Robert has a good post up for folks wanting to run Windows Server 2008 R2 on their laptops. A lot of us do that so that we can run Hyper-V for demos or development purposes. If you enable the Desktop Experience feature along with Wireless LAN and a few other things, you effectively get a Windows 7-like desktop and the ability to run Hyper-V.
One of the challenges of this setup is that for some of the hardware in your laptop, Windows Server 2008 R2 may not detect drivers for it whereas if you were running Windows 7, the hardware would be detected and appropriate drivers downloaded from Windows Update. Robert’s post describes installing Windows 7 into another partition on the laptop and letting Windows Update detect and download the drivers into the Windows 7 install. Then you can boot into Windows Server 2008 R2, go into device manager and search the DriverStore on the Windows 7 partition to find the drivers.
If you know specifically all the hardware in your notebook, either via the Vendor’s website or by taking a screenshot of Device Manager before you upgrade, another way to approach this without doing a separate install of Windows 7 is to search the Microsoft Update Catalog. This KB article talks about how to do that but basically you can search the catalog and download the driver packages directly without Windows Update having to detect your hardware. In my example, I have a Dell D820 with an NVIDIA Quadro NVS 120 display adapter. Sometimes Windows Server 2008 and R2 don’t detect this. Since I know exactly what card I have, I can go to the catalog, search for that adapter, and find then download the Windows 7 driver and install that. The screenshot below shows what the catalog looks like. You can search and add multiple drivers to the download basket then download them all.
Bottom line, if you don’t know all the hardware in your machine, use Robert’s method of installing Windows 7 in another partition to identify all the hardware and use the drivers you download there. If you know your hardware, give the update catalog a try.
There is updated desktop virtualization content at www.microsoft.com/vdi There are a couple of whitepapers and guides to help understand the various approaches and components of a virtualized desktop.
Over the last few months VDI is an area I have been spending a lot of time in, particularly around the joint Microsoft and Citrix VDI solutions.
One of the more interesting aspects of VDI is determining the right mix of technologies to utilize. For large organizations it’s rarely the case that virtualizing all desktops makes sense. At the same time, providing a full PC to all users also doesn’t make much sense if users don’t need it.
The right answer is to find the optimized mix that makes sense for a given organization. Getting there involves understanding your users, your users requirements, the TCO of the various options, etc. With the ability to virtualize the OS, applications, and presentation, the most cost effective solution can be provided to each user group (ex. task workers get a TS/Citrix session and power users get a full PC with apps coming from APP-V, etc)
Over the next couple weeks I’ll be posting more content on this approach as I am in the middle of documenting both the approach and technical guidance for proofs of concept as part of work I am doing for an MCS solution offering.
By now most readers of this blog will have heard that some of the planned Windows Server Virtualization (Viridian) features have been deferred. The details were posted here. Dan Kusnetzky over on ZDnet has a blog post with good analysis of the options. This was certainly a disappointment for those of us who are excited about the technology. Clearly some work needs to be done on the planning and expectation setting process. The bottom line in a situation like this is that this technology is complicated and sometimes issues crop up that are not possible to anticipate and sometimes take longer than expected to solve. This leads to the situation where you are behind schedule. At this point, as both the orginal post and Kusnetzky's post point out, in software dev you have three choices: Reduce quality and testing to ship on time; Push out the release date for the full product; Cut features and ship on schedule. You then need to make the decision as to which course to take and let your customers know as soon as possible. Given the state of the market, my view is that the team made the right decision.
The decision-making process for what to virtualize should revolve around the resources required by the workload to be virtualized (processor, ram, I/O, etc). Currently, Microsoft virtual machines are limited to a single processor core, just under 4 GB of RAM, and 4 NICs. Consequently, no single server workload that requires more than this can be virtualized without changes such as scaling it out to multiple VMs etc. Windows Server Virtualization is being designed to remove those limitations as a top priority. There are additional priorities such as high availability, dynamic data center scenarios, etc. The identification and prioritization of these scenarios is critical and customer driven as it should be.
Those priorities were planned to be accomplished in WSV via the following major features.
As you can see from the announcement, Live Migration and Hot Add are being deferred. That still leaves several major features (in addition to a lot of other features) still included in the initial release. The features that are in address the biggest limitation with our current offerings, namely the size of the single server workload that can be virtualized. The team in my view is correctly evaluating the market, our offerings, competitor's offerings, and customer needs. I certainly wish all five features would be in the first release but I also would certainly rather have the first three on schedule than to have to wait 3, 6, or more months to get any of them. Put simply, the cup is 3/5ths full...
Interesting post and stats over on www.iss.net www.iis.net. Microsoft.com has now migrated all but one server over to IIS7. 99% of apps worked unchanged. Most folks don't realize this but Microsoft.com has the 4th widest audience in the US and the 5th widest worldwide. The site runs primarily out of two data centers on 80 web servers.