There has been quite a bit of interesting chatter and a whole lot of speculation within the VMware community lately about the future and viability of its free VMware Server product. VMware does seem focused on the vSphere product and how it ultimately relates to cloud computing, but have they turned a blind eye to VMware Server?
People are curious. So answers are needed. The first question, is VMware Server being discontinued? Second, is VMware even still remotely interested in advancing this Type-2 or hosted virtualization platform? And finally, why do end-users care? Isn't this old technology? Why not just upgrade to vSphere?
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The VMware Server virtualization platform has been in existence for nearly a decade and really does have quite an interesting history. Even though vSphere is the current champion with VMware and its users, Server still has a strong fan base.
VMware Server has been the little brother to VMware ESX Server ever since the two platforms first hit the streets as 1.0 products back in 2001. Originally called VMware GSX Server (where GSX is said to have stood for Ground Storm thanks to its supposed hippie beginnings), this product looked more like its desktop cousin, VMware Workstation, than it did its older brother ESX Server (also said to have stood for Electric Sky -- I'm not making this stuff up) because it was a Type-2 or hosted virtualization platform, meaning that it was installed and operated on top of a host operating system rather than being directly installed on the bare-metal of the server itself.
As the product matured, it seemed to take on the role of a proving ground for both VMware and its customers. VMware could use Server as a test bed to try out new features and functionalities before rolling them out for its more enterprise offering with ESX. From a consumer perspective, Server was a cheaper (and later a free) alternative for getting into the virtualization game. And once virtualized with Server, it was a fairly easy migration path to upgrade to the more enterprise-ready ESX Server product line down the road.