On Virtualization and Image Building

So I’m trying to test out my Images as I’m building them. I’ve found that VM’s are a pretty good resource for testing. I’ve dabbled in Virtualbox, Free VMWare stuff, Hyper-V, and Windows Virtual PC aka XPMode. They all have their pro’s & cons and I can recommend using each one…. well maybe not M$ stuff. I also believe that using a VM can increase the speed of your tests and make you more productive. Although choosing the wrong one can & will lead to frustration and time loss. I’ll try to lay out my experiences and findings and I would enjoy hearing any feedback.

Hyper-V – This product has a long way to go before I would recommend it to anyone. I know that Microsoft is trying to push it the best they can but they just don’t have it to where it needs to be. I’m not going to bash it because it does have some nice points about it. It does what you want it to and it could be a great asset if you leverage it correctly. For my purposes of creating a test environment it failed horribly. It was sluggish and did not seem to allocate resources correctly. The major issue I had is when there was a non-gracefully aka crash of the Hyper-V service any VM’s that crashed with it were missing from the console! Granted the data was still there but there was no way to get them back without creating a whole new VM and pulling in the VHD. After the 3rd time it happened I was annoyed to say the least.

Windows Virtual PC aka XPMode – This maybe great for running apps that are not going to work on Windows 7 but not for testing images. Don’t try it… you’ll just waste your time. It’s even worse than the outdated Virtual PC 2004. (On a side note VPC2004 wasn’t half bad for testing Windows XP)

Sun Oracle Virutal Box – This is the most feature rich free VM product I have ever used. It is a GREAT platform for testing EVERYTHING. I highly recommend this. It will read just about every Virtual Hard Drive format and run just about every OS. I love this product. I run it on a daily basis for various things (Firewall, Router, VPN, etc.)

VMWare Player – This is almost as good Virtual Box feature wise. It’s great for running VMs created on VMWare platforms.

I hope this helps someone out and as always I’m happy to take feedback and offer what ever help I can.