Virtual PC or VM Player

Over the past couple of days I’ve been kicking around the latest vm player along with HyperV and Virtual PC.  My fundemental requirement of virtualization is that I can host virtuals up on a server in the office, then pull them down onto my laptop to run locally for out of office work and client demos.

Starting with the Microsoft stack I built myself a nice new BizTalk Server on a Windows Server 2008 R2 guest hosted on one of our grunty office HyperV servers.  All good until I attempt to pull the vm down to my laptop which is running Windows 7 Pro with Virtual PC.  I just couldn’t get the guest to boot from my vhd.  After a bit of analysis I find 64bit guests cannot be hosted on any version of Virtual PC, the CPU is virtualized as 32bit.  64 bit has been reserved for HyperV.  What a joke. 

I have the option of rebuilding my laptop for Windows Server 2008 so I can run HyperV or dropping Microsoft Virtualization for something like vm player.  Which is exactly what I do.  The new version of vm player lets me create vm’s and I have a 64 bit guest up and running in no time.  I took a few attempts at using WinImage to convert my vhd to vmxdk without success.  Each attempt ended in corrupt vmxdk’s that resulted in blue screens on boot.  So eventuallty I built a new environment on vm player and walked away pretty disappointed in Microsoft’s effort.  When time permits I’ll go back and take another look at HyperV and Virtual PC but for now its VM Player all the way.

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