Feb 6th, 2006 | Miscellaneous, Programming, Software
As many of you know, VMware has released VMware Server for FREE! I think it is an excellent strategy for VMware. VMware Workstation is already a favorite of most leading edge developers, and this move has a good chance of cementing VMware Server into developer’s psyche as well! Many of my loyal blog readers know that, even though I founded and run1 a .NET component and tools reseller at Xtras.Net, I am a huge proponent of infrastructure and middleware software needing to be open source or at least free.
I commend VMware for embracing the competitive challenge of Microsoft and open-source moving into their backyard and offering the GSX Server for free. This will almost certainly help VMware establish their virtual images as the defacto standard for VMs as Adobe did their PDFs for digitized documents. With VMware Server becoming free, software vendors will now be able to deliver complete server-based solutions as virtual images that will require almost not configuration to bring online. Hosting companies can start offering Virtual Machine hosting where you upload your VMs (but this will ideally need some excellent differencing software to cut down on huge upload times.) Installation vendors can start adding VM deployment to their feature list. And I’m sure there are hundreds of other things this will enable that I haven’t even concieved of!
Of course this will put huge competitve pressure on Microsoft with it’s Virtual Server, and has a chance of rendering the open source Xen project still-borne. I’m not sure how I would suggest Xen counter this move, but if I were Microsoft I would be releasing so fast as to make the industry pundits head’s spin a Windows 2003 Server Option Pack for free that included Microsoft Virtual Server. I’d even go so far as to release a free Windows XP Option Pack that included Virtual PC too. Minimally they need to roll it into the next major version of Windows Server. Given VMware’s stronger market position in this type of software, the fact they VMware offered theirs for free first, and the fact EMC is no startup and can hold it’s own with Microsoft, I doubt Microsoft would run afoul of anti-trust regulations for offering their Virtual Server/Virtual PC duo for free. If Microsoft does do this it will create a three-way competition for freely deployable VM server software and the likely competition should benefit everyone.
Now if VMware would just create some rational pricing options for VMware ESX Server instead of charging a minimum suggested retail price of $3750 for a 2CPU system!!! I’m thinking they will do much better if they allow their pricing to scale down as low as $199 for a version that supports 1CPU and 2Gb RAM. As is, a company will have to be able to gain some serious benefit from VM before they can even consider upgrading to ESX Server. But with the former GSX Server going free, maybe it’s in the cards.
P.S. It would also be great to see them create a lesser expensive VMware Workstation to encourage more people to try it out too.
1 UPDATE: As of May 18th, 2006, I am no longer run Xtras.Net nor did I retain any association with Xtras.Net.
Nov 9th, 2005 | Miscellaneous, Software, Web
I’ve been using FolderShare for a few months now and love it. But I just heard that Microsoft bought it and that it is now free. Cool!
If you normally work on a desktop but need a laptop for travel, FolderShare is a "must have.’ If you need to share files with people who are not in the same location (or even if they there is network with shared rights), it works like a charm. It’s also great for making backups on another machine in case your hard drive crashes (but like mirrored hard disks, it’s not great for protectings files against viruses, etc.)
Anyway, I need to add some people to my "Professional" account but now that it’s free I can’t figure out how. Or maybe it doesn’t even matter anymore?
The other thing I want to know is, what’s the max number of users that can share a folder? If anyone knows, I’d love to find out…
Nov 7th, 2005 | Opinion, Web
Microsoft Still Doesn’t Get It. I just read the article on C/Net News.com entitled Microsoft pitches Web tools to hosting companies. I saw this and got excited:
An update to its Web hosting program is designed to make the combination of Microsoft server products more attractive to hosting companies, which often use Linux and other open-source components, Microsoft executives said.
Then I read a bit further to find out exactly what the new deal will be and found:
The company will give Web hosting companies a free 30-day trial period to use Visual Web Developer 2005 Express, a new product in Microsoft’s Visual Studio product line. The product is aimed at boosting use of Microsoft tools by individuals and small companies. The program and the licenses associated with using its software will allow hosting companies to try Microsoft-based products with little or no up-front costs, Nandi said.
Microsoft just doesn’t get it!!! A 30 day free trial in this age-of-plenty is useless and will not entice anyone who wasn’t already seriously considering. Conversely, Linux and the open source components don’t cost web hosters a dime1. EVER!
If Microsoft really wants to make inroads into the web hosting market, here is what they need to do:
Offer a Window’s Hosting Kit for $295 that offers unlimited licenses for Windows Server 2003, Web Edition.
Offer Visual Web Developer for FREE for everyone forever, but ensure a migration path to Visual Studio 2005.
- Offer an optional annual paid support agreement for web hosters mirroring similar to those offered by Red Hat and others.
- Over time build into Visual Web Developer access to fee-based web services from Microsoft’s new Live initiative.
- Finally empower Hosters to make more money from their customers by adding more value for their customers. This might be by letting hosters who offer Windows hosting to federal the Live services and take a cut off the top.
This last one is a key critical piece that’s missing in Microsoft’s approach to dealing with web hosters. Microsoft knows how to get it’s Solution Providers and Resellers motivated by helping them make more money, but they still haven’t figured out how to motivate web hosters.
The irony is it boils down to one thing: Empower them to make more money!
1 Ignoring optional support fees, of course.