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What Is Virtualization
Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Do note that the VMRC client is not similar to Remote Desktop or Terminal Services. Unlike Terminal Services and Remote Desktop, more than one user can connect to the same server using VMRC. And the changes made by one user would be visible to another. This behavior is by design and is very useful in environments such as classroom and lab trainings.

Figure 10 shows two instances of the VMRC client connecting to the same server; the changes are updated across the clients.

Figure 10
Figure 10. Two VMRC clients connecting to the same server

You can also switch between virtual servers running on the server by going to Remote Control -> Switch to the next virtual machine. Figure 11 shows the VMRC client switching to the Linux Mandrake running on my server.

Figure 11
Figure 11. Switching between virtual servers

You can cycle through all virtual machines easily by pressing the Host key (the right Alt-key, by default) and the right (next virtual machine) or left (previous virtual machine) arrow key on your keyboard.

VMware also has its own solutions for server virtualization, just like Microsoft Virtual Server 2005. There's not enough space in this article for me to be able to test them out. For more information, check out these resources:

Performance Tips

While there are specific instructions to get the best out of the various products reviewed in this article, there are two factors that dramatically affect the performance of these products. They are memory and hard disks.

Memory

Each virtual machine running on the host computer requires a dedicated amount of memory reserved for its use. For example, if you want to run Windows XP Professional on a virtual machine, it is recommended that you allocate 256MB of memory to it. This is on top of the 256MB recommended for the host computer (assuming Windows XP is the host), making a total of 512MB. If you want to run two virtual machines at the same time, you need to have at least 768MB, and so on. In general, you should allocate as much memory as you can to your virtual machine, since that will prevent disk swapping from occurring. For a developer testing applications on different platforms, it is not unusual to have 2GB of memory on a host computer.

Hard Disks

Besides having lots of memory, it is highly recommended that you install your virtual machines on a fast hard drive. The minimum recommended RPM is 7200. Installing on a 5400RPM drive versus a 7200RPM drive makes a lot of difference, especially when the virtual machine performs lots of disk swapping. In addition, it is recommended that you install your virtual machines on separate physical hard drives (if available) and avoid installing them on your boot-up drive.

Summary

In this article, you have seen a quick overview of the three most popular virtualization software programs in the market. If you have not had a chance to try them out yet, now is the time to get your hands on them. And have fun running different operating systems.

Wei-Meng Lee (Microsoft MVP) http://weimenglee.blogspot.com is a technologist and founder of Developer Learning Solutions http://www.developerlearningsolutions.com, a technology company specializing in hands-on training on the latest Microsoft technologies.


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