Vista Beta 2 + VMWare Server = Usable Software

13. June 2006 06:12

In my last post, I was expressing my disappointment with the performance of Vista Beta 2 while running on a virtual machine under Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1.  This is due to the VM additions no longer working with Beta 2.  Technically, there are new VM additions to resolve the problem, but they are not currently accessible to the general public.  Since there is no telling how long it may be until those VM additions are released, I decided to take a look at what VMWare had to offer.

Much to my surprise, I discovered that they currently have a free beta product named VMWare Server.  I was shocked even more when I read that they intend to continue to offer this as a free product when it is officially released.  So, I thought...why not?  I registered on their site, received a product key via email, and installed the product. 

After completing the installation, I noticed there is an import option that can be used to load a Virtual PC 2004 or Virtual Server 2005 machine defintion into VMWare.  Unfortunately, this didn't work for me.  I am guessing that it may have something to do with the fact that I am running Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1, which is still beta.  Since that didn't work, I created a new virtual machine, mounted the ISO, and started installing Beta 2 on the new VM.  It should be noted that the performance of the installation was noticeably faster than it was on Virtual Server. 

So, I now have Beta 2 installed and logged in for the first time.  Again, I didn't really expect much in terms of performance, but VMWare pulled it off.  Sure, there was some noticeable delay, but it was actually usable.  What impressed me even more was that I still hadn't installed their VMWare Tools, which is similar to VM addtions in the Virtual PC/Server world.  It is software installed on the guest OS that improves performance.  After I installed the VMWare Tools, I couldn't really tell that it is even running in a virtual environment.

Needless to say, I am pleasantly surprised with VMWare.  If you are one of those people caught in a state of great anticipation over the announcement of the new VM additions for Virtual Server 2005, then I highly recommend you take a look at VMWare Server.  Once the new VM additions are released, I will probably take a look at Beta 2 via Virtual Server just to see how well it does.  However, I must admit that my brief experience using VMWare has me reconsidering my preferred choice for virtualization software.

We will see how it holds up as I start to really use the OS.

UPDATE
Since I originally posted this, Microsoft has released the new VM Additions for Virtual Server 2005.  I have not tried them yet, but I just thought I would pass the information along.   You can get the details on the Virtually Vista blog in this post.

Comments

7/18/2006 6:55:16 AM #

I have been running Vista Beta 2 in a VM on Ubunutu Linux 6.06 for a few weeks with only minor issues (I haven't gotten the VM Ware tools to install in that VM instance).

Thanks to EMC for making the VMWare Server freely available.

Ross

Ross Foard |

7/18/2006 4:00:51 PM #

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I have given this combination a try. But, the new Aero feature seems not enable in the Virtual machine, even though I have the ultimate version.

Or, am I missing some configuration, to enable the Aero support?

-Fred

http:// |

7/19/2006 1:39:44 AM #

Vmware Server and Player just work. Never had any issues with them. i got hold of VirtualPC 2004 and tried booting a linux image with it but it just wouldn't. Everything is easy with Vmware and there's lots of guides and tutorials out there on deploying it windows/linux environments.

Udu Ogah |

7/21/2006 11:39:25 AM #

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The Aero support is not available because you would need Shader Modell 2.0 in the VM and that is a thing that both VMware and M$ don't emulate in their virtual environment.
You will have to use ist without Aero in VM ...

Cheers

http:// |

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I'm a passionate software developer and advocate of the Microsoft .NET platform.  In my opinion, software development is a craft that necessitates a conscious effort to continually improve your skills rather than falling into the trap of complacency.  I was also awarded as a Microsoft MVP in Connected Systems in 2008, 2009, and 2010.


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