Best OS to run VM ?

Discussion in 'Windows 64bit' started by Mark Natto, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. Mark Natto

    Mark Natto Guest

    I am planning to built a new PC purely for the purpose of running VM, both
    Virtual-PC and VMware, the hardware consist of the following :
    Intel QX6700 with 4x2GB on a Asus P5N-E SLI, bunch of drives on RAID6
    Hardware wise I have no problem, just wondering the best OS to use for the
    tasks, the host OS wont do anything else other than running VM, it wont be
    for production, more to do with swinging.

    The choice is not great as I am no Linux expert, so all are Win based.
    XP64
    VistaBusiness64
    Server2003 as they can all address above 4GB

    Could you guys recommend the best one to use and any reasons to why, I am
    gearing towards XP64 as the footprint is smaller.
    thanks
     
    Mark Natto, Jun 16, 2008
    #1
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  2. Currently the major question would be whether you need USB
    support in the VM?

    VMware has USB 2.0 support. VMware allows 64-bit hosts.
    Workstation can build VMs but is not free, Player is.

    VPC has no USB support. I don't think VPC allows 64-bit
    hosts. VPC is free.

    Otherwise there probably isn't a significant difference.


    Mark Natto wrote:
    > I am planning to built a new PC purely for the purpose of running VM, both
    > Virtual-PC and VMware, the hardware consist of the following :
    > Intel QX6700 with 4x2GB on a Asus P5N-E SLI, bunch of drives on RAID6
    > Hardware wise I have no problem, just wondering the best OS to use for the
    > tasks, the host OS wont do anything else other than running VM, it wont be
    > for production, more to do with swinging.
    >
    > The choice is not great as I am no Linux expert, so all are Win based.
    > XP64
    > VistaBusiness64
    > Server2003 as they can all address above 4GB
    >
    > Could you guys recommend the best one to use and any reasons to why, I am
    > gearing towards XP64 as the footprint is smaller.
    > thanks
    >
    >
     
    Bobby Johnson, Jun 16, 2008
    #2
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  3. Mark Natto

    Mark Natto Guest

    Hi Bobby
    No need for USB2, as its purely for creating test servers and swing servers
    across new hardware
    I am sure I saw VPC has both 32 and 64bits but cant be 100%
    Buying VMware is no big deal if it can saves me space and time.
    Thanks

    "Bobby Johnson" <> wrote in message
    news:O8YRXS$...
    > Currently the major question would be whether you need USB support in the
    > VM?
    >
    > VMware has USB 2.0 support. VMware allows 64-bit hosts. Workstation can
    > build VMs but is not free, Player is.
    >
    > VPC has no USB support. I don't think VPC allows 64-bit hosts. VPC is
    > free.
    >
    > Otherwise there probably isn't a significant difference.
    >
    >
    > Mark Natto wrote:
    >> I am planning to built a new PC purely for the purpose of running VM,
    >> both Virtual-PC and VMware, the hardware consist of the following :
    >> Intel QX6700 with 4x2GB on a Asus P5N-E SLI, bunch of drives on RAID6
    >> Hardware wise I have no problem, just wondering the best OS to use for
    >> the tasks, the host OS wont do anything else other than running VM, it
    >> wont be for production, more to do with swinging.
    >>
    >> The choice is not great as I am no Linux expert, so all are Win based.
    >> XP64
    >> VistaBusiness64
    >> Server2003 as they can all address above 4GB
    >>
    >> Could you guys recommend the best one to use and any reasons to why, I am
    >> gearing towards XP64 as the footprint is smaller.
    >> thanks

    >
     
    Mark Natto, Jun 16, 2008
    #3
  4. I use Vista Ultimate x64 but Business x64 should do just fine. There is a
    lot more device driver support for Vista x64 than for XP Pro x64 so I would
    stick with Vista.

