Well, well, well, today was a good day for free virtualization software.Â Yep, both VMWare and Microsoft released free products, available for download as you read this.
VMWare’s product is of course the long-awaited VMWare Virtual Server.Â In response, Microsoft has released Virtual PC 2004 (w/SP1) as a free product, and announced that the upcoming 2007 version of the product would also be a no-cost release.
If you are looking to start leveraging virtualization, any of the current free products can get you in the door.Â And don’t think that either of these are low-feature, buggy software – actually, both products (including Msft’s Virtual Server 2005 R2) are class-leading packages.
Not sure which to use?Â Depends on what you want to do – if you simply want to run another copy of Windows on your PC, Virtual PC is your best bet.Â If you want to run Linux or need more options, then VMWare Virtual Server is your choice.Â If you need to run several Windows Server installs, MS Virtual Server 2005 R2 is the one you want.
Another note – VMWare hosts a number of free “virtual appliances” – that the community has created.Â All I’ve looked at run one version of Linux or another, and have Open Source applicaitons running on them.Â From a straitforward desktop Fedora or Suse install, to a LAMP platform, to a virtual PBX in the app “Asterisk“, you can find a number of useful, pre-built virtual systems.
‘Tis a good day to virtualize.