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VMware "Miles Ahead" of Microsoft Virtual Server 209

Posted by kdawson
from the virtualize-this dept.
sunshineluv7 writes, "IT managers gathered in New York City earlier this week to get advice from experts on when, why, and how to virtualize their server environments. The takeaway from the conference: if you want to run an enterprise-class virtualization platform in production today, stick with VMware." Other wise words from this conference: "Virtualization is a journey, not a project."
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VMware "Miles Ahead" of Microsoft Virtual Server

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  • Binary Translation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DrDitto (962751) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @11:45AM (#16231713)
    VMWare does on-the-demand binary translation (BT) to avoid traps. I could be wrong, but I don't think Microsoft Virtual Server does BT.
    • by angryargus (559948) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:04PM (#16232093)
      Virtual Server does BT (it has to in order to work on non-VT processors), but Xen doesn't do BT (which is why Xen needs paravirtualiztion support in Linux, and VT processors for Windows).

      It's TBD on whether "Windows Server Virtualization" will use BT, but I suspect they'll drop it. With Intel processors it's not possible to do BT when using VT on x64 processors in 64-bit mode (however it is possible on AMD processors).
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Excuse me, sir. Seeing as how the V.P. is such a V.I.P., shouldn't we keep the P.C. on the Q.T.? 'Cause if it leaks to the V.C. he could end up M.I.A., and then we'd all be put out in K.P.
  • VMware (Score:5, Informative)

    by dlichterman (868464) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @11:46AM (#16231723)
    Its also awesome that VMWare Server is available free to download. I installed it on my laptop running Ubuntu and can run Windows XP.

    http://www.vmware.com/download/server/ [vmware.com]
    • Re:VMware (Score:5, Informative)

      by Acer500 (846698) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @11:55AM (#16231913) Journal
      Microsoft's Virtual Server is also available for free:

      http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/virtu alserver/software/default.mspx [microsoft.com]

      Won't run on Ubuntu obviously :P
    • Re:VMware (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Instine (963303) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:07PM (#16232173)
      I'm not sure which builds exactly, but I know I tried three times, and failed three times to put Vista (Beta2 and RC1) on VPC and failed three times. Worked for each buold first time on VMWare. I mean come on M$! Its hard not to flamebait, when they're just failing so badly. What do they think all the developers of the world are going to do with their pre-public releases?
      • I had no problem getting Vista installed in VPC, albeit, it took like 4 hours (dual 2.7ghz G5 w/ 2GB RAM). It also ran so slow, it was barely usable, and I couldn't get sound or networking working.
      • I'm not sure which builds exactly, but I know I tried three times, and failed three times to put Vista (Beta2 and RC1) on VPC and failed three times.

        I'm not sure what you were doing wrong, then. I've installed every build since 5368 on MS Virtual Server 2005 R2 (Release, and with the SP Beta) and they all work. What they don't all support are the VM Extensions required to get any kind of decent performance out of it. Vista betas and the RC1 were slow enough as is; without the Extensions, it was pretty mu
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by StikyPad (445176)
        I know I tried three times, and failed three times to put Vista (Beta2 and RC1) on VPC and failed three times.

        Well look on the bright side: You only tried three times, but you failed six times! That's a 100% net gain in results over effort. If we can find a way to harness your failure, we might be able to use you to power our cities.
    • by hacker (14635)
      And you probably got the poor performance too. Why not stick with VMware Workstation, its much, MUCH faster (especially on single-proc machines) and supports a lot more than Server does (currently).
    • The headliner for this article is terrible grandstanding.

      I was personally present at this conference and literally filled up an entire notebook front-to-back with notes.

      The headliner makes it sound as if the vmware/virtual server take home points were somehow a major item of the show. No. It was so not important that it must have come up while I was on a piss break. It's not in my notes, and I heard no such remark.

