Virtual pc questions

My situation:
We have an older server doing nothing.  We use Netgear SSL 312 for remote connection so people can work offsite.  Currently there is a dedicated pc for each user so when Bob logs in on the Netgear SSL 312, he types in his pc name  (bob.mydomain.com) and he logs into his pc.

I am considering installing multiple instances of virtual pc (or VMWare) on this older server.  I assume multiple instances of virtual pc can be running on this server.  Each virtual pc would be running Windows XP Pro.

My goal is to have multiple people logging in on this server.  

Questions:
 - What operating system should be loaded on this server so it can best host the virtual pc?  Could  I install Windows 2000 server or must Windows 2003 server be installed?

 - How much RAM should be in the server?

 - What web site(s) may give me more info?

- I have to plan a budget for this.  Where can I find reasonable prices for Virtual pc (or VMware)?

 - Which one is best?  (Virtual pc or VMware)?

Thank you
donpickAsked:
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Brian PiercePhotographerCommented:
Virtual PC is designed to run on Windows XP, but you can have any operating system you like running inside the virtuals PC.

The number of Virtual PCs is limited only by the amount to memory, disk space and processing power you have. You allocated some RAM to each Virtual PC (and have to have some for the real PC). On a machine with 1Gb of RAM you could for example have 3 Windows 2003 Servers in Virtual PC each wiith 256Mb Ram and 256Mb for the real machine. Virtual PC uses virtual disks which expand as required,  typical size 4-10Gb each. The more Virtual PCs you have the slower each one gets as the processor and other resources need to be shared. Virtual PC can get slow at times, especially during installation.

Virtual PC is noe FREE and you can download it and get more info from http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/virtualpc/default.mspx


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Alan Huseyin KayahanCommented:
        Hi donpick
           *I prefer VMware and is the best in my opinion.  
           *If you want to run multiple virtual machines with utmost performance, you should install VMware ESX server. But may cost high. Here is the link for ESX http://www.vmware.com/products/vi/esx/
           *If you mean RDP (remote desktop) by mutliple logging, then you have to install a server os, doesnt differ win2000 or win2003. And you will need Terminal services installed and purchase Terminal services CAL (client access license).
          *If you wont load much work for host OS and load all works to Virtual machines, then you should prefer an OS which use minimal resources. That means it musnt't be a server OS. I recommend ESX.
          *http://www.vmware.com/vmwarestore/pricing.html is for pricing
          *At least 3GB RAM i recommend, 1 for host OS and 1 per each virtual machine. Has to increase depending on Terminal Server needs
         *http://www.vmware.com/community/message.jspa?messageID=397824 is place to start to VMware

Regards
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dr_shivanCommented:
VMWare ESX server is mhy recommendation too. Yes the initial startup of installation would be slow but repetition will be fast. Hardware specs solely depends on you. How many machine you're gonna run on it and what applications. Use that figure and then think logically each as a machine. If you allocate it X amount of ram and HDD, would it be slow for the user?

Virtualization do save on physical space but it required a high spec machine to be able to support it nevertheless run smoothly.
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donpickAuthor Commented:
KCTS:  So, if I understand correctly, if I were to install multiple instances of Windows XP on this box, only ONE instance could be running and available at a time, correct?

Or can I run multiple instances of XP at the same time AND each instance be accessible to user input?
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Alan Huseyin KayahanCommented:
         Dont know about Virtual PC but VMware can run mutliple instances at the same time and each accessible to user input.
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