Joe Webb Blog

Musing and observations about SQL Server, other technogies, and sometimes just life in general

Desktop Virtualization

The past couple of years has seen a great increase in the interest of server consolidation and virtualization. Once considered an almost impossible to achieve ideal, today more and more companies are taking a serious look at its benefits. And those benefits are quite alluring.

I have talked with colleagues who swear by virtualization. They claim that when properly configured, SQL Server can perform every bit as well on a virtual server as when on a dedicated box. So for them, the benefits greatly outweigh any potential drawbacks.

Although I don't have a great deal of experience with server virtualization, I do make quite extensive use of desktop virtualization. In fact, my laptop does not have a single piece of SQL Server or .NET related software installed it. Everything that I do professionally, I do in a virtualized environment.

A recent request from a long time client further highlighted the benefits of desktop virtualization. The client uses a ten year old VB6.0 / Crystal Reports 8.0 application that I support. The application has been quite stable and has met their needs for some time now and as a result I haven't used VB6.0 nor CR8.0 is years. However the client recently identified some relatively minor enhancements that would improve the application. Without desktop virtualization, creating the development environment would have been rather difficult. I wouldn't have had these older tools on my laptop already and I certainly wouldn't have wanted to install an older set of tools on top of a newer version.

But with virtualization, no problem. I can simply copy an existing virtual machine and install the required software. Existing virtual machines would not be affected. In this case I already had a virtual machine configured for this scenario, but if a hadn't it would have been easy to create.

I have six or seven different virtual machines configured for different purposes. For example, I have a virtual machine with each of the following configurations and uses.

  • SQL Server 2005 / Visual Studio 2005 - This is my primary development machine that I use for most of my clients.
  • SQL Server 2000 / Visual Studio 2000 - Some clients still use an older set of technologies, so I have a machine configured with that set of software.
  • SQL Server 2000 / Visual Basic 6.0 - A few of my clients still use VB6.0 applications that I created for them years ago, so I have a virtual machine configured for this purpose.
  • SQL Server 2008 - When I speak at conferences and user group meetings, I like having a dedicated environment that I can quickly configure without affecting my production environments.
  • SQL Server 2005 / SQL Server 2008 - I used the system to test upgrade paths when writing some technical documentation for a recent project.
  • Base O/S install - I use this as a the basis for new virtual machines that I create. It only has a fully patched operating system installed on it.
The beauty of this layout is that I can easily copy an existing virtual machine for a new purpose as need be. This provides me with a pristine environment in which to work.

If you're using desktop virtualization, I'd like to hear about your experiences. Drop me a comment below. If you're not already using desktop virtualization, I'd highly recommend it.

Cheers!

Joe
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Legacy Comments


Rob Allen
2009-01-14
re: Desktop Virtualization
Joe, can you go into some of the technology you are using in order to manage your VMs? Specifically, what VM provider are you using (VMWare, Parallels, Virtual PC...), what is your host OS, what are the host machine's specs and are there any issues you had to side step when building up your machine and VM library?

Also - how do you keep the isntances updated with patches and the like?

Thanks,
Rob

Zak Ali
2009-01-14
re: Desktop Virtualization
Joe,
Thanks for sharing that. Could you tell us a little more about the hardware that you are running all this on. I have been thinking about creating a similar setup.

Thanks

Zak

DamianM
2009-01-15
re: Desktop Virtualization
I'm fast becoming a fan of virtualisation. It's great as a dev server environment, in my last job I set up one physical server that hosted VMs for source control, DB server, build environments, a couple of tomcat apps, IIS6 and IIS7. Loved it.

In my current gig, I'm doing .NET dev in a mac environment using VMWare fusion. It's surprisingly usable and has me looking very closely at a Mac Book Pro as my next lappy.

Joe Webb
2009-01-15
re: Desktop Virtualization
Thanks for the feedback guys.

For the past 3 years, I've been using VMWare Workstation. I find that it's pretty easy to use, stable, and works much better than VirtualPC.

I have a laptop with 4 GB of RAM and a 7200 RPM HDD. I wish I could upgrade to a 10,000 RPM HDD. I find that the disk I/O is usually the bottleneck on the system. I typically run one VM at a time, but can easily run 2 if need be.

My host O/S is Ubuntu Linux. That's the beauty of doing everything in a VM, it doesn't matter what your host O/S is. So I run one that tends to be stable, fast, and consumes fewer resources.

I keep several VMs on my local disk and have external drives with others.


Rob Allen
2009-01-15
re: Desktop Virtualization
Thanks for updating Joe.

I'm hoping to move my laptop (Inspiron 1720) to Ubuntu 8.10 64bit and VM my various environments. The question has always been which VM manager.

Thanks again for the input.

Rob

Joe Webb
2009-05-18
re: Desktop Virtualization
For those interested, I just posted a blog about my virtualized desktop world over on my new blog site - http://webbtechsolutions.com/2009/05/18/my-virtualization-setup/.

Cheers!

Joe

Car PC Dev
2009-09-21
re: Desktop Virtualization
Virutal desktop, it has helped as to show demos of a lot of we applications in a high end notebook. we install server operating systems with Vmware and then after configurations we pause it.when there is a need of demo Can be resumed.

meilleur casino de jeux
2010-04-13
re: Desktop Virtualization
I'm not sure if it's part of the official documentation to VMware Server, but seeing as a few people failed to connect to their VMware Server 2.x using Infrastructure Client, I thought I'd explain how exactly this can be done. Why use Infrastructure Client to manage VMware Server.....

home energy
2011-02-17
re: Desktop Virtualization
I was little idea about Desktop Virtualization but today I am happy to see this article. You have given a mind blowing description of Desktop Virtualization. Now I have no doubt about Desktop Virtualization.

self watering planters
2011-02-22
re: Desktop Virtualization
The database owner is recorded in systemdatabases and also as the dbo user in system database principals.Thanks for sharing the informative post.
Regards.
david77

casino
2011-02-25
re: Desktop Virtualization
Merci pour cet article! Le matériel présenté dans ça m'intéresse beaucoup de temps déjà. Malheureusement, je ne suis pas très bon dans ce domaine, mais je suis constamment à améliorer leurs connaissances.

Iphone for Cash
2011-03-09
re: Desktop Virtualization
The application has been quite stable and has met their needs for some time now and as a result I haven't used vb six.zero.Thanks for sharing the informative post.
Regards.
david77

graywater
2011-03-12
re: Desktop Virtualization
The model stores the resulting virtualized desktop on a remote central server, instead of on the local storage of a remote client.Thanks for sharing the informative post.
Regards.
david77

Regal Palms Resort
2011-03-27
re: Desktop Virtualization
Existing virtual machines would not be affected. In this case I already had a virtual machine configured for this scenario, but if a hadn't it would have been easy to create.

law of attraction
2011-06-10
re: Desktop Virtualization
Desktop virtualization could mean several things. Sounds like the setup you're referring to is a centralized computer center with workstations connecting to it. This means each workstation has minimal components- it may or may not have a hard drive, for example.
You're not buying a brand new PC for each workstation. Most of the real hardware (and maintenance) is in a central location. These setups may cost more to purchase and install, but it reduces total power usage and maintenance costs in the long run.

photographe de voyage
2012-09-18
re: Desktop Virtualization
I am really impressed with your recent blog post. I am going to bookmark your website for future references.