Contents tagged with Virtual PC

  • My SharePoint 2010 development rigs

    Tags: SharePoint 2010, VMWare, Virtual PC, Windows Server 2008 R2

    SharePoint 2010 is one greedy beast and you can’t settle with your plain old laptop; first of all you need a x64 bit environment and second of all you need some RAM. Developing for SharePoint 2007 required just a 32-bit machine, less than 4 gigs of RAM and Virtual PC and you could do most of your work without complaining to much. SharePoint 2010 requires some more thought through development environment .

    First of all you need a 64-bit platform and at least 8GB of RAM, that’s what I’m having now on my HP EliteBook 6930p. So far this machine has worked really smooth; I run Windows 7 as the main OS on it.

    Second, you can’t use Virtual PC – it’s 32 bit only! So if you like to live in the Microsoft world you have to install a Windows Server OS on your laptop of use Windows 7 VHD boot. I want to have access to my desktop applications and my main OS so I’ve walked down the VMWare path a couple of months ago and I’m currently using VMWare Workstation 7 – it’s an awesome virtualization software and I am not going back!

    Third, you need disk space – go get some USB or ESATA hard drives. If you are going to have a single setup of your SharePoint 2010 virtual machine – this may not be necessary, but if you are like me and like to be able to create snapshots, have multiple clones, non-expanding virtual disks then most probably your internal laptop disk won’t last long.

    I have two main sets of SharePoint 2010 development rigs right now:

    • A single virtual machine approach
    • A multiple virtual machine approach

    Single Machine Approach

    The single virtual machine SharePoint 2010 is an easy option; it’s a Windows Server 2008 R2 machine with 4-6GB of RAM and it runs everything from Active Directory to SQL Server to SharePoint to Visual Studio 2010. This rig is great if I want to do something quick.

    Multiple Machine Approach

    This rig is more complex, but also offers a better flexibility. VMWare Workstation offers you to create teams of virtual machines and I’ve set up a team of three servers:

    • 1 Windows Server 2008 R2 Core running Active Directory with 512 MB of RAM
    • 1 Windows Server 2008 R2 running SQL Server 2008 with 1024 MB of RAM
    • 1 Windows Server 2008 R2 running SharePoint 2010 and all apps with 4096 MB of RAM

    I find this multiple machine approach to be better performing, although it takes longer to start up and to shut down. Creating the Server Core machine with AD is probably the best thing about it, took me some time to get acquainted to the Server Core environment, but with some PowerShell love it worked like a charm.

    Only drawback with the VMWare team approach is that you can’t run your machines in Unity mode.

    I will try a third option; AD on Server Core on one machine and the rest on a single server – I think it will work great as well.

    Other machines

    I also have a Windows 7 virtual machine, that is joined to the domain and a Ubuntu Linux machine – which I’m using for demoing Office Web Applications and the SharePoint 2010 interface.

    All these setups are made with clean and compressed snapshots so that I easily can clone up a new empty environment whenever I need it.

    How is your SharePoint 2010 development environment?

  • SharePoint Virtualization Survey - results

    Tags: SharePoint, Virtual Server, Hardware, Virtual PC

    About two months ago I tried to reach out to the SharePoint community with a small survey on how Virtualization is used with SharePoint. The survey was primarily for my own interest to benchmark what others are doing, but I also thought that I should share this with everyone. SharePoint and Virtualization is an interesting piece of discussion; some despise it and some love it. For more information on SharePoint and virtualization read this great article from

    And now the results

    All but one answering this survey said that they were using virtualization in their SharePoint environment. Not that surprising - I guess that if you don't virtualize then you do not even bother to look at the survey.

    Virtualization technology

    Since this survey did not specify if it was for production, test, staging or development the answers on what virtualization technology that was used was quite spread. Microsoft Hyper-V and VMWare ESX Server was the two products that most survey participants used. Not surprisingly was Microsoft Virtual PC right behind those two.


    What is virtualized?

    Almost everyone (95.7%) is virtualizing their development environment and half (50%) of the survey participants is virtualizing their production environment. This was a bit higher than I expected.


    But what is virtualized then? The Web Front End was the clear "winner" with the Query service as a runner up. A quite high number of respondents answered that they were virtualizing the database role (73,9%) but only half of them could really recommend it (37,2%). The Excel Services role was something that about half of the participants virtualized (47,8%) and recommended for virtualiztion (44,2%).


    The majority did not recommend virtualizing the database role (80%) nor the Index role (43,3%).


    Almost everyone was very satisfied (40%) or satisfied (53%) with virtualizing their SharePoint environments and only a few were dissatisfied (7%). 98% of the respondents do recommend virtualizing SharePoint.


