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Tony Donno - Testing out Virtual Server

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Tony Donno, test manager on the Virtual Server team (actually the Virtual Machine team) discusses what makes a great tester and the Virtual Server machine, which lets you run a variety of operating systems right in a Web page interface or a PowerPoint slide (among many other things). Then he gives a thorough demonstration of Virtual Server.

For developers, this is invaluable because you can test out deployments of software on complex and varied systems.

ActiveWin (a great place for news about Microsoft, by the way) has posted a review of Virtual Server 2005.

Demo starts at 13:00.

Follow the Discussion

  • rasxrasx Emperor of String.Empty
    I do not want to turn this into a news group post but my real server running virtual server reports the Virtual Server service failing at boot up. Other than that, this stuff rocks!

    Great news about the undo disk feature being across the board! Now I can play with Beta bits!
  • eddwoeddwo Wheres my head at?
    Differencing disks sounds really cool.
    Nice lot of info, I didn't know a lot about virtual server till now.
  • You guys read my mind! I was going to ask if there would be a Virtual Server 2005 demo too since most people haven't used it.

  • Robert you asked Tony during the video about using Virutal Server for academic purposes. While I am not using Virtual Server for this exact implementation at Grand Valley State University I have advocated one scenario and physically run another.

    The first scenario that I have managed to get approved and it will be implemented over the summer is running virtual PC in our Computer Science Teaching Lab. This lab is used for 2 different datacom courses and currently all of the systems are setup in pairs (one XP and one 2003 Server). Students currently have to work in pairs and part of the lab is installing and configuring a 2003 domain with a client. The problem is that if the lab before you does the install you may or may not get to do it depending on the mood the teacher is in. What I have advocated is running a managed environment in the lab that is extremely restrictive (the lab has has problems with viruses since all students know the admin passwords for the lab domain) then setup virtual hard disks on the servers which a student can download and use. Each student would then get their own N 2003 servers and M XP clients as well as the possibility of runnign other clients such as linux in order to setup a mixed environment. Anyhow I can go into this more if people want to contact me, but I will cut this short here.

    The second environment that I acutally run is a 2003 Server environment. Our university (as many others) only supports an open source development environment and the sys admin does not want to have anything to do with Microsoft Windows (though he is slowing changing his mind since his box was hacked more then mine this year. He is at 4+, the 2003 server is still at 0). Anyhow the department would not support my efforts fully at the time being and so I only had one server to work with. Since I was setting up a Terminal Server developement environment I wanted to have the ability to rebuild the terminal server if needed to add or remove software depending on what projects were going on during the semester. So I began to look at virtual server. The current environment is setup as such

    • Host Operating System
      • 2003 Server
      • ISA Server 2004
      • Virtual Server 2005
      • 1 external NIC
      • 1 Loopback Adapter (for internal network)
      • 1 administrative login
        There is a problem with making the host OS a part of the domain becuase of the way time synchronization works on virtual server so I could not use some features of the ISA server.
    • Virtual System 1 - Domain Controller
      • 2003 Server
      • Active Directory
      • Virtual NIC (internal network)
    • Virtual System 2 - File Server
      • 2003 Server
      • Virtual NIC (internal network)
      • SQL Server 2000
      • Visual Source Safe
    • Virtual System 3 - Terminal Server
      • 2003 Server
      • Virtual NIC (internal Network)
      • Visual Studio .NET
      • OneNote
      • InfoPath
      • Access
      • NUnit
      • NDoc
      • NMock
      • A few other tools

    The TS system is setup in a secure way to let each user develop and debug both winforms application and asp.net application (thanks to AppPools). It has been a very nice setup and students are really enjoying the environment.

    The one major problem is that NO ONE else at the university understands the servers and since I am moving across the country (to Redmond Smiley) in about 24 days they are frantically begging me now to explaing things (which I tried to do in the past). We are planning a seminar in the next 2 weeks so that a few faculty members can see how things work, but my guess is that I will be getting alot of phone calls over the next year.

    Anyhow just a tribute to the beauty I see in the virtualized environments Smiley. Sorry for the book...

  • I just finished watching the clip and I was really impressed. Despite the negative press ActiveX has been getting and the calls to get rid of it outright, this demo really shows the power of the technology. One of the things I really envy about Virtual Server 2005 that VirtualPC 2004 and VMware are missing is the open API. The web interface is also very cool. All in all a great interview/demo.
  • William Staceystaceyw Before C# there was darkness...
    Cool stuff Robert.
    The explorer style management is cool.  One can imagine a Whitehorse management experience.  The canvas represents the current state of the VMs, routers and networks with connectoids between them.  You can add new routers, VMs (etc) using "Add New..." from a right-click on the canvas and add it to the correct subnet.  Now you can visually see how objects are hooked up.  Naturally, you would be able to right-click on any object and to do things like: See console, see GUI screen in a window, start, stop, save point, start network monitor, etc.  You could also drill into an object/device.  So double click on a VM and you get a new canvas with all the objects that may be exposed (servers, apps, devices).  Eventually, you could even drill down to a .Net service and see the c# class designer for that app.  Or drill down to a Sql server and see all the Service Broker Queues and manage them in a "class designer" way.  Naturally, this is bigger then just VPC/VServer.  You should be able to do all the same things against real boxes and manage them the same way.  Lots of cool UI tooling opportunities here.   

    No mention of wrapping the APIs in a .Net classes for a native .Net api experience.  Heard the Com apis, but I prefer calling .Net interfaces.

    Thanks!
  • GimpedGimped @caption goes here@
    If any of you are running Virtual Server in a production IT environment. You might want to check out www.opalis.com (not really for home use). The OpalisRobot product is geared towards IT admins that need to create automated workflows. 

    Their core product has a plugin that can be used to automate starting, stopping, adding, removing, and listing the virtual machines on Virtual Server. There is also an equivalent product for Vmware GSX server.
  • TejaaaTejaaa Tejas Patel- The Great
    Very cool interview. Job well done Tony. I am impressed and you showed some of the best things that can be done with Virtual PC's and Virtual Servers.

    Tejas
  • Great interview!

    One thing that would be great in VS2005 would be the ability to mount an iSCSI target as the disk for the VM (yes I can give you a scenario for this!)
  • We have reviewed the video and are currently testing VS to use for our Terminal Server Farm.  We host over 850 users on 20 Terminal Server with over 150 applications.  VS could deliver us a solution of conflicting applications loaded on the same box.  My thinking is that we create VS's for each company.  They have their own VS and Boom! no more application conflicts within the OS. 

    Scaling this type of use of VS is going to be the interesting part.  I will be evaluating each company and thier applications.  That is the challenge.

    Thanks for the New Technology!  Great Video!



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