Virtual Server could not open its emulated Ethernet switch driver

December 1, 2008

If you’re here that means you’re probably having problems with MS VS 2005 R2.

I have a Broadcome NetXtreme GbE NIC (only one). Unlike blog posts found in top Google searches, my case didn’t involve any change of configuration that I know of. It just stopped working one day. I therefore used a less invasive approach:

a) Update the Broadcom GbE driver (broadcom.com)

b) Uninstall VM Network Services

c) Reboot the box and install VM Network Services again.

This worked for me. Maybe b & c alone would have sufficed.


Windows XP x64 as Hyper-V Guest

May 4, 2008

After another late night of fruitless trying, I have to ask: has anyone managed to get Winows XP x64 to work (including network) as guest OS in Hyper-V?

Last night I tried for 3rd time (less than 3 hours before that I deleted the OS VHD from my HDD :-)), this time using a “Legacy Network Adapter”. The result was consistent with previous attempts (failure). The x64 display drivers seems to work, but others (most importantly, the NIC driver) don’t and after installation Device Manager shows a yellow exclamation mark. Maybe I should just trust the docs – not supported and can’t work.

Out of despair I previously tried the same guest OS on VirtualBox and VMware Workstation 6.x – neither support x64 guests. And this was on Windows Server 2008 SE x64 on which Hyper-V RC0 does support x64 operating systems. I ran that VMware test proggie to make sure and indeed my fairly new Intel Core Duo processor obviously won’t do. Luckily I’ve no this problem with Hyper-V.

Update (2008/09/28): In the meantime Hyper-V RTM (with Windows XP x64 SP2 support) shipped, but for some reason my OS didn’t get the update (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/95005) so I just wasted a day on  troubleshooting  this stuff…  Wonderful.


Getting Windows 2003 Service Pack into a Hyper-V Guest VHD

May 3, 2008

You install Windows 2003 Hyper-V guest and you can’t install add-ons required to get access to the network because it’s a pre-SP1 Windows OS. You can’t copy/download the SP to the VM because it’s got no network adapters.

Solution 1: the VHD mount script posted here. Shut the VM down, mount the VHD and copy the SP (and whatever you want) to that disk. I used the PowerShell version because it’s shorter and – of course – again got stuck with the unsigned PowerShell script problem. This time, though, I reused the “worst practice” workaround that I wrote about here. Done! To unmount, Save As… and add “un” before “mount” in the last line.

Solution 2: In your Hyper-V manager right-click on your (host) server and select Edit Disk.

So far I’ve been happy with Hyper-V although I’ve unnecessarily wasted too much time trying to get Windows XP x64 going (not supported).


No Hibernate / Suspend with Hyper-V

April 25, 2008

After reading few good experiences with Windows Server 2008 I decided to use it on my new workstation. I also enabled Hyper-V, but then I discovered that my power saving settings are gone. You can shutdown and that’s pretty much it as far as power saving goes.

Now I found out (here) that when Hyper-V is enabled, power saving actions such as hibernate and suspend are not available. Oh, well..  If it’s worth it, I’ll stick with it. If not, I might consider some other virtualization solution.


Choosing (Workstation) Host OS for x64 Test VMs

April 21, 2008

I’ve got a new x64 workstation and I am wondering which OS to use.

The ability to run x64 VMs on the box is a “must-have” feature. Another “must have” is a decent workstation environment which for me (for you that might be something else) means either the ability to run a responsive Windows VM or to work directly on the (Windows) host OS. My VMs will be little (low-performance) testbeds for trying out new (mostly server-side) applications.

I read that virtualized Windows OS is usable as the primary OS, but that the responsiveness and looks are slightly degraded (yes, it’s probably much better when the host is a two-way server with plenty of RAM, but I’ve got only 2GB or RAM and this is a single-HDD workstation), so I’m leaning towards running a Windows host OS, which pretty much leaves me with these choices (and associated pro’s and con’s):

o Windows Server 2008 (x64) + Hyper-V: supposedly better performance, but a bit more to manage and probably less stable (the Hyper-V part).

o Windows Vista (x64) + VMware Workstation: perhaps slower performance, but easier to manage.

I hope not to make a wrong choice (having to completely re-install everything would be very depressing), so I’ll keep thinking about this for few more days. I’ll might another look at Linux as the host OS because of the included iSCSI server, but I’m not too eager to use it for host OS in this case (I’ve nothing against it, it’s just that I feel it’s not a good match for my needs in this particular case).

Anyone out there currently considering above two scenarios?


Oracle and Hypervisors

November 13, 2007

A piece on Oracle’s hypervisor news says that Oracle offers virtualization at a cost that’s lower than competitors’ prices.”

But, according to a News.com article, “Microsoft said … that it will sell its new virtualization technology separately from its Windows Server operating system, in addition to as a bundle.” A stand-alone MS hypervisor will sell for a cheap $28.

Obviously, compared to Microsoft’s hypervisor pricing, any savings would be insignificant. The loser number one would be VMware (ESX Server) and the two main enterprise Linux vendors, Red Hat and Novell, share the second place. Only VMware’s stock tanked, though. Why? I guess not many folks believed that the OS vendors would make any money from their free hypervisor solution in the first place.

The Microsoft news seems more significant. Now that it’s clear than even commercial enterprise hypervisors are going freeware, this means that the battlefield is moving towards cloud management.

Oracle’s first take at Red Hat’s piece of cake – Unbreakable Linux – didn’t quite work out (one still needs to support whatever binaries apart from Oracle’s run on the OS), but this time, with “container VMs” they could be more successful. You have a free hypervisor, a free DB-tuned open source OS and your own scalable database. Wouldn’t it now make sense for Oracle to acquire one of promising VM management vendors and round up its grid/cloud computing story?


MS IE 7 and Virtual Server 2005 R2 Administration Site Authentication

August 21, 2007

For many months now I’ve been re-entering username/password for MS Virtual Server Admin Web site many times a day. I thought I was too busy to fix it. All right, once or twice I did try to find a way, but I failed. Well, today I couldn’t take it any more.

I feel better about the thing now that I know I’m not the only one. They say “..while we were developing Virtual Server we actually tested out all the above [FQDN, hostname, localhost, loopback, that is] options – and each one had its own set of problems and edge cases where it wouldn’t work quite right. “. Perhaps, but how about offering some choices? And re-entering the darn password 20 times a day isn’t quite right either.

My environment: Virtual Server 2005 R2 (x86) host with all-default settings (except that it has MS Internet Explorer 7); this host is also Domain Controller. This is a one-computer test domain. I connect to it via RDP and then run MS IE to manage Virtual Server.

There’s a workaround that looks like it could work posted here.

Another one, which I use and does work for me, is to go to your Virtual Server’s Web site properties, uncheck (disable) Integrated Windows Authentication and check (enable) Basic Authentication. After you restart the site, MS IE 7.0 remembers the password – all it takes to proceed is to hit Enter. Yes, the username/password combo is transmitted in clear text, it’s a bad practice, but who cares – it’s just a personal test server on my LAN.