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Virtualization tools and stuff. By Matthijs ten Seldam

The history of VMRCplus

The history of VMRCplus

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Before going into VMRCplus itself or tips, tricks, and such related to the tool I would like to talk a bit on the history.

VMRCplus was developed by Paul Despe. It was created as a developer tool and assisted in easy test of Virtual Server. Why? Because it had a Windows UI; basically it was a Winform application.
Paul put a lot of stuff in there to cover features that were mostly used. However development was stopped roughly early 2005 when I got my hands on it. I was super enthusiastic and provided numerous feedback on it to Paul. But Paul had little time to fix things. And with several issues I pointed him to the code where and what to fix.

I felt like enhancing and completing the tool to cover all functionality of Virtual Server. Therefore I suggested taking over the code and putting my energy in fixing and enhancing. I also discussed public release with Paul and he would really like this to happen but did not know how to get it done.

So I set two goals for myself; enhance the tool and make it publicly available.

It was approximately one year ago that I took over the code and started fixing, rewriting, enhancing, etc. I received code written in VB.Net from VStudio 2003.Net and ported all to VStudio 2005. I replaced .Net Framework 1.1 stuff with 2.0 controls. There was a lot of cleaning up to do; VB allows for easy coding but I wanted strongly typed code. I like to know what types my variables are and what goes into them.

It was not my code so I first had to understand the logic. Then create structure to be able to sustain the code. And gradually I figured out how several functions were designed or expected to function.

I promoted VMRCplus internally through a DL, internal site and Groove workspace. In the past last year I received a lot of very positive feedback from many throughout Microsoft. It was downloaded over 5000 times. I added more features to cover Virtual Server functionality and started to enhance it to the user. Meaning creating a better User Experience with Virtual Server; VMRCplus tells the user in many situations what the problem is and how to correct it.
A last step in coding was the creation of a Windows Installer package. This was done from scratch using the WiX toolset. Although a great toolset, you need to understand Windows Installer to fully understand how to develop the database. Just to clarify, the WiX toolset is a development tool to develop the installer.

Of course the above is a very short description of what went on and what has been done to end with VMRCplus as it currently is.
Could I have released VMRCplus at an earlier stage? Yes. But I deliberately did not want to do that. Virtual Server R2 SP1 was in development and I ship Virtual Server binaries with the tool. I kept up with SP1 developments and wanted to wait until RTW before shipping parts with VMRCplus.

The other challenge was to get it released publicly. Well, that was a huge challenge. We don't just compile code and ship it. Products go through a release process which involves a lot of checks. Although VMRCplus is not a product and not supported, it went through the same process products do.

In a short story, this is the history of VMRCplus. I hope that you like its current capabilities, I plan to fix and enhance it in the near future.

 

Comments
  • Thanks for a great tool.  I would appareciate a post in the future regarding snapshotting as currenlty I'm having a bit of trouble making this work?

    Do you have a list of fixes/enhancements for future versions of VMRCplus?

    Keep up the great work - the tool is very much appreciated.

  • Great tool! Thank you so much for getting this out where the public can take advantage of it.

    2 enhancements I'd love:

    1.) an authentication mechanism to allow connnecting across domains that don't have a trust relationship.

    2.) better handling of paths when adding a new disk to a remotely hosted VM.

    Charlie.

  • As a big fan of Virtual Server on the client (for development work), I was ecstatic to learn about VMRC Plus! Finally, I can manage my VHD-based VMs without being forced to choose between usability (Virtual PC) and scalability/performance (Virtual Server). It's almost good enough to make me dump VMware Workstation.

    My only remaining gripes are the general sluggishness of the VMRC client protocol and the lack of drag & drop support to/from VMRC session windows (again, a protocol limitation). However, the upside is much improved scheduling/multitasking vs. Virtual PC and without all of the complexity and quirkiness of VMware 6.0.

    Note: I put in a major plug for VMRC Plus at the InfoWorld web site. Check it out:

    http://weblog.infoworld.com/enterprisedesktop/

    Great Job!

    RCK

  • Nice one Matthijs ten Seldam thanks for taking this on and bring this great tool.. Before going into

  • Thanks for all feedback. I'll post more on auth/trust scenarios and such in the near future.

    Yes, I plan to add more features, fix bugs and such.

    There have been thousands of downloads already within a couple of days so I am currently wating for bugs and prioritize those. Then I'll look at new features, wish lists, etc.

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