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At my company we are starting to experiment with Windows 8, Visual Studio 11 and Team Foundation Server 11. I want to provide a virtual machine to all developers so they don't have to install the software them self.

Options I've looked at:

  • Hyper-V, not possible because we don't have the server hardware avaiable to run VMs for all developers
  • Virtual PC, doesn't support 64bit software
  • Virtualbox
  • Bootable Virtual PC

What would be the best option? I think of using the bootable virtual pc. The only thing I'm not sure of is if I create the VM on my own machine, boot into it and install all the software if it's then locked to the hardware of my own machine?

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are the developers workstations win7? Also when you say bootable virtual pc do you mean native vhd boot, as an option in a mutliboot? –  tony roth Mar 12 '12 at 13:18
    
The developers use win7 and yes I mean bootable VPC as an option in the bootmenu (i've done this at home and it worked perfectly). I'm only wondering if booting into ties it to my hardware config. –  Wouter de Kort Mar 12 '12 at 13:36
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native boot vhd will not be tied to the physical device at all. We don't call it a bootable virtual pc since there is no virtualization involved. –  tony roth Mar 12 '12 at 15:18

3 Answers 3

If you don't have the server for running a dedicated hypervisor, I'd set them up with Virtualbox workstations to test environments and save some "master" drive images to a central server to copy out when they need to replicate machines. Teach them how to use snapshots as well before making changes to their environment from which they might want to roll back.

With virtualbox there isn't any software locked to your host machine. Guest machines only see the guest machine. You'll just want to make sure the MAC address/network card is changed on machines if you copy the virtual machines, or only move the hard disk while regenerating the VM's individually (you won't want to have the same MAC addresses floating around on the network, and don't set static IP's unless you immediately change them; if running Windows machines you will want to change the name or set up your master images to be sysprepped so they are in out-of-box experience to generate the machine "from scratch."

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Virtual PC does not support Windows 8 at the moment. Only functional virtual environments are:

Hyper-V in Windows 8 Developer Preview, Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 R2, VMware Workstation 8.0 for Windows, VirtualBox 4.1.2 for Windows

I would go with Virtualbox.

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I would set them up to boot to VHD. Scott Hanselman has a detailed walkthough on doing just what you're asking. If you can have them use Server 8 Beta then no need to make your own VHD, Microsoft has one for you. Then you could boot to it yourself, install TFS and VS11, and send them a copy of the VHD. I wouldn't worry about sysprep since it's just for temp test. Not sure but they may have to re-add Win/TFS/VS11 keys if their hardware is different.

Yes as a backup to VHD boot I'd do VirtualBox.

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