1 we covered virtualization and introduced Virtual Server 2005. In this
next part we will discuss setting up Virtual Machines.
Once Virtual Server is installed, it is time to start adding
Virtual Machines. You first need to open up the Virtual Server Administration
Website. You can do this by clicking on the Start button and finding Microsoft
Virtual Server -> Virtual Server Administration Website under Program Files
or All Programs depending on your operating system. Once you have the
Administration Website open, click on Create under Virtual Machines in the left
Choose a name for the Virtual Machine (VM). This will also
be the name of the .vmc file that is created. By default, the file will be
placed in a folder with the same name in the path that is specified in Server
Properties -> Search paths. If you would like to create it in a different
location, you need to supply the full path when setting the name. One thing to
note is that the name can be changed at any time by editing the configuration
of the VM and clicking on General properties.
Next you need to set the amount of memory that will be
allocated to the VM. Virtual Machines default to 128 MB, but you may want to
make this a higher number depending on the operating system you are installing.
One thing to note is that the memory is "subtracted" from the host
computer's physical memory.
You then need to attach a virtual disk. You can use an
existing virtual disk, but right now we will create a new virtual disk. Virtual
Server defaults to a 16 GB disk, but you can set your own size. You are also
given a maximum virtual disk size, but in reality the largest size the virtual
disk can be is 2 TB (2000 GB). Note that the virtual disk will be created in
the same directory as the .vmc file with the same name. If you chose to create
the virtual disk at the same time as creating the Virtual Machine, it will be a
dynamically expanding virtual disk. If you would like to create one of the
other disk types, you need to create the virtual disk first and attach it in
this location as an existing virtual disk.
This is a good time to mention the various disk types. You
can choose which disk type will best meet your needs. There are four virtual
disk types: dynamically expanding, fixed size, differencing, and linked.
Dynamically expanding - The size of
the virtual hard disk expands as data is written to it. A dynamically
expanding virtual disk can be converted to a fixed-size disk.
Fixed size - The size of the virtual
hard disk is fixed at the size you specified when creating the disk. A fixed
size virtual disk can be converted to a dynamically expanding disk.
Differencing - A differencing
virtual hard disk is a virtual hard disk that is associated with another
virtual hard disk. The differencing disk only stores a record of all the
changes made to the associated disk. The associated disk is not altered in any
Linked - The virtual hard disk is
linked to a physical hard disk on the physical computer. You can convert the
physical hard disk to a fixed-size virtual hard disk or a dynamically expanding
virtual hard disk.
Now you have the basic container configuration for a Virtual
Machine. In order for it to run, however, it needs an operating system
installed. My preference is to install an operating system by attaching an ISO
to the CD drive of the Virtual Machine. To do this, hover over the new Virtual
Machine that you just created and select "Edit configuration" from
the menu that pops up. Scroll down to CD/DVD and click on that. Select the
Known image file's radio button and enter the full path to the ISO image of
your installation CD; then select OK. You can also insert the media into the
physical drive and ensure that the CD/DVD for the Virtual Machine is using the
Now you can start the Virtual Machine. To do so, click on
the thumbnail image of the screenshot in the Virtual Server Administration
Website. You can also hover over the name of the VM and select "Turn on"
from the drop down menu. It will start from the CD drive and go through
Windows setup. Once Windows setup is complete, it will boot into Windows. If
you have a DHCP server on your network, an IP address will be assigned to the
network card of the VM. If you do not have a DHCP server on your network, you
will need to assign an IP address to the VM network card from the subnet of
Once your network settings are complete, open Internet
Explorer and verify that you can connect to the Internet. As always, you
should run Windows update to ensure that you have all the critical patches
installed for the operating system.
The steps above are the foolproof way of setting the
configuration information for a Virtual Machine. The .vmc file that was
created is actually nothing more than a standard XML file. This means that you
can open up the file and edit configuration information for the VM directly. The
Administration Website only allows you to perform certain functions when the VM
is running. With this in mind, you should only edit the .vmc file when the
Virtual Machine is not running.
In Part 3 we will discuss the administration of Virtual
Machines. This will include optimizing the performance and compacting the
virtual hard disks.