Free VMware Server 2.0 Now Release Candidate

With gobs of new features, this free package is close to being released as a final product.

VMware Server 2.0, a free virtualization platform formerly known as GSX Server, has hit the Release Candidate 1 mark.

This means the entry-level server virtualization product is almost ready for commercial release and users can download and put the RC1 version to work now.

There was an earlier Beta 2 of the software March.

VMware Server 2.0 RC 1, as the release candidate is known, has several new features, including the ability to back up Windows virtual machines (VMs) through inclusion of Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS).

VSS provides the backup infrastructure for the Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 operating systems. It also lets users create copies of data known as shadow copies, which are like snapshots at a particular point in time.

Another new feature is the Virtual Machine Communication Interface, which supports communications between VMs on the same host operating system, or between a VM and the host.

VMware Server RC 1 also has provisions for backup and storage, letting users connect SCSI devices such as tape backups to VMs and letting them add new SCSI hard disks and controllers to a VM while it's running.

Support for Firefox 3 as the management interface also has been added.

Finally, VMware Server RC 1 lets users access devices, such as CD-ROMs, that are not physically connected to the host, through VMware Remote Console.

Server 2.0 is scheduled for release to manufacturing this quarter.

VMware Server 2.0 differs from previous versions by having a management console that's entirely Web-based -- once it is installed on a host system, all administration is done through a browser.

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