Monday, February 27, 2006

Did somebody ask for a CHALLENGE????

No iPods, or free licenses, or t-shirts, or whatever, folks. Make a super-neat virtual machine to run in VMware Player and win stacks and stacks of cold, hard cash. Use your imagination here: what does the world need? What problems have you encountered that could have been better solved with the use of a pre-fabricated VM? Maybe you want to use multiple snapshots to cheat at Zork? The sky's the limit.

I'm kind of blown away at the generosity of the terms of this contest. First prize is $100k! Those are US dollars, folks. We're good for it. There are also various category prizes (e.g., best consumer VM, best developer VM, best VM submitted by a full-time student, etc.) If VMware employees weren't inelligible, I'd totally be taking a few days "sick" to make the ultimate multi-boot AtheOS/OpenStep VM extravaganza...

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Microsoft behind the 64-bit virtualization 8-ball

When my "vmware VT" google alert fired for this story, I exercised a rare bit of journalistic skepticism and didn't post right away. After all, it's basically some guy claiming he spoke to some unnamed guy at our esteemed competitor. This seems a somewhat flimsy basis for concluding that the coming version of Microsoft Virtual Server won't be supporting 64-bit guests. Especially given that English is obviously not the author's first language, the potential for misunderstanding was just too great for any premature showboating. The truth will out itself in time; better for now to maintain a calm, statesmanlike reserve.

Well, after picking through some WinHEC slides, all I've got to say is nyah nyah nyah!!!! It looks as though the MS Virtual Server folks haven't quite managed to square the 64-bit virtualization circle in time for the next release of Virtual Server. Let's see: we have a NaN% price disadvantage when compared with VMware Server, no SMP, and no 64-bit guests. All that leaves Microsoft with is the ability to vaguely hint at the coming hypervisor-based nirvana of Vista nee Longhorn. But in the meantime, why not use VMware VMs? Even if every syllable MS utters about its coming hypervisor is an understatement, common sense suggests they'll try to make it easy to move VMware VMs into the new environment, so what's the risk in choosing a solution that is cheaper, better, and existent?

For extra added irony, check out Microsoft trying real, real hard to make it sound like they're leading the way with all this Buck Rogers Virtumization Technology! OK, OK, in fairness, this is actually a pretty good whiteboard talk. Much of what my Microsoft colleague says is applicable to VMware's VMM as well; it's a good introduction for those curious about the nitty gritty details of running unmodified x86 operating systems. We don't binary patch the windows kernel, though.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

VMware Server beans spilled

We're going to be giving away a server product, to help keep our free desktop product company. This has been covered and talked to death elsewhere; I could blather on about the business strategy behind it, but it's mostly self-explanatory. VMware is still selling ESX Server, and we're betting that the free taste of virtualization goodness will get customers excited enough to start signing POs for our pricier offerings. We'll be selling support for the free products, too.

Perhaps the only widespread misconception I've seen so far is that the existence of both Player and Server as free products means that Workstation is doomed as a for-pay product. It's not necessarily so. While it was true for some earlier releases that Workstation was a strict subset of the GSX product (which is now the free "Server" product), Workstation 5 introduced some features that were not available with GSX. E.g., Workstation lets you organize groups of related VMs into "teams" that power on and off together, share network segments with loss rate and bandwidth properties, etc. There's also a more rich set of abilities for making clones, i.e., copies of the VM, in either a heavyweight ("full clones") or lightweight ("linked clones") mode. So, it's not an absurdity to continue charging for Workstation, even given the sudden availability of other hosted VMware products for free. I'm not saying that we certainly will continue charging for WS, nor that we necessarily won't, don't believe everything you read, there's no Easter Bunny, I don't speak for VMware, and consult a physician before starting any exercise program.