Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE--Machine Virtualization in a Migrating World--April 13, 2004

This Issue Sponsored By

Argent Software

Interactive Intelligence


1. Commentary: Machine Virtualization in a Migrating World

2. Hot Off the Press
- Microsoft Works Out Longhorn Schedule for First Half of 2006

3. New and Improved
- Protect Your Important Files from Invasion
- Recover Forgotten Passwords
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

==== Sponsor: Argent Software ====

Free Download: Monitor Your Entire Infrastructure with ONE Solution
The Argent Guardian monitors servers, applications, any and all SNMP-compliant devices as well as the overall health of the entire network at a fraction of the cost of "framework" solutions. Network Testing Labs states that "The Argent Guardian will cost far less than MOM and yet provide significantly more functionality." Using a patented Agent-Optional architecture, the Argent Guardian is easily installed and monitoring your infrastructure in a matter of hours. Download a fully-functioning copy of the Argent Guardian at:


==== 1. Commentary: Machine Virtualization in a Migrating World ====
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected]

I've been using software-based virtual machine (VM) environments for years to test different Windows configurations and explore Linux-based OS alternatives. However, with recent moves from VM giants VMware and Microsoft, the latter of which purchased Connectix's VM assets last year, combined with a proliferation of high-end PC server-based hardware, it appears that machine virtualization is poised for greatness in businesses of all sizes. If you've overlooked this intriguing solution, you might be surprised about some of the benefits.

Both Microsoft and VMware sell desktop PC versions of their wares, which let you host multiple virtual environments on one machine. Each environment runs within its own memory space and behaves as if it were running on an individual PC. VMware recently released VMware Workstation 4.5, which offers several improvements over Microsoft Virtual PC 6.0, which Microsoft released last fall. Specifically, VMware Workstation 4.5 includes support for local USB devices, directly supports the most modern development OSs (including Longhorn and Linux 2.6-based distributions), and supports the Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) for simpler machine provisioning.

I've been using Virtual PC for years but balked at version 6.0, the first version Microsoft released since it purchased Connectix, because Microsoft cut official support for Linux, removed Connectix's handy Linux setup tools, and slowed performance. As a result, I still run Virtual PC 5.2, the last version Connectix released. But VMware Workstation 4.5's arrival has me considering switching allegiances. In addition to the aforementioned features, VMware is also aligned more toward enterprise use and less toward the enthusiast/developer/testing crowds that Connectix targeted, originally on Apple Computer's Macintosh (Microsoft still sells a Mac version of Virtual PC). This change has several ramifications. First, VMware Workstation integrates more closely with VMware's server-based offerings, VMware GSX Server and VMware ESX Server, making it easy to copy a deployed VM to a local PC for testing if something goes wrong; on the flip side, you can test OS deployments on VMware Workstation, then move the environments to the server for real-world deployment. VMware Workstation also provides support for up to 3.6GB of RAM on any individual VM and up to 4GB of RAM on one PC, letting you access all the memory resources a 32-bit desktop has to offer.

And you'll need that RAM. Virtualized machines typically run more slowly than real computers and often require more memory than their physical counterparts. This difference is less true for legacy OSs such as Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 95. However, my tests show these virtual systems can outperform the real thing running on mid- to late-90s hardware, assuming the host machine is fairly modern and equipped with enough RAM. Ensuring that the host machine is a high-end system with lots of RAM is less important for server-based solutions, in which direct interaction with the UI is less likely; generally it's the UI interaction that really bogs down VMs.

On the desktop, VM technology can serve numerous purposes. VMs are ideal for testing, development, and Help desk scenarios, in which it might be impractical to maintain one or more physical desktops, each with a unique configuration. It's relatively easy to maintain a library of virtual environments, each with its own OS and application installations. For example, you might want to test applications, software services, or Web applications on specific Windows 2000 versions, each with a different service pack or Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) version. And because VMs are just simple files to the host OS, you can simply copy the VM and you have a duplicate environment that you can back up or tweak differently to create a new scenario.

