Some might wonder what a virtual machine is? It is an emulation of real world computer, which emulates complete hardware system, from process to network card, in a self-contained, isolated software environment. Virtual machine facilitates in running different operating system on a host system.
After installing Virtual Server, it’s time to create a new machine to play with. Open Virtual Sever Administration Website in your browser, you will see your server’s status screen, and list of recent events, which you can see below.
Microsoft provides a system preparation tool, Sysprep, which helps in deploying Windows on multiple computers. It has many scenario usage, but we will be using it for duplicating our virtual machines images, so that we don’t have to install all things from scratch each time.
Microsoft TechNet has listed detailed requirements when this tool can be used for duplication purposes, and analyzing that I think our scenario fits in it perfectly. Our master and destination computers have compatible hardware, no extra drivers, and disk are exactly same.
How should we walk our walk for this work, lets list them down.
When I initially worked with Virtual Server, I used default configuration. That caused me some trouble, as I started creating new virtual machines, my system drive started loosing space. I had to move all those virtual machines and their virtual disks manually to another location to release some space. Then I had to add those machines again, after doing what I should had done earlier.
You can avoid this problem by settings these paths after installing Virtual Server. There are two paths associated with Virtual Server.
Virtual Machine configuration folder: this is where virtual machine configuration files, virtual hard disks, undo disks would be stored for each virtual machines.
Search paths: These are additional paths, where you can look for existing virtual machines, virtual hard disks, undo disks, any ISO image files (.iso) that you can use later on.
Considering how I wanted to approach my SharePoint exploration, I had to install Microsoft Virtual Server on my machine. That way I would be able to emulate a true intranet environment, in which I would have a domain controller, and other required resources.
Another reason I had in mind was that, I could save images of these machines at different stages, and then can experiment with different configurations, saving some of my time to redo all those installation again.
I am using Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1, which is the latest at the moment. I have Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 3 installed on my physical machine, with a lot of RAM, and disk space. One more thing I must check, do I have installed IIS (Internet Information Services), yes I do. I have IIS 5.x with me, and it should be there, because Virtual Server presents web interface for its administration.