Virtual Server R2 SP1 Information and updates

System Requirements

It is pretty much the usual suspect on the supported operating Systems side of the fence. I guess Longhorn Beta 3 is not able to be supported because of the state of the build being in beta. I am going to be playing with the Longhorn Core deployment and see how well it goes and run Virtual Server only on the machine to see if I can get better performance. Stay tuned for my findings.

Ø  Windows Server 2003 R2 (32-Bit x86)

Ø  Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition (32-Bit x86)

Ø  Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter x64 Edition

Ø  Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition (32-Bit x86)

Ø  Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise x64 Edition

Ø  Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition (32-bit x86)

Ø  Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard x64 Edition

Ø  Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1

Ø  Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2

Ø  Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)

Ø  Windows Server 2003, Datacenter x64 Edition

Ø  Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)

Ø  Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition

Ø  Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)

Ø  Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition

Ø  Windows Small Business Server 2003 Windows Vista Business

Ø  Windows Vista Business 64-bit edition

Ø  Windows Vista Enterprise

Ø  Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit edition

Ø  Windows Vista Ultimate

Ø  Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit edition

Ø  Windows XP Service Pack 2 

The processor support is as follows

Ø  Intel Celeron

Ø  Intel Pentium III

Ø  Intel Pentium 4 Ø  Intel XeonØ  AMD Opteron

Ø  AMD Athlon

Ø  AMD Athlon 64

Ø  AMD Athlon X2

Ø  AMD Sempron

Ø  AMD Duron Core DUO

Ø  AMD Duron Core 2 DUO processor

The minimum CPU supported speed is 550 MHz and the RAM needs to be no less than 256 MB and the disk space has to be 2GB just to install the application. If you actually use the product you will need additional resources to be able to run the virtual machines. Typically the same requirement for the application goes for each of the guest VM’s that you need to build. The minimum requirements are just that and it means that whatever you build will run very slow so unless that is all you have to work with I would suggest no less than 512MB for RAM on clients and 1GB RAM for servers and at least 10GB HDD for each VM as a practice.

Guest OS support

When the service pack released I had to do a double take at what Operating Systems were supported. The one that surprised me the most was OS/2. I can see the move but is there really a huge user base of OS/2? I am not asking to start a religious war here but it just seems odd and interesting at the same time. 

Ø  Windows Server® Code Name “Longhorn” Beta 3 (non-production use only)

Ø  Microsoft® Windows Server® 2003, Standard Edition with Service Pack 2

Ø  Microsoft® Windows Server® 2003, Enterprise Edition with Service Pack 2

Ø  Microsoft® Windows Server® 2003, Web Edition with Service Pack 2

Ø  OS/2 4.5

Ø  Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 (update 7 )  

Ø  Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0 (update 8 )

Ø  Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0 (update 4)

Ø  SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9.0

Ø  SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10.0

Ø  Solaris 10 Ø  Red Hat Linux 9.0

Ø  SuSE Linux 9.3

Ø  SuSE Linux 10.0

Ø  SuSE Linux 10.1

Ø  SuSE Linux 10.2

Ø  Windows Vista™ Ultimate (non-production use only)

Ø  Windows Vista™ Business (non-production use only)

Ø  Windows Vista™ Enterprise (non-production use only)

Solaris 10 is new as a supported Guest OS which is good with some of the work I am doing currently. I will definitely give it a whirl and see how good the support is.

New Features in the release

Support for hardware-assisted virtualization technology

This is nice to have especially since viridian is not going to be available for sometime in the near future. I have tested this on the Intel-VT setup with 2 Dell 2950’s and appears to work well with moving the I/O much better which is a very good thing.

Support for greater than 64 virtual machines on x64-based hosts

Virtual Server can now address 256 GB of memory and run 512 virtual machines on x64-based hosts The 64 virtual machine limit remains when running on 32-bit hosts. The bigger problem that I have is the inability to run 64-bit VM’s yet. This makes things very difficult and I would think that Microsoft would want that working as soon as possible since 64-bit is the wave of the future. I can sell the boss on something that I can test and build out for teams to test.

VHD Mount command-line tool and APIs

I have tried to run this in the past on my XP machines and it just does not work. You need to be on the server for some reason. I will test again here and see if it is true on Vista and see. I want to see if I can actually make use of my Dual Core functionality. On the server it runs well and you can easily add and remove various files once the VHD is mounted.

Interoperability with Volume Shadow Copy ServiceSupport for additional guest and host operating systems

OS/2 support need I say more?

Service publication using Active Directory Service Connection Points

This is good if you actually leverage AD extensively. I am sure that it will make it easier to manage in the future as well. The MOM pack is helpful in how you can tie things together.

Host clustering white paperVirtual SCSI fix for Linux guests

I think that this is an interesting feature in the fact that you would build out Linux using SCSI HDD’s? Why do I ask the question? The reason is that usually I associate everything with Linux as cheap and low cost. SCSI by any means is not cheap and because of that would not typically be used with Linux. I know that Linux is making big strides in the enterprise but when you start adding up all the cost associated with building a server with SCSI you are not looking at a cost effective server. There is no FUD here but just an observation of what is typical.

Larger default size for dynamically expanding virtual hard disks

The default size for dynamically expanding virtual hard disks has been changed from 16 GB to 127 GB.

VMRC ActiveX control and Internet Explorer security zones

Can allow you to suppress the annoying login window if you are in a test environment and don’t need to constantly be logging into the Admin console to look at things.

New VMRC client option to enable video stretch in full screen mode

A new command-line option -fullscreenstretch has been added to the VMRC client. With this option, the console opens in full screen mode and the display is stretched and/or resized to the fill the entire screen.

IVMGuestOS::Get_OSName property returns more operating system information

This feature is good but only if you are tracking what OS you have on each VM and what information you require. I would say that this is more of a scripting enhancement which can be good but not high on my needs. I want to be able to run 64-bit VM’s straight away.

Notes
Virtual Server 2005 R2 or earlier allowed multiple people to connect to the same virtual machine via VMRC at the same time.  The problem is that you never knew if you were being watched or not. In SP1 of Virtual Server R2 you can now disable the ability to do this.  If you like the feature you can go back by checking the option on the VMRC configuration page that allows you to enable or disable “Multiple VMRC connections”.

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