On the server end, VMware pioneered the idea of multiple hosted environments on one high-end server, and the company's VMware VirtualCenter centralized management tool is excellent. Connectix planned to release a server version of Virtual PC last year, but the company pushed back that plan when Microsoft came calling. Now, Microsoft plans to ship that product as Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 in the coming months, and the product will concentrate largely on helping enterprises migrate aging NT boxes to virtual environments that can be hosted on a large, centralized Windows Server machine.

From what I can tell, Microsoft's server plans are single-minded, and I suspect it purchased Connectix's VM technologies solely as an NT Server consolidation solution, which I previously saw as the missing link in the company's NT migration strategy: For many small and mid-sized companies, little incentive exists to move a slew of small, dedicated NT boxes to a newer version of Windows Server. But if Microsoft can convince customers to migrate those boxes to virtual environments running on a high-end version of Windows Server 2003 on modern hardware, the company has opened a sales potential that never would have happened otherwise.

VMware is a bit more holistic in its approach to server-based virtual environments. Although the company supports and even endorses Microsoft's migration strategy, it understands that many customers could benefit from different types of server-based VM use. First, VMware also runs on Linux and natively supports Linux environments, thus offering benefits to more heterogeneous enterprises. Second, in many cases, virtual environments offer unique opportunities for new deployments. Testing and deploying a virtual environment is easier than testing and deploying a physical one. And with a backup deployment or added capacity just a simple file copy away, VMs are, in many scenarios, a no-brainer.

If you haven't looked at virtual environments yet, this is an excellent time to do so. Certainly, the price is right. VMware just dropped the price of VMware Workstation from $299 to $189 for the electronic download version, and the product is an excellent solution for mixed Windows and Linux environments. Virtual PC costs $129 and is an ideal solution for mixed Windows and Mac environments because you can use its VMs on either system. Both products are available in demonstration versions for testing. I'll reserve judgment on the server versions until I see Virtual Server, but VMware's server offerings have been around for a while and are backed by a centralized management console. In this rapidly evolving market, VMware's experience might very well put it over the top.


==== Sponsor: Interactive Intelligence ====
Want to take advantage of the benefits of an all-Microsoft VoIP system while virtually eliminating start-up costs? Now you can with FREE Microsoft-based IP PBX communications software from Interactive Intelligence. The free software runs on the Windows operating system and supports Microsoft Business Solutions applications such as Great Plains, Solomon, and MS CRM. It's perfect for the small to mid-sized business looking to future-proof its technology investment with a reliable and complete converged communications system from the leader in all-software IP telephony solutions. For details, visit


==== 2. Hot Off the Press ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft Works Out Longhorn Schedule for First Half of 2006
Months of customer complaints have finally had an effect on Microsoft. This week, the company acknowledged that it will deliver Longhorn, the next major Windows release, on a fixed schedule, ending years of vague delivery dates and glacial development. The slow move to a concrete timetable started last month when Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates--who in June 2000 stepped down as CEO specifically to have more of a hands-on role with Longhorn--said that conjectures about a 2006 release for the product were "valid." This week, however, internal company documentation corroborated by Microsoft representatives pins the Longhorn release date to "the first half of 2006." And the oft-delayed beta 1 release (originally due in late summer 2005) will ship in mid-February 2005, according to the documentation I've seen. To read the complete story, visit the following URL:

==== Announcements ====
(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

Get 2 Free Sample Issues of SQL Server Magazine!
SQL Server Magazine is a must-read resource loaded with relevant information covering database modeling and design, performance tuning, security, ADO.NET, ASP.NET, XML, and the latest topics that SQL Server developers, administrators, and business-intelligence architects need to know. Try two (no-risk) sample issues today, and discover the timesaving, helpful content the magazine has to offer. Click here:

Free "Group Policy Catalog" When You Attend "Group Policy--Why Management Matters in Your Enterprise"
While Active Directory Group Policy plays a crucial role in helping you comply with industry regulations and reduce the total cost of managing end users and desktops, you must also find a managed way to distribute Active Directory security. Join us for this Web seminar with Jeremy Moskowitz and Indy Chakrabarti for an in-depth discussion about Group Policy and why to use it. Register now!

