VMware To Launch ESX3, VirtualCenter 2 In June


Sources close to the Palo Alto, Calif., virtualization giant said VMware plans to offer aggressive pricing on its ESX Server 3 and launch a new per-user pricing model, in part to monetize its increasingly popular enterprise hosted desktop model.

They said VMware plans to disclose pricing to premier partners over the next two weeks.

“Now, they license ESX in bundles for two-way, four-way, eight-way systems and lade packs, but they’re going to offer hosted desktop [and] charge per user [rather] than per [CPU] core,” said one source who requested anonymity.

Customers can deploy virtual desktops from ESX Server 3 directly. In a call with partners last week, VMware, a subsidiary of EMC, said it will push its enterprise hosted desktop model more aggressively against Citrix Systems.

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VMware’s price per desktop is expected to be about $200 per user.

Partners say VMware will formally announce availability of the VMware platform during the first week of June but it may not be broadly available in the channel until July or August.

Sources said VMware is meeting with a handful of top partners for an advisory council early next week and is briefing its mainstream VIP resellers and consultants over the next two weeks to prepare them for the launch.

The last major upgrades, ESX Server 2.5 and VirtualCenter 1.2, shipped in December 2004. VMware announced limited availability of ESX Server 3 and VirtualCenter 2 into beta testing in October 2005.

VMware also is expected to announce a price cut for ESX Server 3, but it may not reduce overall costs for the combined platform since VirtualCenter 2’s advanced and sought-after services, Distributed Availability Service and Distributed Resource Scheduling, will be add-ons and priced separately from the overall platform price, sources said.

Another partner contacted by CRN said he expects the release of ESX Server 3 and VirtualCenter 2 will stimulate strong growth for his virtualization practice later this year.

“It’s going to be very significant,” said Mitch Northcutt, CEO of RapidApp, a Chicago-based VMware partner. “One of the things that happened when VMware announced [ESX Server] 3 at the end of last year is it slowed adoption because people want the new functionality. We anticipate we’ll be doing a lot more deployment during the fourth quarter than we have first two quarters of this year because of that,” he said.