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I am a software engineer with a little bit of an informal "support" functionality... I am trying to figure out what is the best possible approach to employing virtualization technologies into our development process. Since the code we develop is server-centric, testing it often requires a VM with specific software requirements.

I used to use VM Ware player (free version) to run my VM's until both of my laptops started exhibiting issues with corrupted windows 7 services and dying hard drives. All leads pointed to VMWare, which by the way seems to be a solid product if you pay for the Workstation edition ($300).

On a side note, I have always been a fan of the Windows Server product line. I think it makes for one of the best development environments out there - it is highly scalable, highly reliable, and very efficient. So to be fair I replaced the drives of the laptops and installed Windows Server 2008R2, VS2010 Ultimate SP1, SQL Server 2008R2, TFS Server 2010 and all other tools and API's needed do do my work properly.

So now I am stuck with a bunch of VMWare VMs. I don't want to repeat of what happened before, and I certainly don't want to bog down my machine with an inefficient hypervisor or services that are not needed. Futhermore the VMDK hard-disk format used by VMWare is not compatible with the VHD format of Hyper V.

It is my understanding that converting from one format to the other can only happen by Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine which I have downloaded from MSDN and ready to install.

I guess the question at this point is:

Does SCVM run as another service in Windows? Is it a memory hog? What is a better virtualization technology - Hyper-V or Virtual Box in terms of efficiency ease of use and most importantly - memory footprint? (Keep in mind the development environment already has a ton of services running such as TFS Server, SQL Server, IIS, etc...)

How would you advise to proceed at this point so that the VMs are still used in the test process?

Thanks Martin

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2 Answers 2

I think the best thing you can do is go with the product you're most comfortable working with, this sounds to me like Hyper-V is going to be that for you.

As for SCVMM, its a fairly straightforward product to get the basic functionality going as far as the V2V conversions go. Its a not a huge resource hog so shouldn't negatively impact your other process too much, though you'll need to do a bit of testing to make sure that bears out in your specific environment.

One thing I can mention about SCVMM is to make sure that you're using the same revision as your Hyper-V install. ie: use r2 with r2 and 2008 with plain SCVMM.

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Thank you! @ErnieTheGeek –  bleepzter Apr 11 '12 at 16:26
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Note that released Hyper-V will disable sleep and hibernate. You mentioned that you are using a laptop. This may be a factor for you. Windows 8 Hyper-V won't disable them. –  Jake Oshins Apr 11 '12 at 20:12

Hyper-v has my vote, Nore that in the consumer preview of windows 8, hyper-v is included as part of all known Microsoft OSes (who knows what happens when the they start chopping it up into various versions for sale). I use starwind convertor to convert the VMDKs to VHDs, so you don't need to use SCVMM at all unless you want to migrate directly from a vmware envvironment

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