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February 28, 2006

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We use the client version a lot here for testing. We package and roll out several software and OS packages over the course of a year and VM lets us test them on an OS real quickly. If the package doesn't work, then we can be back to the base image in just a few minutes to test the next version of the package.
dj

I would be interested to hear what you find out about licensing on these virtual machine. I would assume that each VM is considered another machine by licensing standards. Given microsoft's track record of trying to get every dime out of clever solutions like these (and things like multi-core processors) it wouldn't surprise me.

http://www.computerworld.com/softwaretopics/os/windows/story/0,10801,105271p2,00.html
"Another tweak being announced by Microsoft will let users run up to four virtual instances of the upcoming "R2" Enterprise Edition of Windows Server 2003 on one physical server for the cost of a single instance. If they use Virtual Server or VMware's GSX software, the R2 host operating system is included as well, Adam said. "

Charity pricing for 2003 Enterprise R2 is $542 ... whereas 2003 Standard is $162.

You should look into what is happening on the processor based virtualization. Speeds things up quite a bit when the processor can do it instead of a software app sitting on top of a server base.

http://www.intel.com/business/bss/products/server/virtualization.htm

We're using Xen at my workplace (not my church). It's supposed to be much faster than VMWare, but only virtualizes certain operating systems (i.e. not Windows). With the new Intel hardware virtualization technology, it will be able to virtualize pretty much any OS.

VMWare has been around a lot longer so is probably a much more polished solution, but Xen is using a technique that supposedly get's much nearer to native hardware level performance.

A co-worker uses VMWare on his Linux box to run Windows for the occasional use of Windows software. It works great.

Xen may also have been a big cause of VMWare making free versions. Xen is Open Source and free - though you can buy support and additional commercial tools from the company that makes it.

My co-worker just corrected me. He says that VMWare has a technology called ESX that competes favorably with Xen performance-wise.

Microsoft's Virtual Server 2005 R2, while not free, is super cheap at $99 ($35 Charity). MS also has free tools to migrate an existing server install to a VM. VMWare charges extra for that option.

The migration utilities, cheap price, production release availibility, and the hope that MS on MS will have a higher chance of issue resolution has us leaning toward VS 2005. I can just see VMWare and MS pointing the finger at each other during a support incident.

Our new strategy is to deploy a single heavy hitting server at each of our small branch offices and virtualize services such as File/Print, AD, AntiVirus, and Exchange.

I was just thinking about this today before I read your post! I was reading a book about virtualization using VMWare at Borders earlier today. We must all be thinking about the same stuff these days.

MS Virtual Server2005 can't do anything close to VMware ESX though. I'm hoping we can move toward ESX once we get familiar with the free version.

I've got a technet copy of VS2005R2, but I've not played with it yet. I'll probably dork with it some just for comparison sake down the road.

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  • Jason Powell is the Information Technology Director at Granger Community Church. The views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of GCC ...
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