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VMware Go a Free Server Virtualization Option

Small to medium sized businesses don't have to pay a lot for good hypervisors and virtualization tools these days.  Free tools like Microsoft's Hyper-V, Red Hat's KVM, and Citrix's XenServer are popular with small to medium IT departments.  In an effort to compete with these free tools, VMware just released VMware Go, a free service for managing the VMware ESXi embedded hypervisors (including ESX Server 3i, ESXi 3.5, and ESXi 4.0), which are also free.  After the beta testing period, which started last summer and included over 1,000 testers, SMBs now have
another option for cheaply running multiple operating systems and applications on a single server.

VMware Go is not a product, but rather a service through the web.  Go simplifies virtualization in a three step process.  First, users set up an initial ESXi server through a web browser and a setup wizard.  It runs a built-in hardware compatibility check that automates the process of selecting physical server environments.  Step two is virtual machine creation.  For this step users can start with a fresh virtual machine, leverage existing physical server configuration, or install a prebuilt virtual appliance.  The final and ongoing step is to use the central management interface, which simplifies virtual machine management.  The interface allows users to monitor virtual machines' performance and resource utilization.  Users can also scan and update the VMs through the console.  VMware Go is actually hosted by  Shavlik Technologies, not VMware.

The setup for VMware Go, combined with an embedded hypervisor, allows virtual machine setup in just a few clicks.  For more sophisticated features like VirtualSMP, VMotion, and disaster recovery, users will have to purchase the ESX Server 4.0 hypervisor.  With the large pool of potential SMB customers who might give Go a try, VMware is poised to gain more commercial contracts from companies that use Go and want ESXi support.  Some might also wish to move their VMs to the vSphere 4.0 stack.

A video explaining the benefits of VMware Go can be found here.

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