      I would think that the most interesting finding of the conference was the very large scale dep
  • virtual bsod? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 192939495969798999 (58312) <infoNO@SPAMdevinmoore.com> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @11:49AM (#16231775) Homepage Journal
    Help me/us countryfolk understand: So if you get a BSOD in a virtual environemnt, are you dead or not? I imagine that with some of the Windows hardware hooks, you'd probably be dead anyhow, so it wouldn't matter if you were virtually dead or really dead.
    • Re:virtual bsod? (Score:5, Informative)

      by joeytmann (664434) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @11:50AM (#16231797)
      Just for that VM. Now if the Host OS BSODs....thats bad for all VMs.
      • Re:virtual bsod? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Em Ellel (523581) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:32PM (#16232679)
        > Just for that VM. Now if the Host OS BSODs....thats bad for all VMs.

        Thats why you run a stripped down linux on Host and no apps (at least in server environment) :-)
        I am surprised there is no "vmware-host" Linux distro - something perfectly barebones and lightweight to run vmware server on :-)Of course maybe there is one and I just have not found it yet ;-)

        -Em
        • Re:virtual bsod? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Tmack (593755) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:50PM (#16233027) Homepage Journal
          Its VMWare's non-free ESX server. You boot directly into a VMWare style OS, where you directly run VMs. It also has the benefit to pause/resume VMs, and even export them to other VM Servers on other hardware. Its like a Game Genie for servers!

          tm

          • by gkhan1 (886823) <oskarsigvardsson&gmail,com> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @01:17PM (#16233573)

            Its like a Game Genie for servers!

            I love slashdot!

          • by Hatta (162192)
            even export them to other VM Servers on other hardware.

            Is there anything Free that can do this?
        • by Jagasian (129329)
          VMware's ESX Server packaging of their virtualization technology includes a stripped down kernel that is basically designed to only run virtualizers. So you get improved performance and reliability due to the simplified host OS. More at the Wikipedia page for VMware [wikipedia.org].
        • by gad_zuki! (70830)
          I had a trial copy of ESX about a year ago and it does exactly that. Err I think it was a stripped down fedorea/red hat distro. Of course ESX costs money and a free stripped down distro is well... free. Dunno, if youre good with linux/unix maybe you and a few friends can get together and begin the a project like that.
      • I agree with the sibling poster that said you should run this on a stripped down version of linux. However, computers fail, linux or not. Power goes out, mice chew network cables, etc. In addition to keeping the host stable, what you can do with VMWare (which is touched very lightly upon in the article) is to take the virtual disk storage off the physical host. This allows many hosts to have access to the virtual machines. So if one host all of a sudden bites the dust, just boot up your VMs from anothe
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jehosephat2k (562701)
      BSODs only crash the virtual environment, not the host machine.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mrbooze (49713)
      I've even seem a VMWare Vmotion demonstration where a guest machine BSOD'd and you could still seamlessly move that guest machine across different VMWare servers, essentially moving the BSOD around.

      Not sure what the practical point is, but it was amusing.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by hockpatooie (312212)
      The body cannot live without the mind.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mcrbids (148650)
      A VM is just that: a virtual machine. It has its own BIOS. It acts like a full computer. It boots off a (virtual or real) disk. It has "hardware" - video card, sound card, network adapter, etc. all virtual representations of the real machine.

      Think of it as a full computer within a window.

      If you boot a copy of Windows, in a VM, it nevers "sees" the host system, it sees this virtual machine in such a way as it is indistinguishable from a real one. The only apparent connection between the virtual machine and t
      • So if i "save" a virutal snapshot, and reboot the host, can i bring back the same virtual snapshot? Furthermore, could it apply to the HDD too, or only to RAM, etc when you restore? If it could, then wouldn't this be ideal to create a mono-instanced virtual terminal which could always be cleaned of viruses with a "reboot to clean saved snapshot"?
        • VMware Workstation does both. It also lets you create a tree of snapshots (and uses copy-on-write between them), so you can switch between your MSIE 5, MSIE 6, MSIE 7, DevStudio, Cygwin, and Borland images all separately.
        • by mcrbids (148650)
          So if i "save" a virutal snapshot, and reboot the host, can i bring back the same virtual snapshot?

          Sure can.

          Furthermore, could it apply to the HDD too, or only to RAM, etc when you restore?

