I have been using virtualization products for the past 7 or 8 years. I started with VMWare and used it when I was on the SBS Support team. I virtualized a couple common common configurations of SBS and it allowed me to do some basic testing and reproduction of customer issues. I moved on to Virtual PC and Virtual Server soon after and recently have started working with Windows Server virtualization in Windows Server 2008.
There are many aspects of virtualization that make it a cool technology. The one that appeals the most to me is being able to "start over" if mistakes are made. I make mistakes all the time and being able to start with a configuration, make tweaks, test it out, and if it fails, shut it down and start over.
But Virtualization promises a lot more than what I like it for. For Enterprises there are a definitive cost savings from consolidating machines and virtualizing them. The dollar savings on power alone is worth it. There is also the efficiency of standardizing the "hardware" for virtualized machines. Every machine has the same driver set so driver management is greatly simplified. They are also very portable. Imagine moving a physical server across the country after you have provisioned it. It is a lot simpler and safer to just download the server.
We have a Virtualization Webcast series coming up that dives a lot deeper into the benefits of virtualization. You can register for it here --
The individual sessions and a few extra that are on demand are:
An overview of the virtualization role, the scenarios, and the features that make server virtualization an important pillar of Windows Server 2008. We also cover the longer-term strategy and road map for Microsoft virtualization technologies.
In this session, we examine Microsoft virtualization and how to implement it with Windows Server 2008. We cover topics including: presentation, application, and server virtualization scenarios and technologies.
Gain insight into the overall Microsoft virtualization strategy. Learn about the Microsoft road map for virtualization and examine what workloads make good candidates for virtualization and why you would consider moving these workloads into a virtual world.
This session covers the new hypervisor-based architecture. We look at the integrated management for virtual and physical resources, including the Microsoft Management Console (MMC), the new virtual machine creation wizard, the conversion tools, the performance enhancements, and the integration into Group Policy.
We look at virtualization solutions starting with moving existing applications and infrastructure servers into a virtualized environment. We also look at the impact of virtualizing test and development environments, and some of the tools available that make this process easily manageable.
We cover some of the best practices and tips for virtualization of infrastructure workloads, such as the Active Directory directory service, file and print, and Web servers, and the benefits of mixed workload virtualization.
Learn about what you should consider before, during, and after a server consolidation in a branch office, and the role virtualization can play. We provide a view of how and where virtualization fits in a branch office, and how it helps simplify administration and creates a self-managing branch infrastructure.
We cover Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager for backup and restore, and Microsoft System Center Operations Manager and Virtual Machine Manager for management and performance tuning.
Learn how Windows Server virtualization and clustering can be used to create business continuity solutions for Microsoft SQL Server and infrastructure workloads. See how to use the new features in Windows Server virtualization, such as live backup, health monitoring, quick migration, and guest clustering.
Which to use, Microsoft SoftGrid or Terminal Services? In this session, we look at these solutions, provide details on how they differ, and explain when to use them. We also cover how to install, configure, and use SoftGrid.