Support for Small Business Server 2011 on VMWare

Posted on 2011-04-25
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Does Microsoft Support Small Business Server 2011 on VMWare Hypervisor 4.1?  We would like to install the SBS 2011 platform on one VM and the Add on Server with SQL on another
Question by:Beratung
LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 35464403
SBS 2011 should be supported (I'd run it in Hyper-V, but VMWare should also be supported).

Author Comment

ID: 35464407
Why would you prefer Hyper-V over VMWare?  I would have to purchase anothe OS license for that would I not?  SBS O/S, Add-on OS and an OS Core for the Hyper-V host?
LVL 42

Expert Comment

by:Paul Solovyovsky
ID: 35464410
Not sure if officially supported but I have run SBS 2003-2010 servers in VMWare without issues
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LVL 97

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 35464623
Hyper-V is free.  If you purchase SBS Premium Add-on for the SQL and second server license, then you get 1+1 rights - meaning, you can install the second server as a GUI based Hyper-V host provided that's the ONLY ROLE it runs and then install it a SECOND time in a VM.  It costs the same as VMWare (ie FREE) and it's 100% Microsoft supported.

SBS 2008 and SBS 2011 are supported as GUEST operating systems in Hyper-V and I'm 99% certain they are supported under VMWare. SBS 2003 STANDARD I THINK is supported as well, but 2003 Premium (because of ISA Server) is not supported.
LVL 60

Accepted Solution

Cliff Galiher earned 2000 total points
ID: 35464712
Microsoft actually has a very sensible approach to understanding virtualizatoin support.

First, they have a list of virtualization platforms that have been certified to offer the performance and services that various MS "guest" products (OS's or applicatons) will need. These are listed under the Microsoft SVVP program website:


Then, each product either supports being virtualized or it doesn't. For example, SBS 2003 does not support being virtualized. Doesn't matter if you use Hyper-V, VMWare, or Virtual Server 2005, MS simply says SBS 2003 is not supported under virtualization.

Other products, such as Lync or SBS 2011 *are* supported virtualized. MS doesn't say "Lync is supported under VMWare and Hyper-V, but SBS 2011 is only supported under Hyper-V." You can see where that would be complicated. All MS says is a product can support virtualization or it can't.

So, as long as you have a product and role that is supported under virtualizatoin, and you are running a certified virtualizatoin platform, you are supported. In your case, SBS 2011 supports being virtualized, and VMWare ESX 4.1 is a certified virtualization platform, hence this is a supported configuration.

Note, however, that just because SBS 2011 is supported, that does not mean that everything you attempt to run *on* SBS will be supported. For example, Exchange's Unified Messaging role is not supported under virtualization. Doesn't matter if you are on SBS, standalone, or some other configuration, if you enable that role while virtualized (Hyper-V, VMWare, doesn't matter), you are now in an unsupported state. So plan carefully.

LVL 42

Expert Comment

by:Paul Solovyovsky
ID: 35464785
If everything that Microsoft stated was unsupported over 50% of all servers wouldn't be virtualized.  I've virtualized thousands of servers and as long as we're a partner they state that "we'll assist but we can't guarantee results" which is tru even if they support a product.

Just in case I keep a trial copy of Symantec BESR and put it on physical hardware to prove the tier 1 overseas tech support that it's the freakin software..

Sorry for the rant..it's late but that's my $.02

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