    "Mark Natto" <> wrote in message
    news:uU7xqz%...
    >I am planning to built a new PC purely for the purpose of running VM, both
    >Virtual-PC and VMware, the hardware consist of the following :
    > Intel QX6700 with 4x2GB on a Asus P5N-E SLI, bunch of drives on RAID6
    > Hardware wise I have no problem, just wondering the best OS to use for the
    > tasks, the host OS wont do anything else other than running VM, it wont be
    > for production, more to do with swinging.
    >
    > The choice is not great as I am no Linux expert, so all are Win based.
    > XP64
    > VistaBusiness64
    > Server2003 as they can all address above 4GB
    >
    > Could you guys recommend the best one to use and any reasons to why, I am
    > gearing towards XP64 as the footprint is smaller.
    > thanks
    >
     
    Colin Barnhorst, Jun 16, 2008
    #4
  5. Server 2k8 running as Server Core, with Hyper-V as your virtualization
    solution. The overhead from Server Core is trivial, and it provides a very
    small attack surface, though that will be less of an issue for this
    scenario. You'll load the actual Hyper-V management applications onto a
    Vista box somewhere on the network so you can manage and create VMs.

    Virtual PC will NOT support 64-bit guests. 64-bit hosts only. VMWare will do
    64-bit guests, as will Hyper-V. Of the OS's listed, IF you have the drivers,
    XP x64 is lower overhead by a substantial amount compared to Vista 64.

    --
    Charlie.
    http://msmvps.com/blogs/xperts64
    http://mvp.support.microsoft.com/profile/charlie.russel


    "Mark Natto" <> wrote in message
    news:uU7xqz%...
    >I am planning to built a new PC purely for the purpose of running VM, both
    >Virtual-PC and VMware, the hardware consist of the following :
    > Intel QX6700 with 4x2GB on a Asus P5N-E SLI, bunch of drives on RAID6
    > Hardware wise I have no problem, just wondering the best OS to use for the
    > tasks, the host OS wont do anything else other than running VM, it wont be
    > for production, more to do with swinging.
    >
    > The choice is not great as I am no Linux expert, so all are Win based.
    > XP64
    > VistaBusiness64
    > Server2003 as they can all address above 4GB
    >
    > Could you guys recommend the best one to use and any reasons to why, I am
    > gearing towards XP64 as the footprint is smaller.
    > thanks
    >
     
    Charlie Russel - MVP, Jun 17, 2008
    #5
  6. Mark Natto

    DevilsPGD Guest

    In message <uU7xqz#> "Mark Natto"
    <> wrote:

    >I am planning to built a new PC purely for the purpose of running VM, both
    >Virtual-PC and VMware, the hardware consist of the following :
    >Intel QX6700 with 4x2GB on a Asus P5N-E SLI, bunch of drives on RAID6
    >Hardware wise I have no problem, just wondering the best OS to use for the
    >tasks, the host OS wont do anything else other than running VM, it wont be
    >for production, more to do with swinging.
    >
    >The choice is not great as I am no Linux expert, so all are Win based.
    >XP64
    >VistaBusiness64
    >Server2003 as they can all address above 4GB
    >
    >Could you guys recommend the best one to use and any reasons to why, I am
    >gearing towards XP64 as the footprint is smaller.


    I'd definitely look at 2008 Core x64 w/Hyper-V, if you're willing to
    live with the RC-1 status, or can wait for the release.
     
    DevilsPGD, Jun 17, 2008
    #6
  7. Bobby Johnson wrote:

    >Currently the major question would be whether you need USB support in the
    >VM?
    >
    >VMware has USB 2.0 support. VMware allows 64-bit hosts. Workstation can
    >build VMs but is not free, Player is.


    VMWare Server is also free. The VMWare lineup also supports x64 *guests*
    (on compatible x64 h/w - not all x64 h/w is!).


    >VPC has no USB support. I don't think VPC allows 64-bit hosts. VPC is
    >free.


    Yes, it does support x64 on the host. As does Virtual Server. But you need
    to go to Hyper-V (currently a beta product) to get x64 guest support from
    MS.

    --
    Steve Foster [SBS MVP]
    ---------------------------------------
    MVPs do not work for Microsoft. Please reply only to the newsgroups.
     
