“Based on my experience with Virtual PC I would say that Virtual Server does not seem to have made significant performance improvements over Virtual PC. However, for many IT consolidation projects the performance penalty could be acceptable. Many older IT applications run on slower hardware and are not used heavily, and so Virtual Server will be a perfect fit. However, for your mission critical apps, you will certainly want to stick to ‘real’ rather than virtual servers.”
Review: Microsoft Virtual Server 2005
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2005-10-07 11:30 pmAnonymous
I wonder how “real” VMWare is. After all, they don’t want anyone releasing comparisons against other virtual software.
At work we use Virtual server to run older software and a printserver. There are times when we suffer from low performance, but then most of the times the virtual server is doing nothing. Same with Virtual PC, I use it to test software and run one instance with all administrative tools, logged in with admin rights.
Virtual server, or any virtual machine for that matter is useful for things that don’t run often, or don’t need much performance. Trying to run full servers with performance hungry services is idiocy.
I can only see one version that has any real benefit, and that’s ESX server because it can cluster the backend. (afaik, ianal, imho, etc)
2005-10-08 2:12 amAnonymous
I run Win2k svr as a guest OS on a Linux host using VMWare workstation. It works amazingly well- no performance issues at all. In fact I would have had to use Win2003 svr if I wanted to run it directly on the hardware (64-bit quad opteron, scsi raid-5, 16gigs ram, dual gigabit ethernet) and I was not interested in upgrading to it.
We use the Win2k svr as a terminal server and front-end for our thin clients to deliver custome windows apps. The linux server of course runs as a multi-purpose server (web, FTP, database, mail, file, print) in character mode and does its job very well. I’m frequently rebooting the win server (patches, software installs, etc.) but the Linux server has uptimes of 6 months or more so I get the stability of true server with the convenience of Windows using this approach.
I discovered the other day that Virtual Server does NOT support the Via CPU in my mini-itx motherboard. When reading the system requirements on Microsofts website it does specify CPU Brands and Models. There are probably others so if you don’t have a Celeron, Pentium III, Pentium 4, Xeon, Opteron, Athlon or Duron processor, stick with Virutal PC which does run on at least my mini-itx board.
2005-10-07 11:15 pmAnonymous
Sorry, but this one is just too hard to pass up. Why are you using Virtual SERVER on a mini-itx system? Why would MS support this configuration? This reminds me of all the copies of 2000 Advanced server I’ve seen bootlegged over the years. Esp. considering that these versions often have NOTHING to offer the home user and often remove features that are useful to the average user.
2005-10-08 12:44 amBeryllium
mATX motherboards are generally cheap and widely available, and they tend to be used a lot in smaller businesses for most PC configurations, be they servers or workstations.
2005-10-08 4:58 amDually
These smaller business must be really really really small. But a smaller business generally doesnt want to pay more for less. But I know Via has a stronger pull in Asia than north America so I could be wrong. But their matx board/chip combos are more money and less raw power than most systems in their price range here. Heck even mini cases cost more than mid towers that atleast offer a level of expansion. Perhaps for server space via may have an advantage though. But small business dont have 500 servers to pack into a room… more like 4 or 5.
And VS2005 SP1 is due out very soon. It’s in beta now and supports hyperthreading. I have used both VS2005SP1b and VMWare ESX server and by far prefer VS2005SP1b for performance and the fact that its a huge lie that ESX runs directly on hardware. In fact, it runs on vmnix (i.e. linux).
2005-10-08 3:07 amAnonymous
Its not a lie that ESX runs directly on the hardware. What they are basically saying is that all software has been built directly into the OS. Basically they took RH and stripped it down to remove all non essential processes. While VMware workstation takes up about 15-20% overhead for the OS and the actual software, ESX cuts that down to about 5%. That means you get 95% of the power of your hardware for use in virtual machines. On a Windows server you are looking at probably 75% or less due to overhead. Plus, vmware has a lot more networking options built in to it.
2005-10-08 10:24 amAnonymous
SP1 for VS2005 won’t see the light. MS decided to drop SP1 in favor of a new VS version called Virtual Server R2
Full details at http://bink.nu/Article4748.bink
We also did some testing with the SP1 beta installed and discovered some significant performance enhancements.
