Work with the Microsoft Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) Test Drive Program
Great new resource from Microsoft: The Virtual Hard Disk Test Drive Program.
The VHD Test Drive Program is designed to help customers to install and configure complex environments for the purpose of evaluating Microsoft and partner products and solutions.
Currently, customers can either download evaluation software, which often takes time to install and configure the applications to evaluate a specific scenario or customers can use the Virtual Labs to evaluate software over Internet (Read more about the TechNet Virtual Labs). With VHDs that are fully configured, customers can save time and resources by downloading pre-configured images of Microsoft’s software and operating systems.
Microsoft partners can now offer their prospective/current customers greater choice during the software evaluation process for mainstream applications and make it easier to evaluate complex solutions through the distribution of pre-configured virtual machines that can run on Virtual Server 2005 R2. You can also use System Center Virtual Machine Manager, now available as a beta, to manage all the virtual machines in your environment.
As of November 2006, the available VHDs are:
Windows Server 2003 R2 – Windows Server 2003 R2 helps to simplify branch server management, can improve identity and access management, helps to reduce storage management costs, provides a rich Web platform, and offers cost-effective server virtualization. In this VHD, you’ll have the opportunity to road-test new and improved features and functionality of Windows Server 2003, including management and usability enhancements to Active Directory.
Exchange Server 2007 SP1 – Learn how to take advantage of key features of Exchange Server 2007. This VHD provides an exploration of Active Directory and the new features in Exchange Server 2007, new features in Outlook Web Access 2007, enforcing compliance and retention policies in Exchange Server 2007, and more.
SQL Server 2005 – SQL Server 2005 is data management and analysis software that helps deliver increased scalability, availability, and security to enterprise data and analytical applications while helping to make them easier to create, deploy, and manage. In this VHD, you will get to experience many of the new features in SQL Server 2005.
In order to use the VHDs you need to obtain the Microsoft Virtual Server software, which is now available for free:
Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 is available in the following versions:
- Virtual Server 2005 R2 Enterprise Edition (32-bit)
- Virtual Server 2005 R2 Enterprise x64 Edition (64-bit)
VS can be used on the following operating systems:
- Windows Server 2003
- Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1
- Windows XP Professional Edition
- Windows XP Service Pack 2
The VHD Test Drive Program enables Microsoft and partners to distribute VHD images that contain Microsoft software and partner software. The VHDs are pre-built and pre-configured so that they can be downloaded or distributed for fast evaluation and testing of Microsoft software and partner applications.
The Microsoft Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format is the common virtualization file format that provides a uniform product support system, and provides more seamless manageability, security, reliability and cost-efficiency for customers. The VHD format captures the entire virtual machine operating system and the application stack in a single file.
Virtual machine technology applies to both server and client hardware. Virtual machine technology enables multiple operating systems to run concurrently on a single machine. Virtual machine technology serves a variety of purposes. It enables hardware consolidation, because multiple operating systems can run on one computer. Another of the key applications of virtual machine technology is seen in test and development environments, where features such as faster provisioning, re-usability of the VHDs and ability to be hardware agonistic provide a more seamless environment.