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Installing a Virtual Server on SBS 2008 Premium

Posted on 2011-09-10
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Hey Everyone -

I have a client who has a SBS 2008 Premium Server and would like to run a small virtual server (2008 Standard) on that server as a print server. I've heard from one of my partners that it is not possible since they should have installed the Esxi server first then install the SBS 2008 and then another virtual server for the print server.

However, I think it's possible since Premium offers that feature with Hyper-V enabled...

Am I way off? Is this possible to run a Virtual Server on an already installed SBS 2008 Prem? Also, is this possible using the free version of VMWare? I looked on their site last night and everything looks a lot different than it did about 2 years ago.
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Question by:tecpub
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 166 total points
ID: 36517486
You are correct, VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) does install on Bare Metal, so it should have been installed first.

VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi)  5.0 is available for free and can be downloaded and registered from the VMware site.

Why does you client want to install a small "virtual printer server" requiring a new Windows 2008 License, when they could just enable the Print Server Role?
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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 36517639
I would not install a VM for a print server. For Hyper-V installations, SBS is not supported running in the parent partition. SBS must be running as a VM under Hyper-V.
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by:RickEpnet
RickEpnet earned 167 total points
ID: 36517642
You cannot install ESXi on to a SBS 2008. ESXi is made to install bare metal.
Also when Microsoft talks about Hyper-V they are not saying install the Hyper-V on the SBS they are saying install the Hyper-V on Windows 2008 then run WIndows SBS and Windows 2008 as virtual machines See the Image.
9-10-2011-5-45-58-PM.jpg
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by:tecpub
ID: 36517664
Wow. Thanks for the responses everyone! We were nervous installing our DC as a virtual machine so it was installed bare metal. The client leases and sells copiers and printers so they'd like a testing environment for drivers and applications.

I think I already know the answer based on the responses, but is it at all possible to run a virtual server on our Server 2008 Std server?
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Lee W, MVP earned 167 total points
ID: 36517821
JUst to be clear and answer your followup question:

SBS 2008 and SBS 2011 do not support running guest operating systems in a virtual machines of ANY platform - Hyper-V, VMWare, Virtual Server, Virtual PC, etc.  Installing one of these virtualization packages can make SBS unstable and/or cause wizards to not function properly, among other problems.  Put simply, if SBS is installed on Physical hardware, DO NOT virtualize ANYTHING on it.  And finally, to be clear - this is UNSUPPORTED

SBS CAN be installed as a Virtual machine Guest OS on ESX(i), Hyper-V, or other 64 bit capable Virtualization platforms.  And there is nothing wrong with doing so - I know many consultants that do it.  You COULD migrate your existing install into a VM and then install ESX(i) or Hyper-V and run both systems off that.  The migration would be supported by third party tools, but SBS in a VM GUEST is FULLY SUPPORTED.

IN GENERAL, it not a wise idea (BEST PRACTICE) to run a virtual machine off a production server that does ANYTHING ELSE other than virtualization.  HOWEVER, I believe it is SUPPORTED for any of the otherwise built-in roles - for example, it is supported if the machine is also a file server, print server, web server, or DC.  Just be aware of the added security risks and potential for service interruptions when patching the host system.

BEST PRACTICE - IDEAL way to configure and install - FULLY SUPPORTED (it is a best practice afterall).
SUPPORTED - may not conform to best practices, but there's no TECHNICAL reason you CAN'T do it.  There may be logical reasons why you shouldn't, but not technical reasons you can't.
UNSUPPORTED - may not work AT ALL or if it does, it can complicate things in such a way that the effects are unpredictable or potentially a nightmare for the vendor to support, as such (though it may be possible), you SHOULD NOT do it or you won't get help fixing problems if and when they arise.
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by:kevinhsieh
ID: 36519184
Your best bet is to take an old x64 capable PC or server (or buy a new one), and use that as a virtualization platform for Windows 2003, 2008 x86, and Windows 2008 R2 VMs acting as print servers. If you only run 1 VM at a time, you only need to purchase 1 copy of Windows 2008 R2 for the new machine. You also may be able to run evaluation copies of Windows server in the VMs, but you will need to check the license agreement carefully, and be prepared to keep trashing and rebuilding the VMs (hint: install the OS and then sysprep it. Keep a sysprepped copy of the VM for easy redeployment).
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Author Comment

by:tecpub
ID: 36520654
Thanks everyone for the good info.

Any suggestions for making a box capable of running a viirtual SBS 2008 Prem and 2008 Std? Are there any good practices to base off of?
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by:RickEpnet
ID: 36520712
First tell us about your host server. CPU RAM and Disk Space.

The way I would do it is use ESXi and then put the Windows SBS and Windows 2008 on that as VM's
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