Quite a puzzling one here. Something I’ve been looking into quite a bit recently is server virtualisation, to the point of planning to upgrade my current desktop in order to free a nice XP2800+ to form the basis of a new test server. So Microsoft’s decision to release their Virtual Server 2005 R2 for free is quite interesting.
It’s clearly laid out to be a move to put the halt on people’s uptake with VMWare, and Microsoft probably realise they just don’t carry much weight in the virtualisation market. Xen is what I’ve been looking at running (no prizes for guessing why) in order to power various virtual Linux servers, but to make things even more interesting, Microsoft is actually going to officially support various Linux distros. Admitedly, it’s limiting itself to Red Hat and Novell SuSE, but still a fairly bold move – though I can’t quite my head around supporting Red Hat 7.3! Wonder where they’re getting the techies from too!
Am not convinced it will tempt potential customers away though. Those looking for serious stability + support will still pull out the money and plump for VMWare. For those looking at the possibilities of virtualisation, I think they’d go for Xen (although it’s steep learning curve for those coming from Windows-based environments might be off-putting). In the middle are folks like me who will probably give it a go (hey, it’s free, so why not!) in order to dabble with it before deciding on either VMWare of Xen.
It’s still nice to see Microsoft opening up to new ideas and realising it may not all be about money-down to gain a following, and also giving something back to all those customers with no new toys to play with this year due to a couple of little launch dates being put back 😉