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It has long been thought that they hypervisor would be a commodity. This week that thought became a reality when VMware took the price of ESXi to zero. With ESXi for free and Hyper-V for only $28, I have heard the argument that it will be impossible make any money on a box that just got real cheap. But you must remember that the hypervisor is just the start and all the cool bells and whistles come at a higher price. There are multiple areas where virtualization becomes more expensive, so don’t believe the hype that this is going to be a free technology any time soon. The basics are free but that is the drug dealer model – give you the taste – you realize how great this stuff is – Now how to I manage this so i can keep getting it? As Scott Lowe over at says in a recent post My Take on Free ESXi:

This move makes ESXi the “gateway drug” (pardon the comparison) to full-blown VMware Infrastructure. Get the light stuff for free and get you hooked, then charge you for the heavy stuff.

This technology is amazing and is moving fast. These moves by VMware and Microsoft in the last month hope to speed up the adoption. Scott makes another great point about the mangement solutions:

you have to remember that VMware is only releasing ESXi for free. They’re not releasing VirtualCenter for free. You’ll still need VirtualCenter and VI3 Enterprise licenses in order to do stuff like VMotion, Storage VMotion, VMware DRS, VMware HA, VMware DPM, etc.

There is a ton of money that will be spent on management tools – not only VMware but Microsoft and other third parties that get products to market faster and in some cases better than the giants because they are nimble and hungry. This has been Microsoft’s game from the start. They have a massive install base and now they are giving you virtualization. They want you to have some System Center to go along with it – and the OS that sits on top of it. It is not about the basic infrastructure. As in all business where there is money to be made others will show up to the party. I would expect the aggressiveness of both companies to continue ramping up as September approaches with VMworld.