As a free download, Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 provides can provide cost-effective server virtualization. This gallery's 20 images show you how to download and configure Virtual Server 2005 R2.
In this The Right Tool for the Job? post, Joshua Hoskins explains how his company uses Microsoft Virtual Server R2 to effectively and diplomatically balance his users' desire for "their own servers", with the IT department's needs to consolidate server hardware.
Virtual Server 2005 R2 is available as a free download from Microsoft. You can access the Virtual Server 2005 Web site at:
There are both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Virtual Server. You must select the version that matches the underlying Windows operating system.
Four virtual servers for every one physical server
Each physical Windows 2003 R2 Server is licensed to run up to four virtual server instances.
No product key
Virtual Server truly is free. You don't even have to enter a product key!
Although Virtual Server is easy to use, there are a number of optional components that you can install.
Enabling Web component
If you want to use the Web component, you must make note of the port that will be used. You must also make a decision regarding authentication.
Windows Firewall exceptions
The installer can automatically create the necessary exception rules for the Windows firewall.
Virtual Server is managed through a Web interface.
Create a new virtual server
You can use the Web interface to create a new virtual server.
Configuring a virtual server's settings
After creating a new virtual machine, you will see a summary of it's settings.
Enabling remote control
You must enable Virtual Machine remote control before you can install an operating system onto your virtual server.
This is what a remote control session looks like.
Navigating with the ALT key
When you click on the virtual server, it takes control of your mouse and keyboard. The only way to regain control outside of the virtual server is to use your right ALT key.
The Virtual Server interface contains a server wide status screen. This screen shows you which virtual servers are running, how long they have been running for, the current CPU consumption level, and events related to virtual servers.
CPU resource allocation
Virtual Server allows you to reserve CPU resources on a per virtual server basis. You can also set limits to prevent a virtual server from consuming an excessive amount of CPU time.
Managing virutal drives
The management console allows you to view the status of virtual hard drives and compact the drives if necessary.
If disk space becomes a problem, you can create dynamically expanding virtual hard drives. You also have the option of creating a virtual floppy disk.
Virtual Server has a built in virtual DHCP server that can be used to automatically assign IP addresses to your virtual servers.
External resource access
Virtual servers can be configured to use your server's primary network interface to gain access to external resources.
The management console can display the physical computer's hardware specifications. These specs should be treated with caution though. In this screen capture, my server's memory is being reported incorrectly.