As I have mentioned in previous blogs, my job involves building a very large demo. The way we build it is to use Microsoft Virtual Server 2005, Remote Desktop, and often the Remote Desktops MMC snap-in. We use Virtual Server so we can have about 16 different servers, but setup as virtual machines running on 3 physical boxes. We then connect to each server via Remote Desktop when running the demo. When building or testing it, we often use the Remote Desktops snap-in so we can easily toggle between all the different virtual machines.
We create one environment, but make 4 copies of it simply by copying the .vhd files (the virtual machines)
- Stage / Build (this is the copy that we ship to other Microsoft Technology Centers)
- Production (the copy that we run at the Redmond MTC)
Some quick math shows that this means we run 12 physical servers and 64 virtual machines. Without Virtual Server, we would have to manage 64 physical boxes and making a copy of one environment (dev) for a different purpose (test), would be quite a challenge.