A Review of VMware Server 2.0 RC1


The RC1 of VMware Server v2.0 is now out and available, and the product keeps getting more impressive with each pre-release iteration. I already discussed here some of the new features that arrive with the RC1 release. But there is one in particular that stands out a truly impressive.

  • VSS support for in-VM quiescing. First and foremost, this has been the "holy grail" for backups for a long time. Being able to leverage the in-VM VSS provider to quiesce the virtual machine before taking a VM-level backup means that your Exchange/SQL/AD databases and others of a transactional nature will return from a restore in good shape. This is new technology that we're starting to see across the board as critical for snapping backups of these key servers without being forced to use in-VM backup software. Keep an eye on this (and in the ESX product as well as other platforms) as a key feature needed by all environments.

The web-based interface gets a bit smarter with this release as well. Although I yet remain a bigger fan of the client-based application used with the previous release, the web-based tool gets a bit faster, renders more appropriately, and best of all in this release uses the VMware Remote Console as an out-of-band app (i.e. not within the web page).vbox-mem

The other new features will be useful for you, depending on what you need to accomplish with them. Support for SCSI pass-through means that generic devices like tape backups can be pulled into the virtual machine, but there doesn't appear to be direct LUN access into the VM just yet. VM Communication Interface support, which I'll admit is a feature I don't yet understand from a technical perspective, appears to provide faster inter-VM communication, which is an incentive to increasing your percentage of virtualized computers. USB 2.0 is now supported, as is greater level of permissioning and role-based access.

I use the Linux version of VMware Server, running atop Red Hat, and have been for years now like the application soundcloud downloader. I find it to be a lot faster than the version that runs atop a full Microsoft server installation. So, I can't comment on how things have changed for the Microsoft version.

But, for those that run the Linux version, or are considering moving to this product, seriously give Linux a consideration. VMware's installer for Linux is just fantastic, and the upgrade process is effectively transparent. Being not a Linux expert (I dabble), I've found the experience to be well worth the effort.