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Best way to Virtualise Workstation

Posted on 2014-02-04
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I am a developer working on several projects and using multiple development tools.

for last couple of years I have used a Virtual PC for keeping versions saves of my applications and also for testing products that we need to interface to.

I will shortly be taking delivery of a new laptop (Windows 7 64 bit) and I am considering going totally virtual for my development tools, I.E.  have a virtual machine for each tool or project.

The advantage of this approach would be that I avoid having to reinstall all my software next time I move hardware and it would isolate each project from hardware issues (of which I have had a few recently).  I also like the idea that I could backup the virtual disk and run on any hardware. Additionally I need to test application releases on Windows 7 and Windows 8 which this would enable.

So my currently thinking is to use disk2vhd to clone my existing hard disk and then use a tool to convert to VDI format and to use VirtualBox.

However, I have read a number of articles suggesting VMWare is "better" than VirtualBox and also about Type 1 and Type 2 virtualisation.

For a workstation such as I am proposing what is my plan sound? or would anyone recommend a different approach?
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Question by:Gary2Seven
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 39831934
I'm assuming if you're a developer you have a subscription to MSDN which means for development purposes, I THINK you can virtualize your hardware installed OS.  Keep in mind this is a partially licensing based question (see disclaimer below).

I would suggest you look into Windows 8.1 instead of 7.  8.1 Pro comes with Hyper-V (provided your hardware supports SLAT).  Hyper-V is a type 1 hypervisor and (unlike Virtual PC which is what MS offers for Windows 7) supports 64 bit guest operating systems as well as dynamic RAM.  I very much avoid all type 2 hypervisors since Hyper-V is available to me.

DISCLAIMER: Licensing advice offered here is a "best effort" and based on the understanding of the respondents. Licenses can change and we may not be aware of these changes or may misunderstand them. Further, licenses and laws allowing them to be enforced can differ by country and/or region and what we understand to be true in our area could be false in your area.  "they told me on Experts-Exchange" will not be a valid defense in a software audit.  All licensing questions should be confirmed with the appropriate licensing authority (the maker of the software/issuer of the license).
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
ID: 39831952
I would opt for VMware Workstation, although Type 2, performance on modern processors is very good, if not close to Type 1 performance.

and you can use VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.5 to create your Virtual Machines, if you have any physical machines at present.

see my EE Articles

HOW TO:  P2V, V2V for FREE - VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.5

HOW TO: FAQ VMware P2V Troubleshooting
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by:Gary2Seven
ID: 39832040
I would suggest you look into Windows 8.1 instead of 7.  8.1 Pro comes with Hyper-V (provided your hardware supports SLAT).  

Hi Lee,

I am trying to avoid Windows 8 for as long as possible, it's just another layer of learning and I am a bit snowed under at the moment.
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