          HDD are snapshotted, RAM is suspended. (I don't know of a way to revert to a suspension instance, but that might be a nice feature)

          If it could, then wouldn't this be ideal to create a mono-instanced virtual terminal which could always be cleaned of viruses with a "reboot to clean saved snapshot"?

          Sure is, that's what it's
  • by Acer500 (846698) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @11:52AM (#16231853) Journal
    It's mostly anecdotal, but I work at a Microsoft shop, and several developers still clamor for VMWare even though we have Virtual Server for free, as it seems to be a lot better performance-wise.

    I'm still waiting for an update to Virtual PC, there the difference is abysmal.

    Also, would it be possible to emulate some other hardware? The current video card emulated by Virtual PC won't support Aero.
  • by COMON$ (806135)
    Does anyone have any experience in virtualization technology in a WAN? Linux hosts vs MS hosts.

    I have been researching the feasability of operating a WAN with multiple domains. Each domain to be hosted as a Virtual server in a central location where the client LAN's are connected via VPN. I have researched a bit of Xen, MS Virtual Server, and VMware. Currently vmware server is leading but as slashdotters we are all tinkerers. I am wondering who out there has tried this setup with vmware or Xen and thei

    • by walt-sjc (145127)
      One of us seems to be confused. WAN is networking - outside the computer. Virtualization is inside the computer. Your question is kinda like asking if you can drive a car in a state that has a river. Can you manage a virtualized machine over a WAN? Yes. Can you access a VM over a WAN? Yes. A VM "server" is no different than a traditional server other than it doesn't have dedicated, direct, and unrestricted access to hardware resources. Keep in mind that accessing an application via a WAN when you have trad
      • by COMON$ (806135)
        Sorry, let me be a bit more specific. I would like to create a WAN where all clients use a VPN to connect to a Virtual Server. This Server would use Server 2003 and Exchange to manage their Active directory and mail. Advantages are obvious, I am wanting to know if anyone has tried this setup (managing multiple domains through a VPN with a virtual server).

        Technically this works, but I have yet to see examples of a working environment. Which means either no one has done it yet, it is not feasable at th

        • by walt-sjc (145127)
          Yes it will work, but the reason people generally don't do it is because these type of applications would be very slow over a WAN - especially when users are used to LAN based mail. Think attachments and shared folders. This is, of course, assuming that you don't have some kind of very-high speed WAN (fiber, T3, etc.) Depending on how many users you have, how they use exchange, and your traffic volume levels, it may or may not be acceptable. You can simulate a wan in a lan environment by setting up a test n
          • by COMON$ (806135)
            Yes I am looking at an 8/2 Cable line the cost around $500 a month where I am at, then upgrade to a beefier line as need arises. bandwith wise I have noticed that our current remote sites barely use a T1 as the shared drives are local to each network. Heck you can drop a Terrastation at a site and run full backups on weekends. As you know the expensive part is buying 15 servers and keeping them all up. If I could buy one large server and keep it at a central location it would cut costs dramatically for
        • Running Server 2003 in a VM and accessing it over a wan is no different from accessing Server 2003 on a physical server over a wan. Running Server 2003 in a VM has issues, but the connection is seldom one of them. Specifically, terminal services in a VM is not what you want, and more generally, many single purpose VMs perform better then one big multi-purpose VM. That is true independent of lan or wan access.

          Also, you don't want to use the vmware remote console for anything other then emergencies when not h
      • VMWare offers you the ability to produce an entire synthetic network, computers, bridges, etc, all as a virtual environment within one computer. There is this issue of calling such a thing a "WAN". Obviously not. But "LAN". Well it's a kind of VLAN, but certainly not as the term is generally used.

        C//
  • by quiberon2 (986274) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:04PM (#16232101)
    The quick and dirty virtualisation is with the Linux-for-Windows Screensaver [thepiratebay.org]; screenshot here [linuxtracker.org]
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      Allow me to be the first to say: WTF, mate?!

      The tricks the FOSS community comes up with never cease to amaze me.
    • by Hatta (162192)
      I know all those words, but that post makes no sense.

