Virtual Server 2005 R2 is Free!

Hurray… one of my favorite technologies, Virtual Server, is now freely available for download at this location.

I suggest that everyone go grab a copy and install it. Especially if you have VMWare.

… except if you are running XP Home for your “production” environment. But then again, what professional uses that SKU and expects to get their job done? It does not support Remote Desktop (a deal breaker for me), does not support Domains, and wacky simplified security that gets in my way more than anything else. I consider it no loss that Virtual Server refuses to install on XP Home, but apparently it is a deal breaker for some. To these folks – you have no idea what you are missing out by using XP Home. Run XP Pro on your laptop!

Personally, I like Virtual Server because it marries the power of Virtual Machine technology with a simple scriptable administration API… so anyone can automatically build Virtual Machines, install OSes into them, and run them… all virtually. The only flaw here is that there is that Microsoft does not provide a ADSUTIL.VBS equivalent for Virtual Server. Not publicly available yet, anyway…

I will have to change that. 🙂 I’m going to start tossing out sample code snippets from my Virtual Machine Control Tool (basically, the ADSUTIL.VBS for Virtual Server) so that people can see how easy it is to wield and use Virtual Server. Completely scriptable, automatable, and reusable.

Incidentally, this is how the IIS7 Virtual Machines get created – all automatically. I kick off a script which runs the VMCTL tool to create a Virtual Machine and then launches another tool inside the Virtual Machine to install Windows Vista and IIS7 automatically. Then it compacts, compresses, and seals up the VHD for later usage. Yup, I love writing tools and composing them into automation to perform logical tasks. 🙂


Comments (5)

  1. So now that VS is free, what’s the state of Virtual PC?  And if you’ve already got VPC installed, would you recommend going to VS?

    The scripting looks quite interesting, and quite powerfull.

    Thanks as always,


  2. David.Wang says:

    Chris – As always, it depends on what your needs are. Virtual PC and Virtual Server address different market needs.


  3. Lauren Smith says:

    Thanks for the pointer.  I’ve been playing with this since last night and got RH9 installed.  Still a few issues to work out as this is my first exposure to this technology, but it’s very interesting so far.


  4. David.Wang says:

    Lauren – yes, virtual machine technology is quite powerful once you realize:

    1. It makes machine state persisted as files – backup/restore/playback is never the samee

    2. It takes your Host OS’s resources and partitions it into separate Virtual Machines from one another – you never need to physically build another machine again.

    3. It is emulation of Virtual Hardware, not software – so you can run normal software on virtualized hardware, but not use special hardware in the Guest OS.

    For example:

    1. software testing will forever improve because of this.

    2. system clustering/reliability does NOT change – instead of clustering Guest OS, you need to cluster the Virtual Server Host – if the Host goes down, all Guest OS goes down

    3. support for legacy hardware like MIDI cards, USB dongles, etc is worse because Virtual Server emulates fixed Virtual Hardware to run software – not allow virtualized access to your legacy hardware by software.


  5. David Wang says:

    The following are some of the more frequently asked questions when it comes to deploying a group Virtual…