In case you missed everyone screaming it earlier this week, Microsoft has sweetened the deal for those of you interested in Virtualization by making free VHDs available. Taking System Center Virtual Machine Manager Beta 1 for a test drive just got a whole lot easier.
I recently updated the SCVMM FAQ as follows (ital):
How can I create a virtual machine?
Virtual machines may be created from other virtual machines, virtual hard disks stored in the library, or templates stored in the library.
You can create a virtual machine from another virtual machine on a host or within the library, as long as the machine is stopped or stored in the library. You can create virtual machines from virtual hard disks and template stored in the library that meet the minimum requirements, including VM Additions installed, the operating system has been created with Sysprep, and other requirements detail in the Getting Started Guide.
For information about free virtual hard disks from Microsoft that contain evaluation versions of server software, see Run IT on a Virtual Hard Disk at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=77557. To download the free virtual hard disks, go to http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=77556.
But what this means is - you can now:
1) Download free VHDs for Microsoft server products
2) Store those VHDs in your SVMM Beta 1 library
3) Make templates for VMs that use these VHDs
4) Assign some of your users (say dev and test folks) to the templates
5) Set up the SCVMM beta 1 Self-Service Portal.
6) Send your users the URL to the portal
Bingo. Your users now have self-service, on-demand, VMs running Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition, Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition, Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2006, or Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 - 32-bit version.
>sliced bread or what?