      What does a screensaver have to do with virtualization?
  • Real Virtual (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:04PM (#16232109) Homepage Journal
    Where's the study/chart contrasting VMWare with Xen virtualization? Those are the two to watch - Microsoft will just copy whichever one (or features) serves MS better.
    • Re:Real Virtual (Score:4, Informative)

      by value_added (719364) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:46PM (#16232961)
      Where's the study/chart contrasting VMWare with Xen virtualization?

      Probably in the section that's prominently labelled "RELATED CONTENT" that directly follows the article? A virtual representation of the relevant link:

      How does Xen stack up against Virtual Server, VMware? [techtarget.com]

      Shame they require registration.

      At any rate, I'm sure everyone would agree that the vwmare Wikipedia Article [wikipedia.org] is probably the most comprehensive source for information. Comparisons with other technologies are included.
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        Thanks for the helpful kick in the head.

        OT: That comparison says "Benchmarks run against Xen and VMware show that, in some respects, Xen performs better by almost an entire order of magnitude." I wish we geeks had already gone through the kind of discussion about "orders of magnitude" that we had about decimal vs binary "mega/giga" (MB/MiB). I'd like to know the difference between orders of decimal magnitude and orders of binarary magnitubi. Decimal seems an arbitrary order scale, especially when we usually
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by amorsen (7485)
          But binary seems most appropriate, self-scaling according to the size of the base unit.

          I find e more natural.
    • Microsoft funded Xen and then copied the design almost exactly for their Viridian hypervisor.
    • This paper (beware, highly graphic PDF) [infoworld.com] gives a nice overview of the state of the virtualisation union in July.
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        Thanks, that's exactly what I was looking for. When InfoWorld says the MS product is the worst, an unknown one (Virtuozzo, unknown to me) is very good (because of ease of use), and the open-source one is apparently the best (Xen, both of VMs and OSS), it's well worth reading.
  • We have been looking at which technology to go with and I currently have two production systems up hosting virtual servers (one with VMWare Server, the other with Virtual Server 2003 R2). These are hosted on Windows 2003 Servers, and the guests are also Windows 2003. Although both products have been performing fairly well, we have had a few problems with the VMWare server (pausing/unpausing the server through the command line fails occasionally). Also, when SP1 comes out for VS 2003, it will officially s
  • by TheLetterZ (734720) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:21PM (#16232471)
    I finally replaced XP at work with Kubuntu. The one thing holding me back was actually none other than iTunes - yeah sure I could use amarok, but I have purchased a lot of music on iTMS plus I like iTunes' radio channels and iTunes in general. And by the way, I also have a lot of historic Outlook mail.

    I installed VMWare on my Dell laptop, created a 30GB partition (of which 20GB is MP3/M4P), installed the Dell XP Pro OEM version in VMWare, which automatically picked up the system's XP key, and I got iTunes running in VMWare, Office 2003 for historical mail and the odd Word/Powerpoint/Excel documents which OpenOffice 2 has difficulties handling.

    I guess the ironic part here is that I had to install an antivirus program on a laptop running Linux, but now that Evolution gets along just fine with the company's Exchange 2003 server (even the calendar entries shows up - I am impressed at how good it actually is!), I am in general a much happier human being running Linux, and I have the best of both worlds (depending on your point of view) being able to run iTunes and Office 2003 on my Linux laptop!

    • by nickgrieve (87668)
      I finally replaced XP at work with Kubuntu. The one thing holding me back was actually none other than iTunes - yeah sure I could use amarok, but I have purchased a lot of music on iTMS plus I like iTunes' radio channels and iTunes in general. And by the way, I also have a lot of historic Outlook mail.

      By my count, thats two things...

      I installed VMWare on my Dell laptop, created a 30GB partition (of which 20GB is MP3/M4P), installed the Dell XP Pro OEM version in VMWare, which automatically picked up the
  • The free one is fine for messing around with, and probably better than the Microsoft version anyway on that platform (plus the other stuff it can do), but the ESX is where its at for more serious work...

