You’re more than likely familiar with
VMware’s line of products for “virtualizing” hardware, which offers
the ability to run multiple instances of an operating system on a
single server. For administrators interested in server
consolidation, these types of products have compelling

For example, say goodbye to the days of running
a separate physical server for software that needs to run by itself
because of conflicts with other programs. Now, you can just run it
on its own virtual server instance on a shared server.

While Microsoft currently offers Virtual PC
2004, this product’s limitations don’t allow it to scale as well as
a product specifically designed for server instances. Later this
year, however, Microsoft plans to release Microsoft Virtual Server
2005 Enterprise Edition, a virtual server solution designed to run
on top of Windows Server 2003.

Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 is currently
available for testing via a release candidate,
which you can download from Microsoft’s Web site
. Running
Virtual Server 2005 requires the following:

  • A 550-MHz or faster processor–in this case,
    the faster the better. (Microsoft recommends a 1.0-GHz or faster
    processor.) Virtual Server 2005 supports up to 32 processors.
  • A minimum of 256 MB of RAM for the server;
    each virtual server requires additional RAM.
  • 2 GB of disk space to run Virtual Server
    2005; each virtual server requires additional disk space.
  • Windows Server 2003–Standard Edition,
    Enterprise Edition, Datacenter Edition, or Small Business Edition.
    Currently, Virtual Server 2005 only supports 32-bit editions.

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