Met 2 Community Heros today…

I had the privilege to meet 2 community HEROs today.

Vinod Panika from VirtualGrub.Com (Left) & Shaji Firoz from MessagingTalk.Org

Vinod started a community site known as VirtualGrub. Shaji was nice enough to hook Vinod up with me. Thanks Shaji. The local community in Singapore will now have a Virtualization expert to talk to.

Vinod, who works in EDS, has vast experiences deploying virtualization solutions based on both Microsoft and VMWare offerings. He has strong interest to learn and share about Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Server 2008, which has Windows Server Virtualization.

So if you’re interesting to try out Windows Server Virtualization, download Windows Server 2008 RC0 64bit. And if you decided to have it run in your environment, i want to know the great things you’re doing. Get in touch with me at I may give you some help and resources for free.

If you like to read about the success story of Vinod with System Center Virtual Machine Manager, visit here.

Let’s welcome Vinod to the community 🙂 We’re expecting to learn about Virtualization from you.


Microsoft do not support some server software in Virtual Server

Before you happily go rip the benefits of Virtual Server which provided higher utilization and lowers hardware costs, read on. Some Windows Server Systems is not support by Microsoft PSS. So before you load it, give it a thought, particularly if you are a PSS customer.
What it means is, if you encounter a problem and you cannot solve it yourself, you call PSS, PSS will tell you, sorry we don’t support that configuration. If you’re confident enough to do it yourself, give it a go.
From the KB, these are not supported in Virtual Server. (Not supported doesn’t mean it won’t work, it only means Microsoft will not provide you with technical support if you encounter problems.

Microsoft Speech Server
Speech Server requires telephony hardware not available in a virtualized hardware environment. Therefore, Speech Server is not supported when run within Virtual Server.

Microsoft ISA Server 2000
ISA Server 2000 is currently not supported running within Virtual Server.

Microsoft ISA Server 2004
ISA Server 2004 is currently not supported running within Virtual Server.

Microsoft ISA Server 2006
ISA Server 2006 is currently supported running within Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2.

Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server
SharePoint Portal Server is currently not supported running within Virtual Server. Support for SharePoint Portal Server within Virtual Server is expected in a future release.

Microsoft Identity Integration Server 2003
Identity Integration Server 2003 is currently not supported running within Virtual Server.

Microsoft Identity Integration Feature Pack
The Identity Integration Feature Pack is currently not supported running within Virtual Server.

My version of planning a Virtual Server 2005 implementation…

Virtualization !! Great idea !!
Well, its been a while this virtualization technology has been out.
If you wanna get a copy of it, its free. Get it here.
Its stable, and i never had problems with it.
I’m running on IBM x346 fully loaded. Yup, RAM and Hard drive pushed to the max.
In the initial deployment, i had wanted to purchase several of these boxes and use them without virtualization. Well, i did buy about 6 of them and a few other machines. Total costs was about half a million (Can’t remember the actual pricing, i didn’t pay for it. My office did. <grin>)
I had to deploy 6 different servers for different services. I bought these servers about a year back. After the servers arrived, it was time to start loading the OS. I thought i might want to try to use Virtualization.
So i commenced an initial study of the services that i need to provide and i came up with this all in the name of better utilization without degradation in service performance.
How did i achieve utilization with tolerable performance degrade without spending too much money?
Make a list of the services’ activities
1. List out all the services that you want to virtulize (I assume 1 service is 1 server).
2. For each of the server, list out the time where the service is expected to be in full swing (full utilization, aka peak period).
3. For each of the server, list out the time where the service is expected to do virtually nothing (low utilization, aka lull period).
Pair the services up
1. Pair up the services. Pair a peak period service with a lull period service.
eg. An intranet service that runs high utilized during the day, pairs up with a backup server that is lowly/not utilized during the day.
eg. You could also pair up an intranet server that has high utilization during the day, and a print server that is lowly utilized.
The main objective of this is to avoid putting two high utilization services on the same physical server. But even if you do, you can use Virtual Server 2005 to manage and balance the CPU utilization between the 2 services. So its not really an issue, but its good to avoid.
Fine tune these services
1. You can use the Server Manager site to manage the CPU utilization of each of the Virtual Machines. Tune it such that they do not contend with each other. Even if you don’t fine tune, Virtual Server does a pretty good job balancing the performance.
2. Observe the services that you deploy for a few weeks, making notes of performance and utilization. If services are paired and deployed properly, they will not content with each other for resources.
The Big Advantage
1. If you’re using Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise, and using Virtual Server 2005 R2 Enterprise, you are allowed to run another 4 Virtual Machines on the server without having to pay for licenses and stay legal.
2. If the physical server encounters hardware problems that impairs performance, you can move the Virtual machine to another physical server quickly and restore service. (It happened once on me, and i was able to freeze the virtual machine, copy to another physical server of different HAL over my GE network, it was up and running in minutes.) I don’t think repairing and restoring the service is this fast. 🙂
3. I didn’t have to pay for additional hardware which i will not utilized well over the 24 hours cycle in a day.
Yup, i did buy the 6 servers in the end, but only deployed 3 of them to house the 6 services i need to provide. No one complained about performance. They were surprised that these machines was virtual servers. They discovered when one of the physical machine had a problem and cannot be brought up in time, i restored services in minutes and i reported hardware problem. They were saying, "Wah, IBM engineers on site standby with hardware?!?!." I said "No, My Virtual Servers did the job and the server is still down."
But IBM engineers did do a good service. They were down the very afternoon to rectify and fault after i reported a hardware failure in the morning. 🙂 A pat on the back for both IBM engineers for speedy service and Microsoft for the fabulous Virtual Server 2005 technology.
If you are interested in the Virtual Server Hard Disk Format, visit
This is the format that made it all possible for the quick uptime of the service. Kudos for the invention of virtualization. I heard VMWare also has another competing virtualization technology. My stand, use whichever you prefer. As for me, i chose Microsoft Virtualization because i could hammer just 1 party for any problems. 🙂
Have fun exploring Virtualization Technology… Its evolving. Microsoft will have a new System Center Virtual Machine Manager to help manage Virtual machines in an enterprise. Join the Beta here. It Rocks!!