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Is it possible to simulate entire server in laptop?

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  • Is it possible to simulate entire server in laptop?

    I have a SBS 2003 SP1 server. I would love to be able to capture an image of that server, software and hardware, run it on my laptop and use that as a test image to apply updates, etc.

    It is possible to not only virtualize the software, but the hardware as well? When I load the VHD on my Vista SP1 laptop, with Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1, can I keep the hardware/driver simulation the same?

    I have tried this with other products and when the server boots, it loads all new drivers and deactivates.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Is it possible to simulate entire server in laptop?

    I run SBS2003 in vmware server on a Dell laptop with no problem. I'm no virtualization expert but I think that you can't "virtualize" the actual physical hardware and drivers of the server as vmware and virtual server use their own hardware emulation. As for getting the "image" of the server you can use the vmware converter to convert the physical machine to a virtual machine for use with vmware. I don't know if MS has a complimentary utility for virtual server.

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    • #3
      Re: Is it possible to simulate entire server in laptop?

      Also beware of breaching the licence - does it permit you to run it on 2 machines? Even if one is virtual, you still got to play by the rules, and it may not activate, which is a timely reminder that different hardware = different licence, usually.
      Best wishes,
      PaulH.
      MCP:Server 2003; MCITP:Server 2008; MCTS: SBS2008

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      • #4
        Re: Is it possible to simulate entire server in laptop?

        You got it the other way around here.
        What virtualization software (VMWare, Xen, Microsoft and all others) virtualizes is the hardware, not the software. Meaning, when you do a process like you mentioned, process that is called P2V (physical 2 virtual), you actually move the server from its hardware to another one. Unless the tool you use for that has the ability to assist the server's OS to cope with the change, the virtualized machine won't work. You will more than certain encounter HAL issues.
        This said, you will have problems with the activation and, as Paul mentioned, with the licensing. To run a virtual machine, you will need a license like a physical one. This issue is forgotten sometimes, but you have to take it in consideration.

        Sorin Solomon


        In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
        -

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        • #5
          Re: Is it possible to simulate entire server in laptop?

          Sorin, What I meant is "duplicate" the hardware, meaning if the physical server has an ATI Radeon video card the virtual machine will not have one even after running the P2V converter. Sorry for my misquote. I have used the vmware converter on several occassions to convert a physical machine to a virtual machine and have had no problems with the OS on the virtual machine afterward. Also, you aren't "moving" the server, you're creating a virtualized "copy" of the server. The physical server remains as it is and can continue to run as it did before the P2V conversion. Of course you can't run both simultaneously connected to the same LAN and as members of the same domain.

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          • #6
            Re: Is it possible to simulate entire server in laptop?

            You cannot be more right, joeqwerty.
            I used so far both VMWare Converter and SCVMM for P2V processes. Both worked flawless, because they have the tools to emulate the source hardware into the virtualized hardware. Except one very old (and "funny", from the hardware point of view) Intel server, all servers were up and running after the P2V process in matter of minutes.
            I felt the need to raise the HAL issues point because the OP talked about
            capture an image of that server
            , not exactly "orthodox" P2V.

            Sorin Solomon


            In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
            -

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Is it possible to simulate entire server in laptop?

              I do understand better, now, how licensing works in this situation. Matter of fact this made me review my Open License agreement, 'cause if in force, I can have a "Cold" copy of the server without an addtiional license.

              But of course I want a "Hot" one too.

              sorinso you said there are tools to help emulate source hardware. Are they 100% like the real, 50%? (Just would like an idea how close we are talking.) And which one(s), in your opinion, get it the closest?

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              • #8
                Re: Is it possible to simulate entire server in laptop?

                Originally posted by Purtech View Post
                Are they 100% like the real, 50%? (Just would like an idea how close we are talking.) And which one(s), in your opinion, get it the closest?
                The thing that matters is not the accuracy (the P2V is almost a boolean value: either it works, either it don't. There's very little in the middle, usually you cannot fix a bad converted machine), but the virtualization software you use afterward.
                I know two of them:
                - VMWare is one. Its P2V solution is called VMWare Converter. Its virtualization product is called VMWare Server (again, this is the free product. Their "serious" product called ESX has a price tag of few thousands of USD).
                - Microsoft is the other one. They have VirtualPC 2007 (for emulating desktop-style OSes, and has less capabilities) and Virtual Server 2005 (for enterprise-style tasks). They are both free. Their P2V solution is based on a ADS+VSMT combination, or use of SCVMM. First one is a pain in the a$$, SCVMM is plain and simple (but requires license. You may be able to do the P2V with the trial).
                IMHO, VMWare has some advantages over Microsoft. I work with Microsoft, but this is what suites me.

                Good luck.

                Sorin Solomon


                In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
                -

                Comment

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