Virtualization Tools

 

I’ve spent more time than anticipated this weekend ramping up on Windows 7 and some of the win 7 virtualization features. The Windows 7 RTM is available and I’m certainly happy, but this also layers on more work for me than anticipated. Not because of Windows 7 itself but because I just received a new Dell E6400 (x64 with Virtualization Support) and have existing VMware environments (vmdk files). I need to retire my Dell D620 (x32) and start using the new E6400. Lastly, I’ve also been tasked with creating a x64 environment so I can work with some beta 1 software recently received.

Ok, lets now add a few curve balls – I use VMware for everything, not Virtual PC, Hyper-V, or Virtual Server. Windows 7 is about leveraging virtual drives (VHD files) based on Microsoft’s virtualization technology. Also, my E6400 came with only a 160g drive. This presents real challenges. The reality is that no matter how mature virtualization technology is, and no matter how many features assist with adoption (tools and OS features) you still need a migration strategy and should expect it to be time consuming, particularly during periods of transition.     

That being said, my goal is the following – to create an environment based around Windows 7 virtualization technology and the new E6400 that demands the least amount of my time to manage. I don’t have a complete answer just yet, but will pass along some tools that could help you out.

One note regarding the Dell E6400, make sure you <F12> into the bios screen to enable virtualization support. Also, the following list is not exhaustive by any means.

Useful Tools

Note: I use VMware converter because I use VMware products extensively. Use the others listed here at your own risk. Some are free.

XenConvert from www.mycitrix.com – found in the XenServer Download folder (x32 and x64 downloads). Also see http://community.citrix.com/blogs/citrite/dannyw/2008/12/24/XenConvert+1.1+Released+to+Web%3bjsessionid=E5368AD7175C91E4C40FA7B296996E6B

VMware Converter http://curriersblog.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!1FE2EFF5F31CEDCA!260.entry Also see http://www.vmware.com/products/converter/

VMToolkit from http://vmtoolkit.com/ Also see http://vmtoolkit.com/blogs/announcements/archive/2006/11/20/vmdk-to-vhd-converter-available.aspx

WinImage from http://www.winimage.com/download.htm 

WIM2VHD from http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/wim2vhd

The above tools cover migration and translation scenarios like VMDK to VHD, VHD to VMDK, Physical to VMDK, Physical to VHD, etc.

Microsoft also includes native capability using Hyper-V

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc764232.aspx

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc793147.aspx

Useful links to new Windows 7 Virtualization features and technologies

http://www.hanselman.com/blog/Windows7EasyUpgradePathTruthTableChart.aspx

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/download.aspx

http://www.hanselman.com/blog/StepByStepTurningAWindows7DVDOrISOIntoABootableVHDVirtualMachine.aspx

http://blogs.msdn.com/mikekol/

I hope this saves you a little time – Cheers!

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