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I need to give my developer access to setup a web server on my machine, rather than interfere with my environment I would like to offer him a virtual server. What software (free) can I use to do this? e.g. would do the job? Thanks

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

VirtualBox, Microsoft's VirtualPC, and VMware Server are all free tools that you can use to do this. (Note that VMware Server is not the same as VMware ESX. ESX is an expensive enterprise product, where VMware Server is a free product.)

They're all pretty straightforward.

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ESXi is a free bare-metal hypervisor. The difference between ESX and ESXi is that ESX comes with support and additional management modules/etc. for things like failover, backup, etc. while ESXi will create a standalone virtualization server. – Bart Silverstrim Sep 8 '10 at 12:09
Thanks - what the easiest to setup, my requirements are not that complex? – Ravi Sep 8 '10 at 12:12
@Ravi I've been working in enterprise virtualization for some time, so they all seem fairly easy to me. I would say that VirtualPC is probably the easiest, followed by VirtualBox, and VMware Server the least. If you want to keep the VM running when you're not logged in, use VMware Server. If you have a spare server handy, you could use ESXi like @Bart said, but you need to know what you're doing. If you're fine with running it from your desktop, VirtualPC and VirtualBox will be fine. – gWaldo Sep 8 '10 at 12:21
@Bart ESXi is free, but requires it's own hardware. And isn't exactly user-friendly. – gWaldo Sep 8 '10 at 12:21
@gWaldo-Yes, it does need it's own hardware, that's kind of implied by "bare metal hypervisor" :-) – Bart Silverstrim Sep 8 '10 at 12:37

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