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Virtual Server 2005 R2 (64 and 32 bit) has RTM'ed!

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May be old news to some, but it's GREAT news to me and to a lot of others who read my blog. Virtual Server 2005 R2 is RTM and will be available through the regular channels for purchase and download by early December. There will even be a 180 trial edition available for download sooner from the Virtual Server 2005 R2 resource page. It will be available for installation on either 32 bit or 64 bit HOST systems - guest Oss are still 32 bit only.

Why is this important and why am I excited? The travel server I use (my team call them "the bots" when on the road) is an x64 AMD Opteron system that previously was installed as a 32 bit OS and 32 bit virtualization solution. I was waiting for Virtual Server 2005 R2 x64 edition before fully reformatting and re-installing a complete x64 solution. The drivers are now ready, the BIOS has been updated - everything is in place to go full bore x64.

What do you get with Virtual Server 2005 R2? Here's some information direct from the release notes (you read those before installing, right?):

  • Disk Precompactor: you run this application inside the guest in order to clear out unused data on the VHD drives in order to get better compression with the built in vhd compactor to shrink the VHD size on the host system.
  • Performance enhancements: better allocation and utilization of RAM which is inherent to the x64 architecture.
  • Pre-reserved saved state files. Just for that extra layer of protection to save state on running systems without being caught off guard when you really need to save that state!
  • Virtual floppy disk for SCSI drivers in order to have them available during install of the OS. 
  • Support for hyper-threading.  In Virtual Server 2005 it was recommended to turn off HT on HT enabled procs in order to get better performance. Now you can re-enable it to get better performance. 
  •  Host clustering support for Virtual Server 2005 R2. Yup - you can cluster 2 hosts with Microsoft Cluster Services and then configure the Virtual Server process is now cluster aware and allows you to run a guest OS on node 1 and have it fail over to Node 2 in case there is a problem. Finally True High Availability! 

This is the first in a short series of posts that I will be making to talk about the HW Configuration / re-install / configuration of "the bot" and what the experience is like running on a 64 bit platform.

Comments
  • I toyed around with trying to Install the latest Vista Beta on a Virtual Server 2005 R1 - but couldn't ever get it to install. Will R2 handle Vista Beta's better?

  • Vista can working inside Virtual server. You'll need to format the drive first though.

    it's working...but it's slooooooowwww

    Sam

  • Hey Sam and Robert... Yes, as Sam mentions you can install Vista within a Guest system. The speed factor is resolved with the R2 additions. It can also be installed on the non R2 version of Virtual Server 2005, but it requires a special "hotfix" version of the additions which can be requested and downloaded from the Microsoft website.
    A great source of information on VPC and Virtual Server is Ben Armstrong's blog which can be found here (http://blogs.msdn.com/virtual%5Fpc%5Fguy/)

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