VMWare and Microsoft aim to bring the benefits of virtualization to more small to medium sized businesses.
At VMWorld 2009 this week, VMWare introduced a web service called Go that is designed to simplify the configuration and installation of ESXi, the company's hypervisor, which is also free.
The VMware Go service -- developed with partner Shavlik Technologies -- officially went into beta testing this week and is expected to be launched to the general market next year.
"VMware ESXi together with VMware Go is an on-ramp for companies new to virtualization, especially small businesses who may not think they have the time or budget to get started," the VMware press release stated. Both the service and hypervisor are free.
Microsoft has a presence at the conference but as a direct rival to VMware was not allowed to publicly pitch its virtualization products, namely its recently introduced Hyper V Server 2008 R2.
Nevertheless, the Redmond, Wash software giant quietly launched a "special virtualization/management software and service package specifically targeted at midmarket customers."
Microsoft defines midsized companies as those with between 50 and 249 computers and five to 30 servers.
The offering -- a new license called Microsoft System Center Essentials Management Suite - is delivered with OEM partners Fujitsu and Lenovo.
The suite includes System Center Essential 2007 and the company's virtual machine manager 2008. Perhaps most significantly, the license comes with a technology upgrade that gives customers who buy the suite the rights to the next generation to Microsoft System Center Essentials 2010 next year. So it's essentially a two-for-one deal that results in a savings of close to 40 percent, Microsoft claims.