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Smoked by Windows Hyper-V Server 8 Beta.

You may have seen the "Smoked by Windows Phone" ad campaign, where a Windows Phone does something faster than another phone.   Well how about "Smoked by Hyper-V Server" challenge?  

 

As part of my initiative to "Do IT the Microsoft way", I set about switching over from VMware ESXi to Hyper-V.  After installing Hyper-V Server 8 Beta, I noticed it seemed to boot a lot faster.  This gave me the idea to have my own little "Smoked by Hyper-V Server" challenge.
 

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Storage choices when virtualizing Exchange.

Alex Fontana over on the VMware blogs posted a great article on choosing between virtual disks (VMDK files) and Raw-device Mappings (RDM) when virtualizing an Exchange server.   Check it out here: http://blogs.vmware.com/apps/2011/11/virtualized-exchange-storage-vmdk-o...

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Budget Laboratory: Part 5 - Creating an OS Template VM in ESXi 4.1

Installing an Operating System (O/S) can take hours.  Good thing when it comes to deploying Virtual Machines (VMs), you really only need to do this once. So for the final installment of the "Budget Laboratory" series, I'm going to show you how to create a VM for use as an O/S template, using the vSphere client and the ESXi server we setup earlier in the series.  Using this method, you'll only have to install each O/S you'd want to use on a VM once.

 

You will need:

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64-bit guests on nested ESXi/vSphere now possible thanks to Workstation 8

Before VMware released version 8 of their popular Workstation software, it was not possible to run 64-bit guest operating systems (O/S) from an ESXi 4.1 or vSphere 5 guest.   This nested Virtual Machine (VM) setup is great for learning and test lab environments, but up until now you were limited to 32-bit guest O/S's. 

Workstation 8 now allows you to "Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI", which in turn passes hardware features on to a guest VM, like ESXi 4.1 or vSphere 5, that enable them to run 64bit guest O/S's.

If you've just upgraded from Workstation 7, you'll need to change the hardware compatibility level on your ESXi or vSphere VM, before you can enable this new feature.

Here's how:

You will need:

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How-To: Install Windows 8 Developer Preview on VMware Workstation 8

Today I'm going to show you how to install the Windows 8 Developer Preview on VMware Workstation 8.  The Windows 8 Developer Preview was just released last night (09/13/2011), and VMware Workstation 8 was just released today (09/14/2011).  
 

UPDATE: If you came here because the Windows 8 Consumer Preview was released today (02/29/2012), this guide is good for this new release too!  There are a few cosmetic changes to the install, but everything is essentially the same.
 
You will need:

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VMWare Workstation 8 Released

VMWare released version 8 of Workstation today.  The upgrade costs $99, and a new license will set you back $199.
 
The new version boasts over 50 new features, including:

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Budget Laboratory: Part 4 - Connecting VMWare ESXi 4.1 to an iSCSI SAN through vSphere

For Part 4 of the "Budget Laboratory" series, we're going to connect the ESXi 4.1 server we installed in Part 3, to the Virtual SAN we created using FreeNAS 8 in Part 2, using the vSphere client.

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Budget Laboratory: Part 3 - VMWare ESXi 4.1 on VMWare Workstation 7

For this installment of my "Budget Laboratory" series, I'll show you how to install VMWare ESXi 4.1 on VMWare Workstation 7. Yes, we'll be running Virtual Machines (VMs) inside of a VM! Why would anyone want to do such a thing? To learn ESXi and vSphere of course! If you don't have spare hardware for a dedicated ESXi lab environment, running it inside of Workstation 7 is a great alternative. You could also run it inside of VMWare Player if you feel so inclined. However, as with the first 2 articles in this series, I'll be using Workstation 7. ESXi and Player are both completely free, Workstation has a 30 day free trial available.

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Budget Laboratory: Part 2 - iSCSI Virtual SAN with FreeNAS 8

Storage Area Networks (SANs) are used in most Enterprise class networks, you'll also find them at a lot of small and medium businesses. A lot of systems rely on SANs to provide high availability features. A SAN is great to have for setting up shared storage for any type of cluster. Fiber used to be dominant for SAN connectivity. You'd need Fiber Host Bus Adapters (HBAs) in every server you wanted attached to your SAN, and a Fiber switch to connect everything. Then came iSCSI, which works with much cheaper Network Interface Cards (NICs), and can use regular network switches, as well us much cheaper copper cables. At first iSCSI wasn't as fast as Fiber, topping out at gigabit speeds, so if speed was important, you'd stick with Fiber.

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Budget Laboratory: Part 1 - Multi-WAN Load Balancing with pfSense on VMWare Workstation

Wait a minute, I thought this was an "Exchange blog", why is your first article about networking with pfSense?!

Well, in order to create high quality Exchange related content for this site, I've been building a lab. There has been some interest in how I've setup my lab, so I thought I'd show you. What better way to help people learn Exchange than by showing them how to create a powerful lab environment to run it in? Besides, having a good understanding of boundary systems is very useful when troubleshooting mail flow issues.

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