I am willing to bet it was the 512mb of memory that killed the performance in this test. Upping the memory would have probably increased peformance drasticaly.
I work as an intern for a Univeristy and we run most of our Windows servers under VMWare on Linux (Fedora, RedHat Enterprise). We have a good number of small applications used by the different academic and administrative departments that rely on either a MSSQL database, an asp web service or something like that and this solutions works great.
You expect to test a server class VM solution with 512MB of RAM and a single CPU on your host?
The smallest VM host system I run has 4GB of RAM and dual CPUs, the largest has 40GB of RAM and 8 CPUs. That’s the kind of system you need to test on!
There is a relatively insignificant market for Windows virtualization. By this I mean virtualizing mixed-mode virtual machines on a windows host. Anyone who is running a machine large enough to worry about utilization, isolation, and availability (not to mention newer stuff like fault tolerance, checkpoint restart, and live migration) is not a Windows customer. They are either running architectures that Windows does not support (mainly SPARC and POWER) or running Solaris/Linux on beefy x86/x86-64 configurations.
There’s no question that a significant market exists for running Windows as a virtual machine, providing services like AD, Exchange, and other longterm Windows niches in the enterprise. But this will be done using the virtualization technologies provided by UNIX/Linux vendors. If MS Virtual Server has a viable future, it is limited to the PCAnywhere marketspace.
It remains to be seen if Longhorn Server changes the ballgame for Windows in the datacenter. It seems like the end result of a radical departure from the Windows heritage that started with Windows Sever 2003. To go out on a limb, I would say that Longhorn Server is Microsoft’s first operating system designed with servers in mind. Back in the late 1980’s a company called Sun Microsystems invented the server, and with Win2k3 and Longhorn Server MS is finally jumping on the bandwagon. There are a number of “roles” for Longhorn that IT departments will rarely use (including virtualization, networking (router), and security (firewall)) because they just don’t fit the Windows niche.
Microsoft knows how much their UNIX competitors are investing in virtualization, and how much more hardware support for virtualized environments they have, so it is no surprise that Microsoft isn’t investing heavily as well. The MS Virtualization Server seems like a placeholder in their horizontal integration strategy.
warning – astroturfing:
By the way, keep your eyes peeled for IBM Workload Management, formerly codenamed Corrals, which is now available as a limited release for AIX and Linux on POWER. In a nutshell, a Corral is like a Solaris Container, but it additionally supports accounting/quotas for hardware resources and live migration to other LPARS (local or remote). AIX 5.3 ML3 has also been released, with a boat load of new features and fixes, including checkpoint restart throughout the kernel.
2005-10-10 10:21 amAnonymous
[/i]By the way, keep your eyes peeled for IBM Workload Management, formerly codenamed Corrals, which is now available as a limited release for AIX and Linux on POWER.[i]
Any links for more info?
> However, for your mission critical apps, you will certainly want to stick to ‘real’ rather than virtual servers.”
We are moving *from* what he calls “real” servers *to* virtual servers using VMWare GSX and ESX, because they are much easier to administrate. So I don’t understand why anyone would want to stick with hundreds of grey boxes in his basement.
The point of this software is not to compete with any virual pc app. What I would use it for is to run virtual servers that I didn’t want to fool with in a crash. I wouldn’t use it for critical uses but for mundane uses. The abitity of it to restore from file is it’s main feature. Even a ghost image to machine takes time. This way one could just save a copy of a prebuilt system and poof, it is restored in as long as it takes to copy a file from off machine storage. If you wish you could do a ntbackup restore on the file to the last backup state much faster than one could rebuild a server. It will never be as fast in usage but I think the numbers for hardware versus software dollars make this an interesting niche product.
This “reviewer” clearly made some mistakes. Virtual Server is defnitely faster than Virtual PC. My company uses them both. It sounds like he reviewed this on a memory starved machine, probably forgot to install the VM Additions or both.
BTW: I’ve been using the widely available beta of the next Virtual Server release (I think MS is calling it R2 now instead of SP1) and it is substantially faster. You should re-review this when it comes out.
However, for your mission critical apps, you will certainly want to stick to ‘real’ rather than virtual servers.”
Or a REAL virtual server, like VMWare.