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I want to use Windows Server 2008 R2 as a host, and load RedHat as a guest OS. Should I use VMWare, or does Windows have something built in that competes with VMWare?

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Windows Server 2008 has Hyper-V built in, and Windows Server 2008 R2 also includes a newer version Hyper-V which supports much better backup and integration with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (a must have if you are going to be managing more than a handful of virtual host machines).

While it may not be "supported" many other OSes work under Hyper-V, they simply don't get the integration tools installed. Its a trade-off, but I haven't seen too many issues with it.

That said, we get very good density out of our Hyper-V machines, although we have very low per-VM usage, we see 20+ VMs on a host machine, with 6 drive RAID-10, 32GB Memory, and two quad-core CPUs.

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Microsoft has Hyper-V built into Win2k8.

Edit: I've been corrected. RHEL is supported as a guest

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@tony, trust MSFT to talk out of both sides of their mouth. Sheesh. – Holocryptic Jun 15 '10 at 22:12
well it is what it is, seems to run quite fine for us. – tony roth Jun 15 '10 at 22:31
@tony, I'm not doubting you. IIRC, I had a coworker who managed to install SunOS on a hyper-v guest. My point is that I have a MSFT doc saying one thing, and you have a MSFT doc saying another. But if it works, run with it. – Holocryptic Jun 15 '10 at 22:42
@Holocryptic: From the page you linked: "At RTM of Hyper-V Server 2008 R2, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 and RedHat RHEL 5 will be supported." – Chris S Jun 16 '10 at 12:58

If you want to use a VMware then you can use the VMware player or use VMware workstation - both are hosted hypervisors.

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You can also use Sun Virtual box, as another option, to host VMs in a Windows environment. -

I have tested them all and they would all be adequate for testing.

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