Good old VMWare has come a long way from the days when it used to run under a Guest Operating System (normally Windows or Linux) and allowed you to create a Virtual Machine with it’s own independent OS and footprint in a self contained virtual instance on your Desktop PC. Originally the VMWare product was a purchasable item, but VMWare released it for free at about the same time as Microsoft released their Virtual PC offering (also gratis).
VMWare ESXi Server probably grew out of the Linux based implementations of VMWare Server, (but don’t quote me on that), ESXi Server is now also available for free, and is absolutely fantastic for Geeks like me who love to dabble! The “Grown Up” and licensed version of EXSi Server is that which enterprises use to operate their “Virtual Infrastructure”, but of course the free version doesn’t support all the whistles and bells including Clustering, or the ability to “migrate” servers from real to Virtual, or to move them about while actually “live” etc.
You can download it from http://www.vmware.com/go/getesxi/
It’ll be a bootable CD .ISO image so you’ll need to burn it to disk with Nero or some such, and that will give you a CD that will allow the installation of the bespoke VMWare Hypervisor OS which is predictably enough based on Linux. This is great because it takes much of the headache and bloat out of running it under a Guest OS, and once up and running will allow you to connect to the server using a Web Browser to download the management tools that will facilitate the creation and maintenance of the virtual machines.
I’m not going to harp on any longer, the main purpose of this post was to tell you that you could download EXSi for free! yes, that means a free full uncrippled version of the basic product for you to use or abuse more or less as you choose!
What you do afterwards is up to you! 🙂