VMware Go is used to manage the embedded ESXi 4.0 hypervisor, and it works by helping to initially set up the virtualization host server, automatically check for hardware compatibility, provide assistance with virtual machine creation, monitor virtual machines for basic performance and resource utilization, and scan and update virtual machines for patching from a central console.
The interesting twist here is that VMware Go is a hosted SaaS application that runs in the cloud and cannot be run locally on your network. In order to make the most of it, you'll need an Internet connection available to your physical and virtual environment. The solution was developed in partnership with Shavlik Technologies, a VMware Technology Alliance Partner who also helped VMware with its Update Manager patching solution. The data is stored in the cloud; specifically, it is stored in a fully managed, secure datacenter that is perhaps owned and operated by Shavlik.
Within the agreement to use VMware Go, VMware does state that they will analyze collective usage data from the system in order to better understand usage patterns and to improve VMware Go functionality going forward. However, they state that individual information will not be used or distributed for commercial purposes. This data will prove to be extremely valuable to VMware.
And for those of you keeping score at home, it may also prove interesting to know that VMware Go is currently dependent on Microsoft technology as it requires a Microsoft Windows operating system, Microsoft .Net Framework 3.5, and Microsoft Windows PowerShell to run.
While VMware Go is currently a free product, VMware is still getting a lot of value out of this release. By making ESXi easier to use and more manageable, VMware seeks to increase its market share with the SMB market and those organizations that aren't yet ready to plunk down large sums of money in order to virtualize. These companies can still provide VMware increased revenue over time if they choose to pay for additional support packages or by hopefully upgrading to vSphere 4.0 as they become more virtualization-savvy and interested in leveraging more sophisticated features such as vCenter, VMotion, disaster recovery, and fault tolerance. Again let's not forget the value of learning how the SMB market uses its virtualization platform with the data it will collect from VMware Go.