    Steve Foster [SBS MVP], Jun 17, 2008
    #7
  8. Charlie Russel - MVP wrote:

    >Server 2k8 running as Server Core, with Hyper-V as your virtualization
    >solution. The overhead from Server Core is trivial, and it provides a very
    >small attack surface, though that will be less of an issue for this
    >scenario. You'll load the actual Hyper-V management applications onto a
    >Vista box somewhere on the network so you can manage and create VMs.


    Charlie,

    If I wanted to reduce my box count, and merge my VM machine (with 64-bit
    guests) with my ISA firewall, how would you do it? What's the safest way
    to make that combo happen?

    Or am I pipe-dreaming (again)?

    --
    Steve Foster [SBS MVP]
    ---------------------------------------
    MVPs do not work for Microsoft. Please reply only to the newsgroups.
     
    Steve Foster [SBS MVP], Jun 17, 2008
    #8
  9. Thanks for the corrections. I certainly intended 64-bit
    guests and not hosts. Must have been one of those brain farts!



    Steve Foster [SBS MVP] wrote:
    > Bobby Johnson wrote:
    >
    >> Currently the major question would be whether you need USB support in
    >> the VM?
    >>
    >> VMware has USB 2.0 support. VMware allows 64-bit GUESTs. Workstation
    >> can build VMs but is not free, Player is.

    >
    > VMWare Server is also free. The VMWare lineup also supports x64 *guests*
    > (on compatible x64 h/w - not all x64 h/w is!).
    >
    >
    >> VPC has no USB support. I don't think VPC allows 64-bit GUESTs. VPC
    >> is free.

    >
    > Yes, it does support x64 on the host. As does Virtual Server. But you
    > need to go to Hyper-V (currently a beta product) to get x64 guest
    > support from MS.
    >
     
    Bobby Johnson, Jun 17, 2008
    #9
  10. Hmmmm. Safest? Or most useful? (and this discussion probably belongs over on
    ms.pub.virtualserver, but who cares.)

    Safest all virtual solution (though probably not supported because of
    virtualizing ISA):
    1.) Parent partition: Core. Only server Role: Hyper-V. not domain joined.
    2.) Child: 32-bit Windows Server w/ ISA. Two NICs (probably have to be
    legacy, at least the internal one). NIC #1 connects to the outside world.
    NIC #2 is a "Private" NIC - no connection even to the host.
    3.) Additional children as required. Single NIC, connected to Private
    network. Default gateway the ISA box.

    More useful / convenient:
    1.) Parent partition: Core. Only server Role: Hyper-V. not domain joined.
    2.) Child: 32-bit Windows Server w/ ISA. Two NICs (probably have to be
    legacy, at least the internal one). NIC #1 connects to the outside world.
    NIC #2 is a "Internal" NIC - connection to the host and other VMs local to
    the host.
    3.) Additional children as required. Single NIC, connected to Internal
    network. Default gateway the ISA box.

    More useful / convenient still:
    1.) Parent partition: Core or not, as you're comfortable. Only server Role:
    Hyper-V. not domain joined. I'd probably add secondary DNS server roles and
    possibly DHCP.
    2.) Child: 32-bit Windows Server w/ ISA. Two NICs (probably have to be
    legacy, at least the internal one). NIC #1 connects to the outside world.
    NIC #2 is a "Public" NIC - connection through a second physical NIC on the
    host, essentially acting as a bridge, allowing direct connections to the
    outside world, or at least the rest of your network.
    3.) Additional children as required. Single NIC, connected to Public
    network. Default gateway the ISA box.

    Better all-round solution:
    1.) Physical ISA box. Dual NIC. The outside connection should be the ONLY
    thing on that outside segment, except possibly a public wireless if you have
    reason to provide such.
    2.) Physical VM server: Parent partition: Core or Full, as your comfort
    level allows. Same issues wrt roles as above. At least two NICs.
    3.) Child partitions: as above. Here you have the same sorts of tradeoffs
    wrt security v. convenience - do you want to have direct access to the VMs
    from the rest of your internal network? Or is everything going on there
    something that can be done internally, with a limited interface to the rest
    of the network.

