GSX Server is good for production. VMware has just to convince itself.

VMware always had a strange strategy for GSX Server. They pushed for years the idea GSX Server is something for companies more than professionals (so something more than Workstation), for its web management and API interface features, but much less than ESX Server.

If you look at this official comparison you’ll notice GSX Server underlined as department product (while ESX Server is defined a datacenter product) but VMware never tried to seriously sell it for anything but development and testing.

During years customers figured out and used to think GSX Server is where to try their virtual machines before hosting them on ESX Server. And in fact Microsoft Virtual Server 2005, which should really compete against GSX Server, is always compared against ESX Server, which is quite unresonable.
Even virtualization professionals are mainly skilled on ESX Server and don’t even consider GSX when approaching a new server consolidation product (just read the several thousands of messages on VMTN Forums).

To give further credibility to this way of thinking VMware is now revamping GSX Server, recalling simply Server and giving it for free. A move that can be interpreted in 2 ways:

  • GSX Server wasn’t that good so the best move is to give it away to enforce the complex VMware strategy
  • VMware is explicitly admitting GSX Server has been always aimed just to push ESX Server

Well, I can personally grant GSX Server has been ready for production environment since, at least, version 3.0: while heading a small consulting company (now no more involved in) I directed the complete server consolidation of a medium business company, working with VMware marketing department to create the first italian case study about GSX.
And I can grant that virtual environment, much more scaled up since the beginning, is still working perfectly since 2 years, never providing bad performances or faults or instability of any kind.

For this reason I completely agree on the Margie Semilof’s article VMware says GSX Server wasn’t fit for prime time. Says who? published on

It’s unquestionable ESX Server provides a better consolidation ratio and lower virtualization overhead. But saying GSX Server is good just for test and development is simply not true.