Ever since I learned that it works on Windows XP, I’ve preferred Virtual Server 2005 R2 over Virtual PC for running virtual machines on my notebook.
The original decision to use it on my notebook was driven mostly by my use of Virtual Server on a desktop machine running Windows Server 2003. Once I learned that I could run it on Windows XP (thanks to Andrew Coates), I made the switch on my notebook. Here are some of the reasons I prefer it, and I’ll add more as I think of them (this is not intended to be an authoritative feature comparison of the two products):
- Virtual Server’s Master Status page provides me more information about my virtual machines than the Virtual PC Console
- Virtual Server permits remote management without having to use Remote Desktop
- Virtual Machine Remote Control (VMRC) provides easier toggling than Remote Desktop Client when accessing virtual machines remotely
- VMRC can be added as an object in a PowerPoint presentation, which means you can go into a virtual machine without having to exit your presentation
- Virtual Server provides greater configurability over CPU usage
- Built-in PXE support
- Although I haven’t done much of it, you can script Virtual Server (see Script Repository: Virtual Server)
There are drawbacks. Currently, Virtual Server doesn’t support some Virtual PC features, such as sound and shared folders, but those aren’t high on my priority list. Perhaps the virtualization technology in Windows Vista Enterprise (Virtual PC Express) will compel me to reconsider.
Some good virtual machine blogs:
- Virtual PC Guy by Ben Armstrong
- The Soul of a Virtual Machine by Megan Davis (quiet since June ‘05, but still good info)