on XP.

XP Compatible host (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634462)

Runs fine on XP and 2000 pro.

However, id do think the workstation edition will start getting things more useful as a 'desktop', such as accelerated graphics. While the server editions wont ever have that.. Different market.

Re:Why no free VMware Workstation? (1)

orion41us (707362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634334)

the Workstation is a application, you need the ui running for the virtual system to be up... GSX on the other hand runs the systems as services, and gives you a neat littile control panel.

Re:Why no free VMware Workstation? (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634478)

GSX on the other hand runs the systems as services, and gives you a neat littile control panel.

GSX also includes a vmware-console application that you use to connect to the GSX server to view your consoles. So yes, you technically could replace VMWare workstation on a Linux box with GSX server and probably be fine.

Re:Why no free VMware Workstation? (2, Insightful)

JustASlashDotGuy (905444) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634336)


Workstation is probably more widely used the GSX server. They are
different Animals. Even tho GSX server may end up being free, we may
install it to a single production server. However, we will also
continue buying Workstation for testing. There are several people with
Workstation installed to the laptops so they can create/run various
VM's. On my laptop alone, I hav about 8 VM's that I use for testing
(various OS, VPN softwares, script design, etc). I would never install
GSX to my laptop.

Re:Why no free VMware Workstation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14634423)

> I would never install GSX to my laptop.

why?

what is the difference between GSX and workstation?

i've tried to figure this out before, but penetrating the marketing speak on vmware's homepage is darn near impossible

Re:Why no free VMware Workstation? (2, Informative)

paradizelost (689394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634519)

Workstation provides for multiple snapshots that you can switch between, GSX only allows for 1 snapshot. you can take a snapshot, then revert to that snapshot, undoing everything you've just done. w/ workstatino, you can have 30 snapshots( at time's i've been almost to that point) and switch between them as you please.

Re:Why no free VMware Workstation? (1)

Mark Gillespie (866733) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634676)

How about creating images with GSX Server and then using VMWare Player to use the images? Does VMware player provide any snapshot swithing capabilities?

Wait a second.... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14634302)

Doesn't TFA say they are "expected" to make their product free?

expected != will

Re:Wait a second.... (1)

gurutc (613652) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634320)

I'm sure that at the very least it will be virtually free...

gsx is big brother of vmware workstation? (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634309)

If (big if) gsx server is made available royaltee free is it possible to create images that can be played back by the free vmplayer? Does it not make vmware professional (desktop) obsolete?

Sublime server names (1, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634310)

VMWare is going to give away its GSX server product for free, in the hope that customers who try it will eventually migrate to the more powerful ESX server...Intel Virtualization Technology--code-named Vanderpool and now emerging in server processors--accelerates some operations and makes it possible to run Windows on Xen without modifications to Windows that otherwise would be necessary.

I'm interested how the Intel Virtualization Technology will run on the up and coming SEX server.

IV Tech mixed with SEX? (1)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634681)

could potentially go on forever, eh? (apparently i'm just burning karma)

Speculation (2, Funny)

Simon (S2) (600188) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634313)

This is all news.com.com.com.com speculation. In TFA they state: "VMware may gain two advantages from the move..." blablabla "VMware didn't immediately respond to requests for comment."
So the title "VMware to Make Server Product Free (as in beer)" is misleading at best.

Re:Speculation (2, Informative)

NetJunkie (56134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634406)

It's not speculation. I've heard it from VMware people this week.

Re:Speculation (1)

Simon (S2) (600188) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634453)

It's not speculation. I've heard it from VMware people this week.


lol :)

Kinda Worries Me (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634314)

This sounds to me like VMWare is under a lot of pressure. I'd hate to see them go away, because we use VMWare Workstation for some pretty important stuff, and the license cost isn't that bad in the grand scheme of things anyways.

I was 5 days from buying a copy (1)

McGruff (37593) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634343)

I was literally 5 days away from buying a license to host a number of customer servers. This is a great product and closed source or not, I highly recommend it. The $2000 I was going to spend on it can now go to expanding the RAID array a bit. Now, how many terabytes fit into 2U? ;-P

      GXS really feels more robust than my experimentation with Xen 2.x and UML. It is still far and away better than MS Virtual Server, at least for the tasks I am planning on using it for. Unfortuanately for EMC and VMWare;
with Mircosoft to the left of you
and Open Source on the right,
Like Sun
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Apologies all around....

Re:I was 5 days from buying a copy (1)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634707)

Now, how many terabytes fit into 2U? ;-P
um, two? no seriously, not that many, why not just purchase an external hd cage, one of those 4u buggers and have loads more room for drives?

Virtualiazation isn't going to be . . . (2, Insightful)

base3 (539820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634348)

. . . of much commercial value for long, given that the model of computing is headed for a TCPA/Palladium/Remote attestation/Client assurance/DRM lockdown. Emulating "trusted" computing would defeat the whole purpose of the "content" and computing industries' march towards that model. That, and they'll buy laws making even attempting such emulation punishable by just short of death.

How about a version to run under OS X? (1, Interesting)

jocknerd (29758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634375)

I'm waiting for that.

Continued Devlopment? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634383)

I live and die by GSX, does this mean they will stop development of new versions, Leaving just Workstaion ( wont do the job for me ) and ESX ( too expensive to justify )?

Re:Continued Devlopment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14634652)

I live and die by GSX, does this mean they will stop development of new versions, Leaving just Workstaion ( wont do the job for me ) and ESX ( too expensive to justify )?

No, ESX server is a LOT nicer and more stable than GSX, but it's tailored for specific hardware requirements and higher end customers with SANs. For example, if you have a bunch of ESX servers on a SAN and use VirtualCenter's VMotion feature you can move the running machine between ESX servers (perhaps you want to take an ESX server down to upgrade it or for maintenance) without pausing it or shutting it down. That's a really nice feature in our production environment.

Related Stories? (3, Funny)

gmf (810466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634447)

What is it with this "Related Stories" thing? Is that new, or why did I never notice it before?

And most importantly: Will it also list the dupes? :)

Not GSX (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14634454)

The free product will be called VMware Server, not GSX. I am not sure if they will continue with GSX as a separate product, but I was under the impression that they will. I had initially heard about this here [theregister.co.uk] .

You can make your own VMs for VMware player (4, Informative)

soboroff (91667) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634492)

"The company recently released a free VMWare Player which could only run but not create virtual machines."

Sure you can. Take a gander at http://www.hackaday.com/entry/1234000153064739/ [hackaday.com]

What you don't get with VMware player is the nifty GUI to help you with the setup.

g(oat (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14634614)

What excellent timing. (1)

EvilNight (11001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14634655)

We're moving some of our development and most of our testing into VMs for the flexibility. We gave Microsoft Virtual PC a spin, but compared to VMWare it's pretty lacking in features, so we ended up going with VMWare Workstation. The advanced networking features, broad platform support, and snapshotting capability are huge wins for us. We had been planning to use Microsoft's Virtual PC Server product for collaborative development efforts because we get licenses with our MSDN subscriptions, whereas GSX was really damn pricey. Now, thanks to this rather canny offer of free GSX server, we won't even need to do that. This is most excellent.
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