    Personally, I'm going with #4 currently, with my SBS 2k3 R2 Premium server
    as the physical ISA box. Once I migrate fully to SBS 2k8, chances are I'll
    repurpose that box as a pure ISA server, since it's a 32-bit only box anyway
    and thus of limited usefulness.



    --
    Charlie.
    http://msmvps.com/blogs/xperts64
    http://mvp.support.microsoft.com/profile/charlie.russel


    "Steve Foster [SBS MVP]" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Charlie Russel - MVP wrote:
    >
    >>Server 2k8 running as Server Core, with Hyper-V as your virtualization
    >>solution. The overhead from Server Core is trivial, and it provides a very
    >>small attack surface, though that will be less of an issue for this
    >>scenario. You'll load the actual Hyper-V management applications onto a
    >>Vista box somewhere on the network so you can manage and create VMs.

    >
    > Charlie,
    >
    > If I wanted to reduce my box count, and merge my VM machine (with 64-bit
    > guests) with my ISA firewall, how would you do it? What's the safest way
    > to make that combo happen?
    >
    > Or am I pipe-dreaming (again)?
    >
    > --
    > Steve Foster [SBS MVP]
    > ---------------------------------------
    > MVPs do not work for Microsoft. Please reply only to the newsgroups.
     
    Charlie Russel - MVP, Jun 17, 2008
    #10
  11. Mark Natto

    Michael Guest

    Mark Natto wrote:
    > I am planning to built a new PC purely for the purpose of running VM, both
    > Virtual-PC and VMware, the hardware consist of the following :
    > Intel QX6700 with 4x2GB on a Asus P5N-E SLI, bunch of drives on RAID6
    > Hardware wise I have no problem, just wondering the best OS to use for the
    > tasks, the host OS wont do anything else other than running VM, it wont be
    > for production, more to do with swinging.
    >
    > The choice is not great as I am no Linux expert, so all are Win based.
    > XP64
    > VistaBusiness64
    > Server2003 as they can all address above 4GB
    >
    > Could you guys recommend the best one to use and any reasons to why, I am
    > gearing towards XP64 as the footprint is smaller.
    > thanks
    >
    >

    Windows XP x64 is the best choice because it eats less RAM than Vista.
    Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V is your second choice.
    If you use the machine solely for virtualization, you may install a
    hypervisor such as VMware ESX Server that runs without an underlying OS.
     
    Michael, Jun 19, 2008
    #11
  12. Mark Natto

    Dominick Guest

    "XP eats less RAM than Vista" is actually an inaccurate statement.

    If you do some searches on Google, you will find that Vista and Windows
    Server 2008 are much more aggressive in their use of system memory as
    cache - to reduce performance delays and sluggishness. With the same
    number of processes running, Vista/WS2008 will use more memory the more
    you have.

    Here is one such article describing Vista memory usage, but there are many:
    http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000688.html

    Users need to get past the conclusion that having lots of memory
    available that is not doing anything is a good thing - it's not doing
    anything to help you! An OS that performs adequately using 2GB out of
    16GB available, or an OS that performs great using 15GB of 16GB, and
    that is smart about how to dynamically allocate the memory as needed to
    optimize use of the system is the preferred approach supported by all
    current thinking of researchers in OS design. Microsoft is not the first
    to do this, it's a well-accepted design.

    That said, I was a XP x64 user on my dev machine for 5 years. With a
    new machine, I opted to buy a Vista x64 system, because the hardware and
    system drivers that run on new XP boxes many times will not be upward
    compatible to future OSs - they are a dead end. This is especially true
    with devices, sound cards, etc. So I wanted a future for the box I
    begrudgingly went to Vista. I did not plan to stay with Vista, however!