    One thing that I really wanted to find out was why SharePoint is virtualized and here are what the survey participants thought:

      Agrees Neutral Does not agree
    Lower hardware cost 82% 14% 5%
    Lower license costs 21% 47% 33%
    Lower maintenance costs 62% 29% 9%
    Better performance 7% 52% 40%
    Improves scalability 64% 24% 12%
    Improved security 27% 56% 17%
    Improved redundancy 60% 36% 5%
    Safe backup 55% 31% 14%
    Simplifies development 86% 14% 0%
    Simplifies deployment 73% 20% 7%
    Positive effect on the environment 74% 26% 0%

    Simplified development and lower hardware costs was the two ones that was quite expected. When looking at the license costs most people were neutral or thought that the license costs were higher with virtualization, probably due to the fact that you might need more (virtual) servers to have the same performance (only 7% thought performance was better with virtualization).

    The numbers speaks for themselves and I do like that 74% also thinks that this has a positive effect on the environment.

    Any other comments on this survey, pleas post a comment below.

    Have a nice summer

  • Virtualizing XP applications using Windows 7

    Tags: Visual Studio, Windows XP, Windows 7, Virtual PC

    Windows 7 has an upgrade to Virtual PC which allows you to run Windows XP applications virtualized on your Windows 7, without having to run the whole desktop running.

    I still have to use Visual Studio 2003 to support some old good applications including SharePoint 2003 apps. So I have used a Windows XP virtual machine to run it, but now I can fire up Visual Studio 2003 directly from my Start menu in Windows 7. As most of you know, you can't install VS2003 on a Vista or Windows 7 machine, and I don't even want it there either.

    It's also great for having Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8 on the same machine!

    Here are some pictures of the Windows XP Mode features.

    Visual Studio 2003 running on Windows 7 using Windows XP mode

    Visual Studio 2003 running on Windows 7 using Windows XP mode

    Published XP Mode apps

    The published Windows XP applications in the Windows 7 start menu.


    The Windows XP notification icons appear in the Windows 7 notification area. Note  the Windows Update and Windows Security Alert icons. I thought this was really cool.

  • Developers, prepare for the 64-bit revolution

    Tags: SharePoint, SQL Server, Virtual Server, Hardware, Windows 7, SharePoint 2010, Windows Server 2008, VMWare, Virtual PC

    The day has come when Microsoft officially started to talk about the next version of Office 2010 clients and SharePoint Server 2010 (no longer Office SharePoint Server). We have since some time known that SharePoint 2010 will be supported only on a 64-bit platform, just as Exchange 2007.

    The new stuff revealed yesterday (as preliminary) are that not only is 64-bit required, it will only be supported on the Windows Server 2008 64-bit platform (including R2) and it will require that you have SQL Server 2008 on a 64-bit platform. There are some other interesting facts that you should check out also in the post (and on about 1.000 other blog posts), but this post is not just about these news.

    The interesting parts of this announcement is that now is the time to learn the 64-bit platform for real and especially Windows Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008, not everything is the same; registry hives, file system, settings, know when to use int (Int32) or Int64 etc etc. You can start now, it's no time to wait! Make a decision to only install your new SharePoint installations on the required SharePoint 2010 hardware, make sure that you have that in your development environments and on your virtual machines. Yes, it will in many cases cost you a bit in new hardware.

    I think that this is the time when 64-bit really will kill the 32-bit era.

    As a bonus I can tell you one thing that I didn't know was achievable. My main laptop runs 32-bit Windows 7 and not 64-bit due to that it does not have the 64-bit driver support for the peripherals and I usually use(d) Virtual PC to virtualize my development servers. Downside with Virtual PC is that you guest machines can only be 32-bit and I don't want to have a Hyper-V laptop in 64-bit mode so I thought that I had to get me a new laptop (which is due for later). I was preparing for the worst of having a dual boot. Fortunately I did a test using VMWare Workstation today and found out that as long as you have a 64-bit capable hardware (which I have) you can host 64-bit guests on a 32-bit host OS. Did you know that, I did not! So I will spend this evening preparing my new development VM's. If you are in the same situation as me, stuck with a 32-bit OS for some time, head on over to VMWare and run the 64-bit compatibility checker and then dump Virtual PC and get VMWare Workstation.

    Welcome to the 64-bit world!

About Wictor...

Wictor Wilén is the Nordic Digital Workplace Lead working at Avanade. Wictor has achieved the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) - SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) - SharePoint  and Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) - SharePoint 2010 certifications. He has also been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for seven consecutive years.

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