It's rare you see something in a beta release which makes such a dramatic difference to performance. This is one such instance. If you want to save yourself over 5 hours when installing a Virtual Machine under Virtual Server 2005, read on....
Last week at home, I was installing a new Windows Server 2003 R2 beta server configured with single virtual SCSI hard disk under Virtual Server 2005 SP1 beta. This was on my "big" laptop which physically has an IDE disk (don't they all though?). I was getting really frustrated by the length of time it took to install - just under 6 hours at 100% CPU throughout. At least I didn't need the heating on that day.
At the time, I hadn't even thought about using the SCSI Shunt Driver floppy which is introduced by Virtual Server 2005 SP1, as my understanding was, as per Ben's blog entry last week, that it generally only made a difference to users who had physical SCSI hard disks in the host.
To find out the difference the SCSI Shunt Driver floppy made, I repeated the installation once more but using the driver floppy using F6 during the text mode install portion. The difference was staggering: 6 hours down to 55 minutes including patching, anti-virusing, defragmenting, pre-compacting, compacting and the installation of VM additions. I was just astonished. That probably means the actual install was more like 40 minutes. Of course, I can't guarantee that you'll necessarily see quite that much difference, but it has to be worth a try next time you're installing a VM.
An unattended installation of Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition using Microsoft ADS and the SCSI Shuntdrivers takes about 35 minutes.