    Unlike the free version, you don't install it on a server that's already running something like windows server 2003 or ubuntu, you instead install it as the base OS on the box, and then run whatever virtual servers you want on top of that. Its one less layer to worry about, and the performance is superior.

    I
  • Portability (Score:4, Informative)

    by Spez (566714) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:44PM (#16232913)
    I have tested Virtual PC, Virtual Server and VMWare Server and VMWare Workstation for our testing environment, and it seems MS is more flexible in a way: you can easily copy a Virtual Machine from one computer to an other even if they have different hardware. With VMWare workstation, i had strange problems.

    I didn't have any of those problems using VMWare Server, but the web interface of MS VServer was really more usefull for our build machines, test environments and portability too.

    BUT, MS doesn't support x64 Guest Environment... so even though we have mostly a MS environment (using VirtualServer), we had to use a couple of VMWare Server machines to use WinXP x64...
    • I'd wonder what your workstation configuration was, as VM portability is the main focus of VMware. A VM should always be portable between different physical hardware, that's the whole point, they are so stubborn about protability that they won't incorporate certain changes because it requires OS modifications. Everything except for the CPU is virtualized using the same across the board, motherboard type, ethernet card, etc. I regularly take win & linux VM's running on our HP DL585 opteron ESX server,
    • Portability depends upon the generation of the virtual machine. VMware's mobility guide can be found here [vmware.com].
  • Oh yeah? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by duffer_01 (184844) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:56PM (#16233153) Homepage
    Whoever came up with this has never tried to install DB2 in VMWare. Good luck with that.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I used VMWare Workstation when it was just "VMWare" and it was sluggish. However, since upgrading to 5.5 it runs great and every VM I've tried to install on it was a snap. I'm using the Linux host version-- running it on a FC5 system and am able to run Windows-only apps, such as SQL Server, in a guest OS.

    I also took a look at Parallels VM and it looked like a cheaper knockoff of VMWare Workstation. For the price it seemed fine but they didn't (and still don't-- I believe) support 64-bit host operating sy
  • by csoto (220540) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @01:20PM (#16233631)
    Honestly, we're quite happy with VI3, but we need 3.0.1, due in October [vmware.com]. There are a few honestly quite stupid bugs in 3.0 that need to be attended to. The most aggravating part is the license server (based on flexlm, which is usually not so bad). Licensing is the one thing where VMware is going backwards on (although the COST of licensing is quite good now).
  • IBM VM (Score:5, Informative)

    by dayyan (1007043) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @01:28PM (#16233769)
    IBM's Virtual Machine (VM) is decades ahead of VMWare. It was first available in 1966. It's reliability, scalability, features, and more; have been enhanced since its beginnings, it is trusted by the most data and reliability sensitive companies and corporations in the world. It isn't just a hypervisor like VMWare or Microsoft's Virtual Suite--it's a full fledged operating system.

    It bothers me to watch those whom praise this or that without knowing more about it. Yes, VMWare is good, especially for the PC. However, don't lose sight of superior advancements we've already made in the name of hype and evangelism.
  • We currently have multiple ESX 2.5 machines for our production VMs, and are testing ESX 3.0 on our development box. We also have a couple of Virtual Server 2005 R2 boxes. Right now I can tell you that in an enterprise environment, ESX wins against VS 2005 hands down. Virtual Server 2005 is NOT an enterprise level virtualization environment. However, there are some major changes coming with Longhorn's virtualization, which isn't so far in the future now. A lot of goodies are on the way, and a lot of it
  • As for me, VMware really is miles ahead - I can install it on my Ubuntu to run Vista. Or... I can install it on Windows to run Ubuntu? (never tried this).
    I doubt that I could do that on MS Virtual Server.
  • Tomrrow, microsoft will take over the VM market with a marginal product, but will still take over.
  • by dunstan (97493)
    One of the uses for VMware which perhaps was unintended is to enable people to run NT version 4 on up to date hardware. You'd be surprised how many businesses out there have an application on which they depend, but where the developers have disappeared, and they chooses to continue running NT4 rather than update the app.

    And even with the layers of abstraction, a VM on current hardware is much faster than running NT4 on 5+ year old metal.

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