I know this is a couple weeks old now, but to me it's huge and I think some people missed the importance of this announcement. Read below, ahhh  it's FREE!

Market Bulletin: Microsoft Announces New Price, and Availability of Linux Support, for Virtual Server 2005 R2

Starting today (April 3, 2006), Microsoft will make Virtual Server 2005 R2 available as a free download at www.microsoft.com/virtualserver. This policy applies to all users of Virtual Server 2005 R2, and it will apply to the forthcoming Service Pack 1 of Virtual Server 2005 R2. This price change makes it easier for customers and partners to cost effectively run Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition with Virtual Server 2005 R2 for server consolidation, application re-hosting, disaster recovery, and software test and development.

 

In addition, Microsoft announced the availability of virtual machine add-ins for Linux and technical product support model for Linux guest OSes running on Virtual Server 2005 R2.

 

The add-ins are available via free download, and will be supported for an initial set of nine Linux distributions listed below.  Microsoft has performed extensive interoperability testing with these distributions in the Virtual Server 2005 R2 platform.  Based on customer and partner input, we will consider additional operating systems and new releases of the Red Hat and Novell/SuSE distributions. 

 

Enterprise distributions:

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 (update 6)

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 (update 6)

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4

          Novell’s SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9

 

Standard distributions:

          Red Hat Linux 7.3

          Red Hat Linux 9.0

          Novell’s SuSE Linux 9.2

          Novell’s SuSE Linux 9.3

          Novell’s SuSE Linux 10.0

 

Resource management has always been part of the operating system, and over the years customers have been able to obtain this functionality as an integrated part of their operating system platform.  As Microsoft releases its Windows hypervisor technology in the Windows Server “Longhorn” wave, customers will be receiving the benefits of virtualization as part of the Windows Server operating system.  

 

Today’s price change makes it easier for customers to access and experience the benefits of virtualization technology with Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition, customers can run up to four virtual operating systems on one physical server at no additional cost. 

 

Today’s announcement enables customers to easily and cost-effectively run Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition with Virtual Server 2005 R2 for server consolidation, application re-hosting, disaster recovery, and software test and development.

 

Further details for the announcement today are available here:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/virtualserver/evaluation/news/bulletins/vs05pricing.mspx