How much does the world care about my opinions on virtualisation? Probably not a great deal, but I am a reasonably new convert to the joys of virtual computers, and still get all excited by them.
Like a lot of people I started off with the beloved Microsoft Virtual PC, and frankly when I first saw it last year I thought it was top banana.
That means I thought it was good.
Worryingly the main things I immediately thought it would be useful for were revising for my MCSE exams (yawn) and running Windows 98 without actually having a Windows 98 PC hanging around. Not that I want/need/like Win98 you understand, but you never know when you'll end up supporting one. Or needing one to make a Windows 98 Floppy Disk, which I maintain are really useful.
Anyway, it never occured to me that Virtual PC would be useful for a server, and with good reason. It is, basically, a toy. Sorry, but it is. And Virtual Server just never had that same level of excitement - I don't think its especially easy to set up, its networking is pap (limited to 100mbit - that's so 1998) and where is the feeling of superiority that comes from using something good not written by Microsoft? Nowhere, that's where.
So this is an ode of joy about VMware Server 1.0.1. Its free. Its easy to set up. It can be used as basically a desktop application on your XP PC without having to use a sodding web server to administer it. It looks cool. Feeling of non-M$ superiority fully there. I know its not supported on XP, but it works just fine. Anyway, we installed our first one on a quad Xeon processor, 6gb RAM ProLiant beast a couple of weeks ago and its already hoovered up a load of newly virtualised Pentium III servers without breaking into a sweat.
But anyway, that's work. Its also on my home PC and can handle running Windows Server under XP without turning my PC into a Commodore 64, unlike Virtual PC.
Now, where's that Windows 98 CD...
***** UPDATE Feb 2010 *****
I should point out that in the years since this post me and VMware have seriously fallen out. VMware server 2 was a serious let down with the web interface from hell and my quarells with Virtual PC have mostly ended. And I love XenServer. Hey, VirtualBox works fine too. I do look back on the days of VMware Server 1 with nostalgia though, even sadness.
But frankly, that was 2006...