Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Windows 7 and Microsoft Virtualization Tools

Well that's disappointing.

So I'm futzing around with my virtual environment on my Windows 7 box. I've got Microsoft's Virtual PC running a VM instance of Windows XP (otherwise known as XP Mode). I've got a project at work where I need a test bed for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, so I wanted to install CentOS 5.5 (because, duh, it's free. Unlike Red Hat) on a VM Instance. Now, technically, Virtual PC is only supposed to support Windows OS, like XP, Vista, and 7, but tons of Google hits show that people are using it to run flavors of linux. Unfortunately, you find out real fast that Virtual PC can only run a 32-bit version of an OS. The installation ISOs balked on boot because they're 64-bit linux. I'm not going to download another 5 GB of installation files just for the i386 version. Fine, whatevs, I'll install VMWare's totally free VMPlayer for running my 64-bit CentOS VM. But I didn't want to install yet another Virtual Machine emulator on my box, I just wanted to use what I already had.

So that got me thinking, just what options are there if you want to stay in Microsoft's world of virtualization tools? Which led me to this this link. Boy, that sounds really simple and elegant. I guess it works, and it would get me where I wanted to go, running 64-bit VMs on Windows 7. But...really, Microsoft? If you want to compete for real in the Virtualization Realm, you're going to have to come up with some competitive tools, not backdoor workarounds, that can be installed on client OS's, not just servers. Otherwise, developers, testers, educators, are going to abandon Hyper-V because you made it too hard, or too expensive, or both.

Okay, close tag on the <geek rant>.

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