Microsoft Virtual Server

Last month I introduced you to Microsoft's new PC product, Microsoft

Virtual PC 2004. This week, we'll look at the server version of the

software called Microsoft Virtual Server. Microsoft Virtual Server,

similar to VMWare, allows you to run multiple operating systems in a

virtualized environment concurrently on a single physical server.

Virtual Server supports the virtualization of Windows Server 2003,

Windows 2000 Server, Linux, Unix and OS/2. The difference between these

two products is that Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 runs on Microsoft's

client operating systems (such as Windows XP), and can only support

client operating systems in the virtual environment. With Virtual

Server, you will need a Microsoft server operating system (such as

Windows 2003 Server) and can support the installation of server

operating systems.

The benefit to using a product like VMWare or Microsoft Virtual Server,

is that you can use a single physical server, and run multiple unique

instances of one or more operating systems on that machine. For

example, you could have a Windows 2003 Server running Microsoft Virtual

Server and install a separate Windows 2000 installation within the

Virtual Server environment. Within the Windows 2000 installation, you

migrate an existing Exchange 2000 Server installation to the "virtual"

Windows 2000 installation, and free up the hardware that was originally

running Exchange 2000, thus freeing up the hardware for a potential

upgrade to Exchange 2003.

You could also do some testing of a virtual Linux installation on this

same box to see how Linux could be of benefit in your environment

without having to buy a separate dedicated box. Of course, all of these

examples would require the host hardware to be beefed up with lots of

memory and processors, and possibly lots of disk space (depending upon

your needs). This is because each virtual instance of an operating

system requires the same amount of resources that it would typically

require if it were on a standalone machine. For example, if you

typically build your Windows 2003 servers with 1GB of RAM and your Linux

Servers with 2GB of RAM, you would need 3GB or more memory on your host

Microsoft Virtual Server so that you can allocate memory appropriately

to each instance.

From a licensing standpoint, each copy of a Microsoft Windows operating

system or Microsoft software that is installed on a computer running

Microsoft Virtual Server (or Microsoft Virtual PC 2004) must be

separately licensed. Additionally, each device or user accessing any

operating system on the virtual machine system requires a Windows Client

Access License (CAL) that matches the version of the most current

operating system running on the system (or later).

You can find out more about Microsoft Virtual Server at

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/techinfo/overview/virtualization.mspx.

Join me next week when I discuss the installation and configuration of

Active Directory Application Mode (AD/AM).

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