Best choice for virtualization on a budget

Visualization and cloud is the buzz word for office level optimization of server resources. For those companies who manage their own servers on premises, cost factor for moving to a visualized setup is a important point for concern. Fortunately all the three top products have a free version for SOHO or companies on a tight budget, and the third one is opensource.

If you want to use a free version of an enterprise level virtualisation software, we have three primary choices. All three of them are server level barebones OS type solution which will be directly installed on your server hardware.

VMware vSphere Hypervisor Free

VMware continues to retain the top position as far as features and usability is concerned. Version is updated regularly and stability is rock solid. That includes support for servers of most manufacturers.

Download the free version of vSphere Hypervisor from the following link

You will need the following to use VMware vSphere Hypervisor

  1. VMware vSphere Hypervisor in the form of ESXi ISO image (Includes VMware Tools)
  2. VMware vSphere Client in exe file
  3. License key for vSphere Hypervisor to allow unlimited usage
  4. Account with VMware

vmware vsphere

vSphere Hypervisor is downloaded in the form of ISO file. This file has to be burnt on a disc to make the disk bootable. It has to be burnt as a disk image. Once ready the disk is inserted in a drive and the BIOS settings have to be set to boot from disk. Next the installation process begins and is pretty straight forward and the main setting which you need to give is the root password and server or host IP address. This is essential because once you finish installation, configuration and subsequent management is from a remote client PC on the local network.

From the client end you can access the server using the server or host IP address which has to be entered in the Web Browser. You can also use VMware vSphere Client on the client PC, but the web browser should be able to address all your needs.

Microsoft Hyper V Server 2012 Free

The free solution by Microsoft also enables one to create virtual machines on a bare bones system loaded with Microsoft Hyper V server 2012. The ISO file can be downloaded from the following link

Please note that you will need a Microsoft Account to download the ISO file. Once you download the ISO file, burn the image on a disk as a disk image and then boot it on your server and follow the installation steps.

Once installed, you set the network parameters and then you are good to go on the client PC anywhere on the LAN.

Citrix Zen Server

The only open source solution out of the three which is solid and stable at enterprise level. The package is available in a pair of server bare bones OS and client application. The bare bones is an ISO file which can be downloaded from the following URL

Note that the client software also needs to be downloaded and installed in one of the client PCs to configure the server. Bare bones server software is an OS which needs to be installed on a disk as a bootable disk. Once the server is installed, it can be configured from the client.


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