Dell to give VMware ESX Server 3i for free?

Not only Dell is going to sell virtualization-ready solutions (hardware + VMware ESX Server 3i) in one click, but it seems that the OEM vendor is going to give ESX Server 3i for free.

As last article of the week The Inquirer reports the words of Martin Niemer, Senior Product Marketing Manager at VMware, which says that Dell will not charge anything for the hypervisor.

If confirmed this decision will have a serious impact on the sales channel.

On one side other OEMs that have a distribution agreement with VMware (HP, IBM, Fujitsu and other) will be almost obliged to do the same to not give Dell any competitive advantage.

On the other side the VMware distributors and resellers will see their chances to sell ESX Server in the SMB market fall down near to zero.

It was expected that over the next few years VMware would lower the price of its hypervisor to compete with Microsoft aggressive strategy (the upcoming Hyper-V will cost $28) but it certainly wasn’t expected so early.

Is this the beginning of the free hypervisors era?