Setting up the first virtual machine in Virtual Server

Setting up the first virtual machine

After installing Virtual Server 2005, the next step is to create a virtual machine. You can choose any supported configuration to create your first virtual machine. If your deployment will include more than one virtual machine, however, some settings you choose when you configure the first virtual machine can affect your configuration choices for the other virtual machines. For more information, see Setting up multiple virtual machines in Virtual Server.

You have two options when creating the first virtual machine:

  • Create a new virtual machine.
  • Add an existing virtual machine. You can use this method if you have existing virtual machines created with another copy of Virtual Server.

For more information about creating a virtual machine, see Configure Virtual Machines.

If you create a virtual machine instead of adding an existing virtual machine, you need to assign a virtual hard disk to it and install an operating system on the virtual hard disk. For more information about the different types of virtual disks, see Creating virtual hard disks in Virtual Server.

Individual virtual machine settings

Each virtual machine has settings associated only with that virtual machine. When you create a virtual machine, Virtual Server establishes these settings based either on defaults or your input. After the virtual machine is created, you can change the settings if necessary. The following settings have options or restrictions that you may want to consider before you create the virtual machine:

  • File names. Each virtual machine must have a unique file name, which cannot contain any special characters and cannot be more than 150 characters long. The file name including the fully qualified path cannot be more than 256 characters.
  • Memory requirements. The physical computer must have enough memory to accommodate both the host operating system and the guest operating system. The default memory setting provided by Virtual Server when creating a virtual machine is a minimum; assigning additional memory generally results in better performance in the guest operating system. However, be sure to consider the memory requirements of the host operating system when you allocate memory for the virtual machine. For more information about the memory requirements of supported host and guest operating systems, see System requirements for Virtual Server.
  • Virtual hard disks. The hard disk used by a virtual machine is not a physical hard disk, but a virtual hard disk (.vhd file). The virtual machine uses the virtual hard disk as it would use a physical hard disk—it provides a place to install programs and store files. Any amount of available hard disk space may be allotted to the virtual machine, but the dynamically expanding image uses only the amount of space needed by the virtual machine, which conserves space on the physical computer. Several types of virtual hard disks are supported in Virtual Server. For more information about virtual hard disks, see Creating virtual hard disks in Virtual Server.

Adding a virtual machine created in Virtual PC

You can add virtual machines that were created in Microsoft Virtual PC to Virtual Server without making any changes to the virtual machine. However, after installing the virtual machine, you must reinstall Virtual Machine Additions, even if it was installed in Virtual PC. For more information about installing Virtual Machine Additions, see Installing Virtual Machine Additions.

Certain features supported in Virtual PC, such as shared folders and dynamic resizing of the screen, are not supported in Virtual Server. If you install a virtual machine created in Virtual PC, Virtual Server will ignore these features. You do not need to take any specific action to disable them.

Certain physical components are also supported on one product but not the other. For example, Virtual Server supports SCSI adapters, but Virtual PC does not. Virtual PC, on the other hand, supports sound card emulation, while Virtual Server does not.

For more information about creating virtual machines, see Configuring Virtual Machines.

A virtual machine is defined by two files that reside on the physical computer. One is a virtual machine configuration (.vmc) file that allocates use of the physical computer's system resources and defines the virtual machine's configuration. The other is a virtual hard disk (.vhd) file, which stores the operating system files and the application files that reside on the virtual machine. These files are located by default in the \\Documents and Settings\All Users\Shared Documents\Shared Virtual Machines folder. You can also specify the folder where the virtual machine configuration files will be created by default. (Any virtual hard disk files that you create while creating this virtual machine will be stored in the same location.) For more information, see Configuring Virtual Server search paths. A shortcut to the virtual machine configuration file is also created in the \\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Virtual Server\Virtual Machines folder. When you remove a virtual machine from Virtual Server this shortcut is deleted, although the actual virtual machine configuration file remains. It is possible to start a virtual machine with no assigned virtual hard disk and start it from a physical or virtual floppy disk. However, the virtual machine requires a virtual hard disk in order to install and run programs on it.