Q&A from Creating a Virtual Server 2005 R2 Test/Demo Environment webcast

Hello Everyone,


Below are the follow-up questions & answers from the Thursday, August 23, 2007, webcast “Creating a Virtual Server 2005 R2 Test/Demo Environment” (http://www.msreadiness.com/CourseDetail.aspx?id=6506).  To download the PowerPoint presentation, please visit BOB Wired at:  http://oem.microsoft.com/bobwired.  Look for BOB Decks: US System Builder Webcast Slide Decks to find a link with a username & password to access a number of BOB Team documents.



Q: Where can I find more documentation on installing and managing Virtual Server 2005 R2?

A: Please visit the Virtual Server 2005 Technical Library at http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/bcc5e200-88af-4a64-963b-55f1efb251d11033.mspx.


Q: Where can I find more information about Virtual Server and clustering?

A: Please visit http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/9a3de6d0-c820-41ac-860c-de950d271f8d1033.mspx.


Q: Can you use Virtual Server 2005 R2 to test Windows Server 2008 beta 3 as a guest operating system?

A: Yes, this is an excellent example for using a virtual machine!


Q: What host operating system should I use to achieve the best performance with Virtual Server 2005 R2?

A: For maximum performance and scalability, use the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003 Enterprise or Datacenter Edition.


Q: Can you run Virtual Server 2005 R2 on machines with CPUs that don’t support hardware assisted virtualization?

A: Yes.  Virtual Server will take advantage of those features if they exist, but will run without them as well.


Q: Can you migrate an existing production server to a virtual machine without having to reinstall the OS, just push it to the virtual file format?

A: Yes. Currently you would use the Virtual Server Migration Toolkit. With the upcoming release of System Center Virtual Machine Manager this process becomes even easier.  Please visit http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/scvmm/default.mspx.


Q: When using differencing disks, can multiple virtual machines use the same base disk simultaneously?

A: Absolutely.  The base disk is used as a read-only “parent” for as many “child” differencing disks as you want.


Q: Where can I find more information about licensing issues and scenarios when using virtualization?

A: Please visit http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/highlights/virtualization.mspx.


Q: Does the current licensing model allow a company to take legacy hardware out of service and transfer its OS to a virtual machine?

A: This depends on the type of licenses in the environment. For example, OEM licenses cannot be moved to new PCs or to a virtual instance. However, other license types may allow this.


Q: How to I backup virtual machines?

A: There are basically two approaches.  The first is to install your normal backup software on your guest operating systems and use the same processes and procedures that you use to backup your physical machines.  The second approach is to simply make copies the .vmc and .vhd files that constitute the virtual machine.


Q: What are the main differences between Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 and competing products?

A: Please see http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/virtualserver/evaluation/revguide.mspx.


Q: Does the virtual SCSI host adapter for virtual machines work with Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) on the host machine?

A: It doesn’t matter to the virtual machines what the actual physical hard drives are on the host.  Anything that is supported by the host operating system can be used to store the configuration and data files that comprise a virtual machine.


Q: Is it possible to store the configuration and data files for a virtual machine on an external drive?

A: Yes, in fact this can be a great solution when using a laptop in a demonstration scenario when the external drive has better performance characteristics than the laptop’s internal hard drive.


Q: Is it beneficial to use the virtual SCSI host adapter even if we're using SATA/IDE physically?

A: Yes.  Although the best performance will be realized when physical SCSI drives are used as well, there is still a benefit to the virtual machines when using the virtual SCSI host bus adapter.


Q: Can you change the attachment for an existing virtual hard drive from IDE to SCSI?

A: Yes.  Edit the virtual machine’s (VM) configuration to add a SCSI host adapter, and then edit the VM’s hard disk attachments to use SCSI.


Q: If Virtual Server is installed on an NTFS formatted drive, how will this affect a guest OS that is only capable of FAT32?

A: The virtual hard disks for a virtual machine are created, partitioned, and formatted independently from the underlying host operating system’s hard disk configuration.  As a result, they can be configured to match the requirements of the guest OS.


Q: If you set up a Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 environment, can Virtual Server be in such an environment?

A: Yes.


Q: After setting up a virtual machine and loading a guest OS, when you are done with the guest OS how do you delete it from the host computer?  When you remove it from Virtual Server it seems to still be physically on the hard drive.

A: You need to manually delete the actual files (.vmc and any .vhd’s) that were created for the virtual machine.


Q: Can you have both Virtual PC 2007 and Virtual Server 2005 R2 installed on the same host machine?

A: Yes.  If you do so, I would recommend installing VPC first and then Virtual Server.


Q: Can you use a hard disk image from Virtual Server on Virtual PC and vice versa?

A: Yes, the .vhd files are compatible between the two products.


Q: What was the URL mentioned during the webcast for the blog that described how to configure IIS for running Virtual Server on Windows Vista?

A: http://blog.wadewegner.com/2007/03/03/InstallingVirtualServer2005R2OnWindowsVistaUpdated.aspx


Q: Can you recommend an application for creating ISO's?

A: There are many good tools for this, I have had success with ISORecorder.


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