Everyone loves free virtualization tools. So if your roster of daily virtualization administration tasks includes virtual machine (VM) performance management, VM backup and recovery, and VM monitoring and reporting, it makes sense to find the best free virtualization tools available for the mission at hand.
But while it's easy to find free virtualization products it's difficult to find the best free virtualization software - not just "demo-ware," which isn't really useful. If you are like me, you want free virtualization tools that you can use for daily virtualization administration tasks --not just an "eval" of the full version.
To help sort the wheat from the chaff, this guide to the top free virtualization software lists the best tools and their capabilities and provides additional reviews of some of my favorite freeware.
In no particular order, here are some of my favorite top free virtualization tools:
- VMware vSphere ESXi Free Edition and VMware Go
- VMware vMA, vCLI (or command-line interface), PowerCLI, and scripts from the vGhetto script repository such as vSphereHealthCheck
- Veeam Monitor (free edition), FastSCP, and Business View
- Vizioncore Wastefinder, vConvert SC and Virtualization EcoShell
- SolarWinds' VM Monitor
- Trilead VM Explorer
- TripWire ConfigCheck
- ConfigureSoft/EMC Compliance Checker
- ESX Manager 2.3 from ESXGuide (ESX 3i and 4i are not supported)
- vKernel SearchMyVM, SnapshotMyVM, and Modeler
- Hyper9 GuessMyOS Plugin, Search Bar Plugin, and Virtualization Mobile Manager
- XtraVirt vAlarm and vLogView
- VMware vMA, vCLI, PowerCLI, and vSphere Health Check. Do you want to manage VMware vSphere infrastructure from the command line interface (CLI)? These tools help, and better yet, they are all free from VMware. To make using these CLI tools easy, there are lots of great forums and a ton of contributed scripts that can make life as a VMware admin easier.
- Veeam Monitor, FastSCP and Business View. Veeam Software has a track record of offering great free virtualization tools. Today, its most popular freeware is the free edition of Veeam Monitor (which monitors the performance of your vSphere infrastructure), FastSCP (to transfer files to and from your vSphere infrastructure), and Business View (which offers a business view of your IT resources in your vSphere infrastructure, including VMs by department and service-level agreement management). <
- Trilead VM Explorer. With the free Trilead VM Explorer, you can back up and restore VMware VMs from a nice graphical user interface, on your PC. It supports ESXi and ESX (both 3.x and 4.x) and has many other tools built in such as ESX-to-ESX copy, SSH (or Secure Shell) client and compressed backups.
David Davis is the director of infrastructure at TrainSignal.com -- the global leader in video training for IT pros. He has several certifications including vExpert, VMware Certified Profession (or VCP), CISSP, and CCIE #9369. Additionally, Davis has authored hundreds of articles and six video training courses at Train Signal, where one of the most popular course is the VMware vSphere 4 video training course. His website is VMwareVideos.com. You can follow Davis on Twitter or connect with him at David on LinkedIn.
This was first published in November 2009