There has been a rumour that VMware circulating that are going to move to a per VM Guest licensing model rather than the traditional Host based licenses. Well it looks like the first move to this has been taken
VMware has just announced the End of Availability but not End of Life (EOL) for some of its pre-vSphere ESX products (Announcing End of Availability), specifically all but the latest releases of ESX 3.x and vCenter 2.x however, it has dropped availability for the ESX 2.x products completely.
Just as Milton Friedman (the Nobel prize winning economist) once said “There is no such thing as a free lunch”, there is also no such thing as free software. The minimum cost of a supposedly free piece of software is the opportunity cost of your time spent using it, and the forgone value of that time spent doing something else. Therefore neither Microsoft Hyper-V, nor VMware ESXi are really free.
VMware has recently released the results of a new study that VMware did of 309 companies that have between 20 and 1000 employees. The two major benefits of virtualization reported by the survey participants were reduced time spent on routine and repetitive tasks, and improved applications availability. 73% of respondents reported reductions in time spent on routine tasks, and 71% reported improvements in applications availability.
Citrix has recently joined the Linux Foundation, and there is a report (which they seem to have endorsed) that they plan to open source XenServer. That’s not Xen, it’s XenServer – not the kernel, the product, the thing you stick on your server instead of ESXi, or sometimes vSphere.
It is entirely possible that Citrix’s lawyers have noticed that XenServer was so infected with GPL code that it was already Open Source anyway.
In trying to re-use some old server hardware I re-vsisted VirtualBox/Ubuntu, a viable and completely free Open Source option for non-virtualization-enabled hardware. It is a neat solution, simple and well-supported, but the open source version of VirtualBox is nobbled to make it extremely awkward to use, in a different way to VMware’s nobbling of the non-Open Source (but also free) ESXi.
Now is the time, for Oracle/Sun to put all the features of VirtualBox into the Open Source version, and let it live on, perhaps not for use on Linux servers, but as free virtualization platform for other operating systems on Windows. If Apple ever loosens up the licencing on MacOS, it could turn 15 million PCs into Macs – overnight.