VMWare and Virtual Server

For ages now, I’ve been wanting to switch from Microsoft’s Virtual Server 2005 (mvs2k5) to VMWare Server.

Why? Well, at first I started off with a few production Windows Servers (Exchange, Development for clients and a few Windows XP machines to connect to customer’s VPN’s) and this worked beautifully well on mvs2k5. Using Microsoft’s recommendations of using fixed sized vhd’s and “virtual” SCSI adapters, things were just looking spectacular.

However, with the latest version of mvs2k5, i couldn’t get Fedora 7, Slackware 12, or Ubuntu 7.04 to install on mvs2k5 despite Microsoft saying they added Linux support. This is my problem. I need to be able to test Linux and other open source technologies without busting open real hardware.

Thus, VMWare is my only real hope, since it supports Windows stuff, and Linux stuff, and VMWare’s technology works differently. For a start, each of the virtual machines runs in its own process space, so you can kind of see where the memory and cpu utilization is going – which you can’t with mvs2k5.
So, i decided that my Dual Core 3.4Ghz machine with 4gb of RAM shouldn’t be wasted just for Windows Virtual machines, and started my quest in converting everything to VMWare.

Not so good. The conversions for my current Windows machines have problems. If you have WPA Activated virtual machines, you’d have to re-activate – which I’m ok with if everything worked out fine But it didn’t. It’s a painfully slow process. I also couldn’t get the VMWare tools to work right on these converted machines. My first machine i converted (my development machine that i use constantly), worked fine – if a bit sluggish – in Remote Desktop mode, but over the VM Console, I couldn’t get my mouse to work, and it was really slow. If I wasn’t so obsessed with stuff working right, this would be ok. But i need things to work right so I can be sure that the machines environment is safe.

So for this reason, my rule (for now) will be let Windows Virtual machines, built on mvs2k5, stay on that platform till its life cycle ends. I’ll just have to bite the bullet and use two physical machines for now. I’ve desperately needed Linux virtual machines to test out my latest version of TNMailserver in which my project is getting sadly old without updates.

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