    Then I FDISKed and loaded Windows Server 2008 x64 on the box. Before I
    did that, I ran all the benchmarks under Vista, then ran them under
    WS2008 with all the eye candy and niceties re-enabled/installed. For me,
    on average it ran 17% faster! This system had EVERYTHING running that
    Vista has -- this proves there is some underlying sludge that slows down
    Vista (many think it's DRM baked-in somewhere).

    The guys at exo.blog have done the best job of benchmarking WS2008 vs.
    Vista in an article "Windows Workstation 2008 - Vista done right?" --
    http://exo-blog.blogspot.com/2008/03/windows-2008-vista-done-right.html

    The idea of using Windows Server as a workstation emanated from a
    Microsoft guy on MSDN, believe it or not!, because WS2008 is so stable,
    secure, and performs well:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/vijaysk/archi...indows-server-2008-as-a-super-desktop-os.aspx

    If you do a Google search on "Windows Server 2008 Workstation" you will
    find several good sites that explain how to turn on Aero, Sidebar,
    re-tweak to emphasize foreground tasks, and more to make it a wonderful
    workstation.

    This is one of many sites with good explanations of how to set it up,
    it's easy:
    http://www.win2008workstation.com/wordpress/

    WS2008 as a workstation ROCKS, I would never go back to XP or Vista.

    My last reason why I think you should consider WS2008 x64, is that it
    also comes with Hyper-V. This is VM in a hypervisor architecture, where
    even the host is actually a Windows "guest". Hypervisor technology is a
    thin layer of software between the hardware and the OS that allows
    multiple operating systems to run, unmodified, on a host computer at the
    same time. It provides simple partitioning functionality and is
    responsible for maintaining strong isolation between partitions. It has
    an inherently secure architecture with minimal attack surface, as it
    does not contain any third-party device drivers.

    VM using hypervisor technology, anyones, is a huge leap ahead compared
    to VirtualPC.

    All the vendors are going to/offering today hypervisor VM products.
    Windows Server 2008 supports it out of the box (RC1 available right now,
    RTM by August). If you prefer a VMWare solution, they are moving to
    Hypervisor as well:
    http://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/esx3i.html

    But your PC must support this in BIOS. But if you use this as your VM
    strategy, it's faster, more secure, and more reliable/impervious to
    driver problems.

    So in conclusion, IMHO the best solution hands-down for state of the art
    OS and VM support is Windows Server 2008 as a workstation, using
    Hyper-V (or other hypervisor solution) for VM use. To pick an XP
    solution using Virtual-PC as a new solution today is using a 5 year old
    technology solution that is very dated in security, performance, and
    reliability.

    Hope that helps!



    Michael wrote:
    > Mark Natto wrote:
    >> I am planning to built a new PC purely for the purpose of running VM,
    >> both Virtual-PC and VMware, the hardware consist of the following :
    >> Intel QX6700 with 4x2GB on a Asus P5N-E SLI, bunch of drives on RAID6
    >> Hardware wise I have no problem, just wondering the best OS to use for
    >> the tasks, the host OS wont do anything else other than running VM, it
    >> wont be for production, more to do with swinging.
    >>
    >> The choice is not great as I am no Linux expert, so all are Win based.
    >> XP64
    >> VistaBusiness64
    >> Server2003 as they can all address above 4GB
    >>
    >> Could you guys recommend the best one to use and any reasons to why, I
    >> am gearing towards XP64 as the footprint is smaller.
    >> thanks
    >>

    > Windows XP x64 is the best choice because it eats less RAM than Vista.
    > Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V is your second choice.
    > If you use the machine solely for virtualization, you may install a
    > hypervisor such as VMware ESX Server that runs without an underlying OS.
     
    Dominick, Jun 19, 2008
    #12
  13. Oh, I have spent some time thinking about how to ask that question here -
    (suitability of running WS2008 as a workstation) since XP x64 is OEM, and I
    do not intend to buy Vista while I did want to buy a License for 'something'
    that would be upgrade-able.

    This seems to tell me most everything I need to know plus a few links for
    the rest.

    Thanks, Dominick - nice contribution!


    Tony. . .
     
    Tony Sperling, Jun 21, 2008
    #13
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