VMware Saw the Threat, Releases Open Source Virtualization Client
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VMware Saw the Threat, Releases Open Source Virtualization Client
by Sam Dean - Feb. 03, 2009Comments (9)
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Last year, following a crash in its share price and the replacement of its CEO with a seasoned Microsoft executive, I wrote about the perils that virtualization titan VMware faces. The problems come from two trends: 1) open source virtualization offerings; and 2) free virtualization within operating systems. From the free virtualization project Xen to the virtualization that Microsoft, Sun, Red Hat and others offer in operating systems,VMware's proprietary strategy looked mighty shaky. Today, VMware made what I consider the shrewdest move it could: launching an open source client for virtual desktops.The CEO replacement who entered VMware last year was Paul Maritz, a long-time Microsoft executive with intimate familiarity with how Windows swallowed up entire categories of utility software as it grew up, by simply wrapping free utilities into the operating system. Paul knows about that, and he had to have seen last year the dual threats to VMware of open source virtualization offerings and virtualization on board in operating systems.The VMware View Open Client allows businesses to host virtualized desktops in the data center, and users can access their desktops from any device. Going with an open source solution like this was VMware's only choice, especially as Microsoft includes Hyper-V virtualization in Windows Server. I'm sure Maritz was very focused on the Microsoft threat, because he used to be behind similar threats. VMware can grab market share with this move, stave off Microsoft dominance, and offer support and services around its open source offering. The company will also get substantial good PR from the decision.You can get VMware View Open Client here, licensed under the Lesser GPL. It's essentially a bet that customized user desktops are hosted in data centers, and that businesses will take to the idea that they can save money by centralizing custom solutions in data centers for desktop users to take advantage of through virtualization.I agree with Dana Blankenhorn that this could cause a big shakeup in the software world. "Imagine what the PC world would be like if enterprises are able to slow purchases regardless of head count," he writes. "Imagine what Microsoft revenues might look like in that world." Indeed. 
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9 Comments
 
by OssFoss on Feb. 03, 2009Sam, I remember reading this a few times on Ostatic, and while hopeful, I never thought it would happen. Congratulations on sticking with this and looks like VMWare finally sees things your way! Kudos!
0 Votes
by Jack G on Feb. 03, 2009I disagree with Dana here because you still need to buy licenses for things like the Operating System in the hosted machine. So, Microsoft will still get license revenues. What Microsoft is hoping is that the default OS to host the virtual machines will also be managed through Virtual Center.
0 Votes
by Ben on Feb. 04, 2009Uhm - I might not get it here. What's the news, really? VMware opens only the _client_ application, right? So you still pay for the proprietary server, starting at about $2500 USD or something? They provided a utility/client for their product. Okay, I _do_ like open source but there's nothing "shrewd" about this move in my world. It's not even suprising. And doesn't help VMware compete with other offerings in my book. They provided nothing new of value, nothing to set them (further) apart from the list of competitors (although I would argue that they have the best product for server virtualization so far).
0 Votes
by an anonymous user on Feb. 04, 2009Can one load balance these virtual servers?
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by Ryan on Feb. 04, 2009So the client software, binaries of which are already provided free for windows, is now being open sourced. Thats funny. The last time i needed to run the client software I setup a windows virtual machine in vbox and installed the windows binary there...
I assume VMWare still charges upwards of $40k for an enterprise server license?
0 Votes
by DC on Feb. 04, 2009great idea adding ALSA to the box. i assume that the greatest threat was Sun's Sunbox since it only weights 30Mb. I think it's a great decision to use LGPL and crowdsource the virtualization market the open way since the deregulation in the industry will need creativity to success, and creativity is based on freedom, and freedom is LGPL.
One probable succes is on Freebsd since the client is old and messy and now probably will be enhanced by fans, then to package virtualizing freebsds, the most solid standard for PC based processors.
0 Votes
by Ryan on Feb. 04, 2009So the client software, binaries of which are already provided free for windows, is now being open sourced. Thats funny. The last time i needed to run the client software I setup a windows virtual machine in vbox and installed the windows binary there...
I assume VMWare still charges upwards of $40k for an enterprise server license?
0 Votes
by Fernando Cassia on Feb. 05, 2009Too little, too late. Everyone has moved off to Sun's Virtualbox which has been fully GPL open source for quite some time.
I also find it odd that in the whole article there's no mention of VirtualBox :-)
http://www.virtualbox.org
Does Win7 just fine, and even 64 bit guests on 32-bit hosts.
0 Votes
by John Ruschmeyer on Feb. 05, 2009What I find funny is that while VMware is finally paying attention to the free alternatives, Parallels (who has neglected their Win/Lin users for so long that it's laughable) seems to be blindly ignoring even the percievied threat.
0 Votes
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