==== Instant Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll: Microsoft Antiturust Suit
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Do you believe the judgment in the European Union's (EU's) antitrust suit against Microsoft is appropriate?" Here are the results from the 375 votes:
- 25% Yes, the judgment is appropriate
- 51% No, the judgment is excessively harsh
- 19% No, the judgment isn't harsh enough
- 6% I don't know

(Deviations from 100 percent are due to rounding error.)

New Instant Poll: Virtual Machine Software
The next Instant Poll question is, "Do you use virtual machine (VM) software in your organization?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) Yes or b) No.

==== Resources ====

Featured Thread: Zapping Hard Disks
Forum reader Mingle has several hard disks from which he needs to completely remove the data before redeploying them in other environments. The disks are in a RAID 5 configuration attached to a controller. He needs a utility that will perform this task. If you can offer a suggestion, visit the following URL:

Tip: How can I use Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 to install an OS?
by John Savill,

The process for installing an OS on a PC running Virtual PC 2004 (or VMware Workstation) is the same as installing an OS on any PC. You simply create a new virtual machine (VM) by using the wizards supplied in Virtual PC and VMware Workstation. After you create the VM, you must configure its virtual CD-ROM drive to either connect to a physical CD-ROM drive that contains the installation CD-ROM for the OS you want to install or, if you have an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) file (i.e., an image of the CD-ROM), select that file as the CD-ROM to install. You might have to open the VM's BIOS when the VM starts and configure the CD-ROM as the first boot device. After the VM starts, it detects the CD-ROM and begins the installation. Before you install the OS, you can optionally create a disk of a set size and allocate its space to the OS, which could improve the OS's performance after it's installed and running. Look for a review of Virtual PC 2004 and VMware Workstation 4 in an upcoming issue of Windows & .NET Magazine.

==== Events Central ====
(A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine: )

New Web Seminar--Preemptive Email Security: How Enterprise Rent-A-Car Eliminates Spam
Get the inside scoop on how Enterprise Rent-A-Car eliminated spam and viruses, improved its email security, and increased productivity. Don’t miss this opportunity to educate yourself and become a smarter customer when it comes to choosing an antispam solution that best fits your organization’s needs. Sign up for this free Web seminar today!
==== 3. New and Improved ====
by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]

Protect Your Important Files from Invasion
New Softwares released Folder Lock 4.3 for the Windows XP/2000/NT/Me/9x platforms. Folder Lock is software to password-protect files, folders, pictures, and documents from unauthorized users. Unlike slow encryption programs, Folder Lock can lock files in just 1 second. After they are locked, nobody can view, read, or see the files. Folder Lock costs $25 for a single-user license. Contact New Softwares at [email protected]

Recover Forgotten Passwords
Rixler Software released Network and Dial-up Password Revealer 1.2, a password-recovery solution for network and dial-up connections. The software displays logons and passwords for LAN, Internet, and network access. The software application also provides users information about network connection properties, such as connection names, types, phone numbers, or IP addresses. The program stores all this information in one place, and you can copy the information to a clipboard or export it to a text file. Pricing is $19.95. Contact Rixler Software at [email protected]

Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!
Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Windows & .NET Magazine T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to [email protected]

==== Sponsored Links ====

Comparison Paper: The Argent Guardian Easily Beats Out MOM;6480843;8214395;q?

Microsoft(R) TechNet
Microsoft(R) TechNet Webcasts: essential guidance, industry experts;7759917;8214395;c?

Find out how Enterprise Rent-A-Car eliminates spam: Free Seminar;7769422;8214395;u?


==== Contact Us ====

About the newsletter -- [email protected] About technical questions -- About product news -- [email protected] About your subscription -- [email protected] About sponsoring UPDATE -- [email protected]


==== Contact Our Sponsors ====

Primary Sponsor:
Argent Software -- -- 1-860-674-1700

Secondary Sponsor:
Interactive Intelligence -- -- 1-317-872-3000


This email newsletter is brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies. Subscribe today.

View the Windows & .NET Magazine Privacy policy at Windows & .NET Magazine a division of Penton Media, Inc. 221 East 29th Street, Loveland, CO 80538, Attention: Customer Service Department Copyright 2004, Penton Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TAGS: Windows 8
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.