It’s Official – Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 is FREE and Supports Linux
Today at the LinuxWorld conference in Boston, Microsoft announced, in spectacular fashion, that Virtual Server 2005 R2 will be FREE! They also announced that is will support the following flavors of Linux.
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 (update 6)
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 (update 6)
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4
- Novell’s SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9
- Red Hat Linux 7.3
- Red Hat Linux 9.0
- Novell’s SuSE Linux 9.2
- Novell’s SuSE Linux 9.3
- Novell’s SuSE Linux 10.0
This is more than a little interesting and my take is this: Microsoft is in competition with VMware, XEO, Virtual Iron and a slew of others and they are NOT winning, and in fact, are not even on the charts. A few months ago Microsoft announced they would be cutting the price on Virtual Server which made me think. How does Microsoft compete against other companies? First they cut the price and then integrate the software in their OS. This then puts other companies at a significant disadvantage, i.e. Netscape But, with Google we found that Microsoft was having a difficult time competing as they could not cut prices and then imbed. Google was already free and had market share and as a result they were forced to compete on a technical level. This means they have to offer a superior product and then convince customers to change, something that is very difficult to do.
This being said, I think VMware did the smart thing in-order to continue competing with Microsoft. They trumped their cut and business model by making their solution free and only charging for their high end products, support and service. This is huge!
Give this strategic move by VMware, Microsoft played the only card they had left and that was to make their virtualization product free! Ok, I must correct myself, they still have another card and that is to embed Virtual Server in to Longhorn so that an add-on product is not needed. However, for this to be successful they have to offer a better or at least a close to equal solution. If they do, all one has to remember is true type fonts or 3 rd party TCP/IP stacks. Not many of us do as we take them for granted as they are now just another part of the OS.
Today, the advantage is with VMware, but we will see how it all shakes out in the end. I’ve learned one thing in life and that is to not bet against Microsoft! (Oh, I learned one other, don’t mess with a pregnant lady J )