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I have an application which makes use of Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010. This application performs some tasks requested by a user and then closes. I am going to be putting my application on a virtualised Windows OS using vMware ESXi 4.1

There are two different ways I can deploy my application for production use. Which of the following two options should I go for?

  1. Install Windows Server 2008, add 3 user accounts. On each account install Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 for that account ONLY. Then get my application to run in this way.

  2. Install Windows XP three times and install Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010 on one of each and get my application to run on each different virtual OS.

I have 6GB of RAM available. So in case 1, I will use all 6GB, in case 2, this will be shared out between the three different Installs of Windows XP.

Is there a better option?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you really want your application to run as it should against the different versions you want them cut off from each other - so I'd advise you have 3 x XP installations. If you use ESXi 4.1 you'll see some significant memory savings between the 3 VMs so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

Essentially if you're going to do something do it well :)

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Interesting what do you mean by the memory savings if I use 3VMs? Do you mean because windows XP will require less ram than Windows Server 2008? – Reece Jun 15 '11 at 14:25
ESXi only assigns VMs the memory they need/ask-for, so you could give a VM say 100GB but it won't use all that unless it requests it ok. On top of that if an ESXi host has two VMs with a lot of the same memory contents (such as OS code) then it only stores one copy, not two - also with v4.1 it compresses the memory too. So what I mean is that running three VMs with the same OS won't consume as much memory as you might think. – Chopper3 Jun 15 '11 at 14:27
If only I could +1, the above comment, not enough rep yet. I did not know that and its very useful to know! Thanks. – Reece Jun 15 '11 at 14:34
More than happy to help Reece :) – Chopper3 Jun 15 '11 at 14:37
@Reece you can accept it as your answer :) – Nixphoe Jun 15 '11 at 15:05

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