Virtual Server & Virtual PC FAQ

31 07 2007

The Virtualization team’s Jeff Woolsey recently posted an FAQ on Virtualization, which answers some of the key FAQs.  

Q: I’m interested in evaluating Microsoft virtualization. Which should I use, Virtual PC or Virtual Server?

A: The answer to this question really depends on your application and usage.  Both Virtual PC and Virtual Server are powerful products that offer unique features and functionality.  For example:

  • Virtual PC offers an intuitive, local UI designed for a single user while Virtual Server offers a Web Administration application allowing multiple users to administer Virtual Servers remotely.
  • Virtual PC is a legacy client OS solution while Virtual Server is a legacy server OS solution.
  • Virtual Server is designed with extensibility in mind and includes a fully documented COM interface in the Virtual Server Programmer’s Guide.
  • Virtual Server is heavily threaded and designed to take advantage and scale on multi-processor computers with large amounts of memory.

If after reading everything above you still don’t know which product to use, start with Virtual PC because of its ease-of-use.

 

Q: From a virtual machine perspective, what are the differences between a Virtual PC virtual machine and a Virtual Server virtual machine?  Are they compatible?

A: Yes, virtual machines with either product are compatible, but when using Virtual Server and Virtual PC together, there are several points to consider:

Sound cards: Virtual Server does not include an emulated sound card in its virtual machines, while Virtual PC does. If you will be using a virtual machine on both Virtual Server and Virtual PC, you should disable the emulated sound card in Virtual PC. This will prevent the sound card’s Plug and Play capability from causing errors on the virtual machine that you created with Virtual Server.

SCSI support: Virtual Server provides SCSI support while Virtual PC does not. If you create a virtual machine with virtual SCSI disks on Virtual Server, the SCSI disks will be ignored if you move the virtual machine to Virtual PC. This can lead to negative consequences in many situations, for example if the virtual machine page file is on the SCSI disk or if you are trying to use a SCSI disk as the startup disk. If you plan to regularly move virtual hard disks between machines created with Virtual PC and Virtual Server, we recommend that you attach the virtual hard disks only to a virtual IDE bus in Virtual Server.

CD-ROM drives: Although Virtual Server allows for virtual machines with multiple CD-ROM drives, Virtual PC supports virtual machines with only one CD-ROM drive. If you are moving virtual machines between the two products, you should configure only a single CD-ROM drive on the virtual machine and attach it to secondary channel 0, which is the default setting.

Saved States: Save-state (.vsv) files between Virtual PC and Virtual Server are incompatible.  When moving a virtual machine between products, be sure to completely shutdown the guest operating system.

Networking: When moving virtual machines between Virtual PC and Virtual Server, the virtual machine’s network will be disconnected. You will need to configure the virtual machine’s network connectivity appropriately.

 

Q: How can I ensure that a virtual machine created by Virtual PC will move to Virtual Server and vice versa?

A: To ensure that a virtual machine can move between Virtual Server and Virtual PC, you should:

  • · Disable the emulated sound card in Virtual PC. This will prevent the sound card’s Plug and Play capability from causing errors on the virtual machine that you created with Virtual Server.
  • Only use IDE virtual hard disks instead of SCSI virtual hard disks because VPC only offers IDE support.
  • Shutdown (not save state) the virtual machine before moving it.  Virtual PC and Virtual Server saved states are not compatible.

 For more information on Virtualization, please head to Jeff Woolsey’s/Virtualization team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/virtualization/

ciao

mags